The Greatest Philosopher Who Ever Lived



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Product Details

Product Code:
0.94 (in)
Size (HxW):
8 x 5.38 (in)
Publication date:
October 14, 2021
12.4 oz
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Product Overview

In 2019, Peter Kreeft published Socrates' Children, a four-volume series on the hundred greatest philosophers of all time, spanning from ancient Greece to contemporary Germany. But he made a terrible mistake: he somehow left out women, and with this, he overlooked the greatest mind of them all.

He forgot her—a mysterious housewife from a desert village—because he had forgotten what "philosophy" means. "Philosophy is not the cultivation of cleverness," Kreeft explains, "or the sophistications of scholarship, or the analysis of analysis, or the refutation of refutations, or the deconstruction of deconstructions." No, "philosophy is a romance, a love affair—the love of wisdom."

This book is a one-of-a-kind study on Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus. If Jesus Christ is wisdom incarnate, and if Mary loved Him more than anyone else ever did, then it holds that Mary is the greatest philosopher, the greatest wisdom-lover. With precision and humor, Kreeft not only unpacks the thought and spirit of Mary as we know her through Scripture and Church doctrine, but offers a heartfelt crash course in the basics of philosophy—methodology, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, cosmology, ethics, politics, aesthetics, and more—all through the lens of the Mother of God.

Fans of Kreeft will find here another fine example of his characteristic freshness, creativity, depth, and readability. But above all, those who are curious about the mother of Jesus, whether they are new to Christian faith or simply hoping to discover it anew, will likely find themselves swept up in the tide of Mary's wise love for God.

Editorial Reviews

"Here is a book about two handmaids: the handmaid of theology and the handmaid of the Lord. Kreeft deftly reframes both, arguing that Mary's fiat fulfills the project of philosophy, a project that is not theoretical, but personal—not an abstract discipline, but an embodied devotion. Amidst saccharine Marian reflections and dry analytical tomes, this surprising little book stands out like a bright star."
— Abigail Favale, Ph.D., Dean, College of Humanities; Professor of English, George Fox University

"This meditation on Mary, Seat of Wisdom, wisely points to her as the model of philosophers. Through reflections on her life as revealed in Scripture, Church teaching, and major Marian apparitions, Kreeft shows her to be a living and comprehensive lesson in the greatest truths of philosophy, and the best antidote to modern philosophy and the inhuman culture built upon it."
— Michael Augros, Ph.D., Author, Who Designed the Designer? and The Immortal in You

"Sadly, this book is a rarity among contemporary philosophical works—for it is at once logical and lyrical. What makes it even more rare is that this book of philosophy can move you to both prayer and love. You'll want to read this book more than once. Thank you, Dr. Kreeft!"
— Fr. Robert McTeigue, S.J., Author, Real Philosophy for Real People; Host, The Catholic Current, Station of the Cross Catholic Media Network


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  • 5
    Lady Philosophy is really Mary of Nazareth

    Posted by Charlie Schmidt on Mar 18th 2022

    Peter Kreeft has written a book about the philosophy of Mary of Nazareth. He calls her the greatest philosopher who ever lived because she loved Jesus, and Jesus was Wisdom itself, and she was without sin, so she was indeed the greatest philosopher who ever lived. Unlike many philosophers, she practiced what she preached, so she was the holiest philosopher who ever lived. There are many aspects to Mary’s philosophy. Here are some excerpts from this book that will highlight some points in her philosophy. Saints test reason by faith; philosophers test faith by reason. Saints ground reason in God, in divine revelation known by faith. Philosophers ground faith by reason; they demand reasons for faith. There a good description of happiness, as follows: Objectively speaking, our happiness (eudaimonia) is the objectively real and lasting state of having a soul (daimon) that is good (eu) both mentally (wisdom) and morally (virtue). When Aristotle wrote this, he was only uttering common sense. The subjective description of happiness is that it exists on three levels: pleasure (in the body), satisfaction or peace or contentment (in the heart and soul) and joy (in the disposition (prevailing mood) of the mind). Nietzsche is right to say that to understand anyone’s philosophy, even his metaphysics, one should ask what ethics it leads to. Wisdom, the goal of philosophy, is precisely this joining of theory and practice, metaphysics and ethics. And we all know that we do in fact learn this wisdom more by concrete examples than by abstract impersonal principles. And Mary is our very best merely human example for ethics. Everyone needs wisdom even more than they need air or water or life itself. Does that sound ridiculous to you? Ask yourself this question: Is it not better to die as a wise man than to live as a fool? Philosophy is for everyone because everyone has a philosophy of life, a world view, and a life view. It may be wise or foolish, intelligent or stupid, true or false, good or bad. But if you say that “my philosophy is no philosophy”, that is a philosophy, too: a foolish, stupid and bad one. David Hume claimed that you can’t get an “ought” from an “is”. What he meant is that you can’t determine values by looking at nature. Kreeft points out that the three transcendentals in philosophy - truth, goodness and beauty - are properties of everything that exists. Thus, everything that exists has a purpose, and its purpose determines its ultimate end, or its “good”. So values are objective facts, and there is no fact-value divide. On the issue of whether reason (rationalism) or the senses (empiricism) provide a stronger basis for knowledge, Mary of Nazareth begins neither with reason nor with sense experience but with faith. Implicitly, this includes faith in God’s gifts to human nature of both reason and sense experience. Kreeft gives reasonable support for the things as he lists as Mary’s philosophy, so his book really does explain Mary’s philosophy. Just as men and women complement each other, Mary’s intuitive, compassionate, trusting philosophy is wise and worth studying. Mary was the handmaid of the Lord, and she knew that her task was to do God’s work on earth. Like all of philosopher Peter Kreeft’s books, this book is short, easy-to-read, and inspiring. This is probably only book on Mary of Nazareth’s philosophy, and it’s excellent.