08 July 2008

Theodore Plantinga (1947-2008)

Redeemer has just posted this announcement on its website:

It is with deep sadness that Redeemer University College announces the death of Dr. Theodore Plantinga, Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department. Dr. Plantinga died peacefully at his home in Dundas on the evening of July 4, 2008 . Visitation will be held in St. James Anglican Church from 6:30 – 8:30 Tuesday evening (137 Melville, Dundas), and a memorial service will be held there on Wednesday at 1 pm.

Theo Plantinga was born in 1947 in Ee, Friesland , the Netherlands . His family emigrated to Canada when he was four, settling in Winnipeg , where he attended elementary and secondary schools. He went to university at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan , where he received a B.A. in philosophy in 1969. He subsequently completed a Masters degree, and a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Toronto (1975). His doctoral dissertation, published by the University of Toronto Press in 1980, was "Historical Understanding in the Thought of Wilhelm Dilthey."

During the next two years, Dr. Plantinga held a full-time position as lecturer in philosophy at Bishops University in Lennoxville, Quebec . Subsequently, he was a translator and managing editor for Paideia Press in St. Catharines, Ontario . He was appointed Executive Director of College Development for the Ontario Christian College Association, founded to explore the possibility of starting a Reformed Christian liberal arts and science college in Ontario .

In 1980 (the same year that his Rationale for a Christian College was published) Theo accepted a position in the philosophy department of Calvin College. But the work of the Ontario Christian College Association came to fruition in the founding of Redeemer College just two years later, and Theo returned to Ontario in 1982 to become Redeemer’s first professor of philosophy. He taught in (and chaired) the Department of Philosophy ever since then—an unbroken span of twenty-six years. He has written numerous books, articles addresses and reviews on philosophy, apologetics, memory, the problem of evil, Christian education, and reading the Bible as history. He has also translated into English numerous books by Dutch authors, including the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd; Dr. Plantinga became managing editor of the Dooyeweerd Centre at Redeemer in 2005.

For more than a quarter century, Theo Plantinga served our Lord faithfully through Redeemer University College in his teaching, scholarship and research. Especially in the early days of the university, he was a force to be reckoned with in our debates on policy, institutional purpose and identity, pedagogy and a host of other topics. He had a lively wit, a vibrant faith, a ready laugh, a listening ear and a particular fondness for the eccentric. He will be greatly missed as a friend, colleague, teacher and mentor. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

Please pray for the Redeemer community as it mourns the loss of one of its founding professors.

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