Finding ourselves - through no choice of our own - here in the modern age, it is enjoyable to read an author with such a remarkable blend of enthusiasm and composure. Too often it is one or the other: stagnant, wooden precision, or reckless, energetic nonsense. Kreeft commits neither error.
Some credit must also be given to C.S. Lewis, who is quoted liberally, perhaps even more than Tolkien himself. Seeing that Lewis and Tolkien were such close contemporaries, and that Lewis's writings were so much more prolific, this balance of quotations seems justified.
Kreeft considers 50 philosophical questions, which serve as the skeleton of the book. It is a very useful strategy to introduce the lay philosopher to the rich tapestry of philosophical thought, and there are gentle constraints to keep your thinking from taking a dangerous turn, rather like bumper-bowling.
I have found Kreeft's Catholicism naggingly irritating - like a rock in my shoe. There are deep-seated differences those of us with an Anabaptist inclination have with Catholics (and Protestants too, for that matter,) and I find many aspects of Catholicism theologically disturbing.
The notable absence of Biblical references was somewhat disquieting; the Bible ought to be opened reverently and frequently in any discussion probing what is true, good, and truly good.
I have my disagreements with some of Kreeft's conclusions regarding ethics, but right now these things are simmering within me - breaking in, like a stiff pair of new boots, until they become even and supple. As Gandalf says, the wise speak only of what they know. Most of us are under the wry delusion that words constitute wisdom: say something - anything - but for heaven's sake do not be silent! Oh that we might recover the days when silence was a virtue, and a free mouth was understood to be the plainest mark of a fool.
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