Dallas One of the most well-known Christian theologians was Albert Willard. He was an academician and educator who worked as a professor of philosophy but did not confine his work to that field. Instead, he focused his research on Christian spiritual formation and wrote a number of publications for the benefit of humanity and society as a whole. His novels, ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ and ‘Renovation of the Heart,’ won the Book of the Year Award from Christianity Today. He has a degree in philosophy and has published several works on phenomenology in philosophy. He became a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1965 and remained there until his death in 2013. In the meantime, he served as the Director of the USC School of Philosophy from 1982 to 1985. Read the following lines to learn more about his life and background.
Childhood and Adolescence
Except for the fact that he was born on September 4, 1935, in Buffalo, Missouri, the little is known about Dallas Willard’s parents and childhood.
Willard received his pre-university education at William Jewell College before transferring to Tennessee Temple College for his undergraduate studies. In 1956, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
He graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Philosophy and Religion the following year. He earned his PhD after attending graduate school at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1964, he received his PhD in Philosophy with a minor in Science History.
Career of Dallas Willard
He took up a teaching post at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shortly after receiving his PhD and served in the profile for five years, from 1961 to 1965.
He joined the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1965 as a Professor. His training brilliance and in-depth knowledge of the subject paid off for both him and the university.
He was appointed Director of the School of Philosophy in 1982, a position he held until 1985. In 1969, he was a visiting professor at UCLA, and in 1984, he was a visiting professor at the University of Colorado.
During this time, he authored a number of philosophical works. The majority of them were focused on epistemology, philosophy of mind, and logic. He even scribbled Edmund Husserl’s philosophy and translated his work from German to English.
He was widely recognized as the international authority on Edmund Husserl’s work since he had such a firm grasp on it. During his lifetime, he published two translations of Husserl’s work: one in 1993 under the title ‘Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics,’ and the other in 2003 under the title ‘Philosophy of Arithmetic.’
He wrote various books and gave talks about Christianity and Christian living in addition to teaching and authoring works on philosophy. His first book, titled ‘The Spirit of the Disciples: Understanding How God Changes Lives,’ was published in 1988.
His groundbreaking study, titled ‘The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God,’ was published in 1998. The book emphasized the need for people to modify their perspectives on life and their ideas in order for human society to progress.
The popularity of ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ stemmed from the fact that it combined elements of popular culture, science, scholarship, and spiritual activities in addition to biblical themes. It provided Christ’s teachings a profound, ingrained significance in a way that was original, fresh, and acceptable to humanity.
The book received the Christianity Today Book of the Year award in 1999. In the same year, he published ‘Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God,’ another book on Christian living. He emphasized the importance of communicating with God in such a way that we can listen closely and comprehend what God is trying to communicate.
He published ‘Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ’ in 2002. The book was about human spirit transformation, in which people must let go of their wicked habits and become one with God. The book went on to win the 2003 Book Award for Books on Spirituality from Christianity Today.
He considered the Church’s lack of activity and responsiveness to be one of the issues that contributed to the society’s predicament. He emphasized the importance of choosing to be a follower of Christ and learning the things that will help one develop the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and faithfulness.
Achievements & Awards
He worked as a Danforth Associate from 1965 until 1977.
For excellent contributions to student life at USC, he received the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity’s ‘Outstanding Faculty Member’ award in 1976.
In 1976-77, he received the coveted USC Associated Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was a faculty participant at the COLLEGIUM PHAENOMENOLOGICUM in Monteripido in the summer of 1977.
The USC Student Senate Award for Outstanding Faculty of the Year was bestowed upon him in 1984.
He lectured at the Corsi Estivi Internazionali in Filosofia in Bozen, Italy, in 1990. He was inducted into the PHI KAPPA PHI National Honor Society the same year.
He became a member of the ALPHA LAMBDA DELTA National Honor Society in 1991.
Personal History and Legacy
In the year 1955, he married Jane Lakes of Macon, Georgia. John and Becky, the couple’s two children, were born to them.
He passed away on May 8, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.
He is an American philosopher best known for his studies on Christian spiritual formation and for authoring the books “The Divine Conspiracy” and “Renovation of the Heart.”