Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft was honored last week at a conference of Christian classical educators with the annual Russell Kirk Paideia Prize, recognizing him as a “great man of faith and letters.”
The award was presented in Baltimore by the CiRCE Institute (Consulting and Integrated Resources in Classical Education), which strives to “support teachers and parents who want to cultivate wisdom and virtue in their students through the truths of Christian classical education.” CiRCE founder and president Andrew Kern presented the award together with the 2012 winner, Laura Berquist.
Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly and his wife Rosario, founder and president of the Aquinas Learning classical program for Catholic homeschoolers, participated in the conference and were present to congratulate Dr. Kreeft.
After accepting the award, Dr. Kreeft told the school leaders, teachers and homeschoolers of the great importance of Christian classical education, which emphasizes the cultivation of wisdom and virtue in students, rather than simply the accumulation of knowledge and skills. Interest in classical education has been growing among Catholic and other Christian educators, according to the methods favored by many of the Church’s greatest thinkers including Blessed John Henry Newman and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
But Kreeft also identified challenges facing Christian educators, of which he said the greatest is the “hook up culture” of loose sexuality and reluctance to engage in meaningful personal relationships, which are at the heart of classical learning and human development.
Kreeft is a prolific author on topics in philosophy and theology; he has written for many publications and authored 67 books, including his Summa Philosophica (2012). He has taught at Boston College since 1965.
Past winners of the Paideia Prize have included author Wendell Berry; Mary Mumbach of the Erasmus Institute at the College of St. Mary Magdalen; the late Marcus Berquist, a founder of Thomas Aquinas College, and his wife Laura Berquist, founder of the Mother of Divine Grace homeschool program; Peter Sampo, founder of Magdalen College and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts; and Louis Cowan of the University of Dallas.
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