Here’s my very biased pick of 10 favourite modern thinkers, in no particular order (just in case anyone’s curious; you never know):
Alvin Plantinga – a legend in the philosophy of religion. It’s not often one can say that they appreciate the sense of humour of a philosopher, let alone one working in philosophical theology / phil of religion.
John Lennox – Prof of Mathematics at Oxford, also a philosopher of science and increasingly popular Christian speaker. Has 3 earned doctorates and a masters in bioethics and many years of being unashamedly Christian in some very interesting contexts, including years travelling eastern Europe and the Soviet union. If I can achieve one fifth as much as him in my lifetime, I’ll consider it quite a success.
JI Packer – standing in here as a distinguished representative for a few Reformed Christian writers.
Larry Hurtado – New Testament studies.
Haven’t read much by him, but he’s looking into stuff I’m very interested in.
Richard Bauckham – also NT studies
for writing “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, probably the first recent scholarly NT tome I read (and perhaps the last one that I’ve read fully?)
Michael Behe – has caused a decent-sized fuss in the biological world for the last 15+ years and will around for a while more. I have no idea if he’s right (well, okay, I suspect he is!), but (along with agnostics Michael Denton & Paul Davies and atheist Franklin M Harold), he got me thinking about some important stuff as a teenager, including the field of molecular biology.
Richard Swinburne – philosopher of religion & science, retired from Oxford
I haven’t read much of his stuff (apart from, I think, a small book of his on the criterion of simplicity in theory choice), but I hope to remedy that in coming weeks. I am a fan of the evidentialist approach he takes, but we’ll see if that’s still the case in a couple of months!
Robert P George – a very influential Roman Catholic philosopher at Princeton. He makes the list for bioethics, though that’s not really his main field.
Francis Collins – perhaps the first theistic evolutionist whose book I took seriously. He’s currently director of the NIH and, while I think he’s wrong on some issues, he’s at the forefront of engaging positively with culture as an evangelical. He’s well-placed for discussions on the edge, having been raised by ‘free-thinker’ parents and with a graduate-level background in physical chemistry before he moved into medicine.
Timothy Keller – a New York pastor who communicates effectively with sceptical young adults. He’s well-read in philosophy and culture and his ‘Redeemer Presbyterian Church’ is now something of an icon. I’ve only read (kind of) ‘The Reason for God’, but I’ve heard a few sermons too and he seems like a cool guy.
Others I’d like to read more from include:
-Lamin Sanneh – a noted Christian sociologist at Yale. From Gambia, and a convert from Islam.
-Alister McGrath – British evangelical theologian, with a background in biophysics at oxford. Raised in northern Ireland, where he started an atheist club at his high school, strangely enough.
-NT Wright – I got maybe half-way through ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’ before life took over
-Bas van Fraassen – a very important philosopher of science, also noted (and derided) for converting to Roman Catholicism (a student of his, Bradley Monton, seems to have written some interesting things too).
-Craig Keener – has a large new book documenting modern testimony of miracles and tying it in with NT accounts
-Robin Collins – doing very rigorous work on the Fine Tuning Argument in cosmology, as well as some other interesting philosophical side-projects
-William Lane Craig – not just a debater, but his main work is in areas I don’t feel equipped to read about – the philosophy of time and cosmological theory.
-William Dembski / Stephen C Meyer – I wonder what these leaders of the Intelligent Design movement are cooking up now
-Timothy Larsen – has written a very interesting book on sceptical/’free-thought’ leaders of the 19th C who reconverted; it’s near the top of my wishlist
-JK Hoffmeier, Kenneth Kitchen, Alan Millard – Egyptologists
– & a bunch of other Reformed thinkers; Piper, Beale, Poythress, Horton, Helm, … as well as classical theologians
Peter Singer – consequentialist ethics
Eric Wielenberg – secular metaethics
Richard Carrier – sceptic of the resurrection
John W Loftus – sceptic of anything Christian
Daniel Dennett – I haven’t got my head around his view of the mind yet; one day.
Some deceased thinkers:
CS Lewis – of course
EM Blaiklock – head of the UoA classics department during the 60s and 70s.
There are no women on this list. Scanning the top shelf on my bookcase, only 3 were written by women. …
I’m sorry. In future I’ll select from a broader pool.