History

Early History

The Society for Philosophy of Religion was founded in 1938. Before 1944 the past of the Society is murky, especially because of the Second World War. During these times a small group of scholars meet at various places – usually one of the several houses of Bob Patterson, though there was at least one meeting on a cruise liner – to sip the finest of liquors and to smoke the best of Cuban cigars while talking about God, no-God, which God, and the like. From 1944 onward, the society was more formally organized with a president and officers.

Recent History

The Society now meets annually in a variety of American cities. It also sponsors the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, which is published by Springer and overseen by a group of Society members.

In Memorium

The Society is saddened to report the passing of two longstanding and beloved members of SPR, George Mavrodes and John Whittaker.

Past President George Mavrodes passed away July 31, 2019. Mavrodes received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1961, where he taught from 1961 to 1995. Included in his hundreds of scholarly publications is the seminal Belief in God: A Study in the Epistemology of Religion (1970), a work that shaped many of our careers in the field. George was an eager interlocutor and lifelong friend to many in the Society, sparring regularly with Thomists, Wittgensteinians, and Process Theologians in sessions while maintaining good friendships with all outside the confines of the meeting room. His service to the Society continues through those members he introduced to it and the many relationships fostered through his work and participation.

Past President John Whittaker passed away July 26, 2019. Whittaker received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1974 in Philosophy of Religion and took an initial appointment to the University of Virginia. After moving to Louisiana State University, Whittaker served as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and directed the Religious Studies Program. All who knew John can acknowledge the truth of one colleague's claim that he was "more invested in what students had to say than in what he had to say to them." He was a gifted teacher and good friend to many in the Society, always eager to engage in conversations and never eager to impose ideology. His good company and keen intellect continue to shape the Society through the many he impacted in it.

Past Presidents

2022 Rob Prevost
2021 Brian Birch
2020 Brad Kallenberg
2019 David Holley
2018 Katherin Rogers
2017 Scott Davison
2016 Ingolf Dalferth
2015 Patrick Horn
2014 Bernie Cantens
2013 John Schellenberg
2012 Terrence Tilley
2011 John Whittaker
2010 Ron Hall
2009 Paul Draper
2008 Houston Craighead
2007 Jeff Jordan
2006 William Hasker
2005 William Wainwright
2004 Dewi Phillips
2003 James Harris
2002 William Alston
2001 William Rowe
2000 Patricia Johnson
1999 Frank Dilley
1998 James Keller
1997 Jane Mary Trau
1996 Louis Pojman
1995 Will Power
1994 David Schrader
1993 Lad Sessions
1992 Jackson Ice
1991 Billy Joe Lucas
1990 Jamie Ferreira
1989 Dallas High
1988 George Mavrodes
1987 John Elrod
1986 Frederick Ferre
1985 Frank Harrison
1984 Bob Perkins
1983 Charles Lewis
1982 Rem Edwards
1981 Gene Long
1980 Bill Cobb
1979 Jude Dougherty
1978 Forrest Wood
1977 Mary Rose
1976 Elliott McElroy
1975 Tom Hearn
1974 Bo Clarke
1973 Oswald Schrag
1972 Henry Sprinkle
1971 Allan Carlsson
1970 Bob Ayers
1969 Ethel Tiley
1968 Jim Rikard
1967 Maurice Allen
1966 Jose Franquiz
1965 Jackson Ice
1964 Nolan Jacobson
1963 Charles Hartshorne
1962 Wilford Cross
1961 Leroy Loemker
1960 Howard Parsons
1959 Bob Miller
1958 Henry Wieman
1957 Paul Vonk
1956 John Mourant
1955 Edgar Henderson
1954 Richard Hocking
1953 Albert Balz
1952 Godfrey Tietze
1951 J. R. Cresswell
1950 E. D. Myers
1949 John Marshall
1948 Anna Liddell
1947 Kenneth Foreman
1946 Bob Patterson
1945 Fritz Marti
1944 Edward Ramsdell