Dallas Willard

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Dallas Albert Willard
Dallas Willard giving a Ministry-in-Contemporary-Culture Seminar at the George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon in 2008
Born (1935-09-04)September 4, 1935
Buffalo, Missouri, U.S.
Died May 8, 2013(2013-05-08) (aged 77)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Website Dallas Willard's website
Institutions William Jewell College, Tennessee Temple College, Baylor University, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Main interests
phenomenology, Edmund Husserl

Dallas Albert Willard (September 4, 1935 – May 8, 2013) was an American philosopher also known for his writings on Christian spiritual formation. Much of his work in philosophy was related to phenomenology, particularly the work of Edmund Husserl, many of whose writings he translated into English for the first time.[1] He was longtime Professor of Philosophy at The University of Southern California, teaching at the school from 1965 until his death in 2013 and serving as the department chair from 1982 to 1985.[2]


Willard attended William Jewell College, and later graduated from Tennessee Temple College in 1956 with a B.A. in Psychology, and from Baylor University in 1957 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. He went to graduate school at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, earning a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a minor in the History of Science in 1964.[3]

Academic career

Willard taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1960–1965. Since then he had taught at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he served as Director of the School of Philosophy from 1982–1985. He had also held visiting appointments at UCLA (1969) and the University of Colorado (1984).[3]

His publications in philosophy are concerned primarily with epistemology, the philosophy of mind and of logic, and with the philosophy of Edmund Husserl. He translated many of Husserl's early writings from German into English, and is widely regarded as an international authority on the philosopher's works.

Other work

In addition to teaching and writing about philosophy, Willard gave lectures and wrote books about Christianity and Christian living. His book The Divine Conspiracy was Christianity Today’s Book of the Year for 1999.[4] Another of his books, Renovation of the Heart, won Christianity Today’s 2003 Book Award for books on Spirituality and The Association of Logos Bookstores' 2003 Book Award for books on Christian Living.[5]

Willard believed passivity to be a widespread problem in the Church (loosely summed up in his phrase "Grace is not opposed to effort {which is action}, but to earning {which is attitude}").[6][7] He emphasized the importance of deliberately choosing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ (someone being with Jesus, learning to be like him).[8][6][7] An important outgrowth of the choice to be identified as a disciple of Jesus is the desire to learn about activities that aid spiritual transformation into the likeness of Christ.[9]

In this regard, being an apprentice of Jesus (someone being with Jesus, learning to be like him), involves learning about activities that might help one grow in the fruit of the spirit, namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).[10][6][9] Such activities might include spiritual exercises practiced throughout the ages such as prayer, fellowship, service, study, simplicity, chastity, solitude, and fasting.[11][9] Willard explains the crucial role of engaging in spiritual exercises in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives—a book that was written after In Search of Guidance: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.

Willard has a recommended reading page on his website listing specific titles by Thomas a Kempis, William Law, Frank Laubach, William Wilberforce, Richard Baxter, Charles Finney, Jan Johnson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jeremy Taylor, Richard Foster, E. Stanley Jones, William Penn, Brother Lawrence, Francis de Sales, James Gilchrist Lawson, and others.[12]

He was influenced by many, including Jacques Maritain, Aquinas, Augustine, P.T. Forsyth, John Calvin and John Wesley, William Law, Andrew Murray, Richard Baxter, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales, Brother Lawrence, and the Rule of St. Benedict.[citation needed]

He served on the boards of the C.S. Lewis Foundation and of Biola University.[13]


Willard died on May 8th, 2013, after a short battle with cancer.[14] His last words were "Thank you."[15]

Selected publications

Translations of Works by Husserl

Christian books

See also


External links