Keith Yandell Remembered

Dr. Mark Linville, PhD

Dave Werther and Mark Linville offer their memories and reflections on the life, teaching, and scholarship of Keith Yandell, who passed away on April 28th.

“To be invited to write a remembrance of Keith Yandell is a bittersweet honor,” they write. “But Keith himself might have observed that X is a bittersweet honor entails X is an honor.”

In the first part of their essay, they offer various personal reminiscences, highlighting ways that Keith’s life not only intersected with their own journey but also shaped them in significant ways.

Of Keith’s mind, Dave observes that

Some philosophers are adept at analysis, but cannot see beyond numbered propositions. Others want to eschew fine-grained analysis in favor of “the big questions.” Keith was unique in his ability to do deep analysis along with the assessment of conceptual systems. His mind was as broad as it was deep and it was very, very deep.

Mark further elaborates, with these observations:

Despite the precision of his philosophical work, Keith defied the stereotype of analytic philosophers who “either scorn or simply ignore history of philosophy,” as one author has put it. He was widely read in the history of his discipline and offered a wide range of courses and seminars on different periods of that history and individual philosophers . . . A chief concern of his was the rational assessment of worldviews as comprehensive conceptual systems, and this concern led him to an expertise in the religious and philosophical systems of India in addition to his consideration of theism and its main alternatives in the West.

In the second part of their essay, Dave and Mark survey some of the lasting significance of Keith Yandell’s work in light of his scholarship, especially his notable books.

Keith was primarily a philosopher who was also a committed Christian, and so he is not best ranked among Christian apologists. But he was a philosopher with both a personal and scholarly interest in philosophy of religion, a theistic worldview, and issues in Christian theology, and so his careful philosophical work is of lasting value not only to philosophers–Christian and otherwise–but also to Christian apologists and theologians, as well as to those working in the emerging and rather hybrid discipline of analytic theology.

They conclude their essay with this hope: “Through Christ, Keith has won his Last Battle. In the words of Aslan, ‘The term is over: the holidays have begun.’

To read the full-text of the paper, please click here.