Baylor Launches Center for Christian Philosophy
- On Aug. 5, Trent G. Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and program manager of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy, presented Alvin Plantinga, Ph.D., John A. O'Brien Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, with a certificate of fellowship recognizing him as the first fellow of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy. The award bearing his name will be presented annually to a scholar who represents excellence in Christian philosophy.
Philosophy department, University institute and major granting organization cooperate in opening center
WACO, Texas (Aug. 15, 2017) – Baylor University’s department of philosophy and Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) have announced the establishment of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy (BCCP).
The BCCP, composed of philosophy department faculty with a specialization in philosophy of religion and core members of related disciplines, will be housed officially in ISR. Many years in the making, the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy is a joint effort by the philosophy department, ISR and the Templeton Religion Trust.
The BCCP opening comes in conjunction with the announcement of a new relationship with the Templeton Religion Trust and the addition of two new core faculty members in philosophy of religion. Joining the department are Timothy O’Connor, Ph.D., as Distinguished Professor and associate director, and Thomas M. Ward, Ph.D., as assistant professor, both greatly respected by the philosophical community with strong research programs in Christian Philosophy. C. Stephen Evans, Ph.D., University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Baylor, will serve as the Center’s director.
The BCCP joins the field of similar centers at the University of Notre Dame, Rutgers University and Biola University.
“Based on the stellar, cross-disciplinary faculty involved and their high research output, I am confident the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy will quickly become recognized as a national leader for producing important, thoughtful and relevant research informed by Baylor’s unique mission as a high-output research university with a distinctively Christian character,” said Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor and ISR co-director with Byron Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences.
“Many years ago, I proposed that Baylor establish a Center for the Philosophy of Religion to advance Christian scholarship in an especially focused way,” said Michael Beaty, Ph.D., chair and professor of philosophy at Baylor. “Through the diligent work of professors Byron Johnson, C. Stephen Evans, Trent Dougherty and others, this aspiration will now be realized, enabling many talented Christian scholars, both at Baylor and beyond, to produce scholarship that advances our pursuit of wisdom, a wisdom both human and divine. I am very pleased to see the establishment of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy.”
The BCCP will hold events across the disciplines, both scholarly and popular, in which the focus is the careful examination of fundamental ideas in light of the Christian theological tradition. The center also plans to host annual conferences focusing on major themes in philosophy of religion.
The Center will open officially on Tuesday, Aug. 22, with a public lecture by Stephen Wykstra, professor emeritus of philosophy at Calvin College and the inaugural recipient of the Alvin Plantinga Award for Excellence in Christian Philosophy. Wykstra will speak on “Still Not Done in a Corner: How to be a Sensible Evidentialist about Jesus, a Response to Plantinga,” at 5:15 p.m. in Armstrong Browning Library, with a reception to follow. During his week on campus, he also plans to hold discussions with students and faculty.
On Aug. 5, Trent G. Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and program manager of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy, presented Alvin Plantinga, Ph.D., John A. O'Brien Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, with a certificate of fellowship recognizing him as the first fellow of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy. The award bearing his name will be presented annually to a scholar who represents excellence in Christian philosophy.
Additional events this fall include:
Sept. 11 – The Templeton Religion Trust will announce a new grant headed by C. Stephen Evans, during a reception at 5:15 p.m. in the President’s Suite, McLane Stadium.
Nov. 30 – Public lecture: The inaugural Baylor C.S. Lewis Lecture with Jerry Walls, Ph.D., Scholar in Residence and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University, who will speak on “C.S. Lewis’s Ecumenical Doctrine of Purgatory,” at 5:15 p.m. in the Treasure Room at Armstrong Browning Library.
Dec. 1 (tentative date) – Philosophy Department Colloquium: John Hawthorne, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and former Waynefleet Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University, on “The fine-tuning argument for the existence of God.”
Fellows of the Baylor Center for Christian Philosophy:
• Michael Beaty, Philosophy
• Francis J. Beckwith, Philosophy
• Natalie M. Carnes, Religion
• Gerald B. Cleaver, Physics
• Carlos Colón, Spiritual Life
• Elizabeth Corey, Political Science
• Trent Dougherty, Philosophy
• C. Stephen Evans, Philosophy
• P. Jameson Graber, Mathematics
• John Haldane, Philosophy
• Thomas S. Hibbs, Honors College Dean
• Timothy O’Connor, Philosophy
• Alexander Pruss, Philosophy
• Stephen Reid, Truett Seminary
• Jonathan Tran, Religion
• Thomas Ward, Philosophy
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION
Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. For more information, visit www.baylorisr.org.