The word “philosophy” derives from two Greek words (philo and sophia) which together mean “the love of wisdom.”  For the founder of Western philosophy, Socrates, this meant a selfless pursuit of understanding which would translate into a good moral life.  How ironic, therefore, that the discipline of philosophy today is often viewed as (and often is in practice) anything but a quest to be wise.  Much of academic philosophy today is devoted to technical minutiae and ponderous analysis of issues only remotely related to right living.

A wise person is someone who has practical moral insight.  Moreover, s/he not only knows what courses of action are best but also conducts her/himself accordingly.  In other words, a wise person is not only morally insightful but personally virtuous.

book-cover-love-of-wisdomThis basic but overlooked fact about wisdom served as a guiding principle for my co-author, Steve Cowan, and I as we wrote our new textbook, The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy.  We wanted to show how every major issue in philosophy is relevant to living well.  Moreover, we aimed to demonstrate how philosophical inquiry of all kinds is a boon to one’s relationship with God.  Good philosophy begets stronger faith. 

When Steve and I first hatched the idea of writing this book it became clear that we complemented one another in terms of our philosophical strengths.  So as we divided our labor, our tasks fell out evenly. I wrote the introduction and the chapters on ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and philosophy of science, while he wrote the chapters on logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and most of the content in the chapters on human nature and philosophy of religion. 

Given the surge of interest in philosophy among Christians over the past few decades, it is surprising that there aren’t many Christian introductory philosophy texts.  And the few that are available are not very accessible.  We wanted our text to be readable, even entertaining, for the novice.  So we use a lot of illustrations referencing popular culture and current events.  The book also contains an extensive glossary as well as study questions concluding every subsection in each chapter.  These features are aimed at making the book useful for personal study as well as classroom use.

Proverbs 4:7 says “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”  Those are strong words.  Our hope is that this book will be helpful to readers who are serious about this quest.


7 Responses to “The Love of Wisdom”


  1. Andrew

     

    Thanks for taking this task on, Jim. I can’t wait to read your work.

    Reply
  2. Chris Jones

     

    Spiegel:

    I just ordered this today. I’m looking forward to reading it too, especially since I’ve been having a number of conversations recently where some of the theologians here (mostly students, but some faculty) have decried the study (or use) of (analytic) philosophy as reflecting either a deficient faith or a willful rejection of wisdom. Needless to say, ever since I took my first philosophy class with you I’ve thought otherwise!

    Reply
  3. desertmom

     

    I have a friend bringing me your book in June (we live overseas) and I am so looking forward to reading it. I heard of your book from Justin Taylor’s blog.

    A home-educating mom of four

    Reply
  4. Jim Spiegel

     

    Chris, I’m glad to hear you’re staying true to the tradition–not mine, of course, so much as that of Socrates! :) And I’m relieved that it is mostly fellow students rather than your profs who reject analytic philosophy.

    Reply
  5. John

     

    Jimmy Boy,

    Looks like this would be a great book for one of our small groups here at Calvary. BTW, did you read the interview with Dylan in the last Rolling Stone? He spoke quite openly and energeticly about the lack of morals in our day and time; and how most Christians tend to make morals a relgious thing only…”Some say you can’t legislate morality. Well, maybe not, but morality has gotten a bad rap.

    Hope you and the fam are well! peace, JBoy

    Reply
  6. Jim Stewart

     

    Dr. Spiegel,

    Just discovered a $5 copy of the book (since it was damaged) at a Christian bookstore, and couldn’t resist buying it. I am soooo glad I did. I love the readability of the book. You guys have done a fantastic job of making abstract concepts very accessible. This is, by far, the best introduction to philosophy I have found from a Christian perspective. To anyone interested in philosophy it is a page turner. I have been staying up late into the night devouring it, and finding myself massively entertained at the same time.

    Reply
    • Jim Spiegel

       

      Jim,

      Thanks for your encouraging comments! I just hope those late nights reading the book don’t compromise your work during the day. :)

      Reply

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