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Between Heaven & Hell

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  943 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Combining logical argument with literary imagination, Peter Kreeft uses a dialogue between C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley (all of whom died within hours of each other) to investigate the claims of Christ.
Paperback, 114 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by InterVarsity Press (first published January 1982)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  943 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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David Johnston
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On November 22nd, 1963 when I was eleven years old three well known figures died within hours of each other; John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. John F. Kennedy's horrific public death affected me profoundly as it did the rest of the nation and provided irrefutable proof that death is real and no one is exempt. Aldous Huxley I would not meet until Brave New World was required reading in High School. His book, The Doors of Perception provided the rationale for experimenting with psyche ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F. Kennedy all died on November 22, 1963. An odd coincidence that accounts for the little notice taken at the time of the death of Huxley and Lewis (the press so busy with the assassination of President Kennedy the other two were barely noticed.)

This novel is inspired by this fact and we are "privy" (in the novel) to the conversation the three have as they wait to face God and discover the truth of their "disagreements" and their lives. I like the book and th
Dan Glover
I have wanted to read this book for years as I think the premise is good and I am a big Lewis fan. This is a three way conversation in an intermediate place - somewhere between this life and the next - between three very important and influential men shortly after their death within hours of each other (C.S. Lewis, J.F.K. and Aldous Huxley). Fictional conversation is not a favourite genre of mine but it is moderately well done here, particularly in its grasp of the topic of debate and the logic ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. What is less well known is that two other great men died the same day -- Christian scholar and author C. S. Lewis, and novelist and pantheist Aldous Huxley.

Philosopher Peter Kreeft knew that Lewis and Kennedy had died within hours of one another. But it was on a Monday more than thirty years ago that he discovered that Huxley (author of Brave New Wor
Brian Watson
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've heard of Kreeft's imaginative philosophical dialogues before and had been meaning to read this. When I found it for $2.50 at a bookstore, I had to get it.

JFK, C. S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died on November 22, 1963. Kreeft imagines a conversation--a "trialog"--that the three have somewhere between heaven and hell, immediately after they die. Kreeft states at the beginning that JFK represents a humanist (really, a bad Catholic), Lewis represents orthodox Christianity, and Huxley believe
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
In this book, C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and J.F. Kennedy (who died the same day) meet in Purgatory. What follows is Socratic discussion with Lewis answering the questions and attempting to lead Huxley and Kennedy to answers. Lewis represents orthodox Christiany, Kennedy humanistic (modern liberal) Christianity, and Huxley an easternized version mixing Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity into a sort of neo-Gnosticism.
In the first section, Kreeft as Lewis debunks Kennedy's objections and ends
Naomi Young
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic
I haven't read this in many many years, but coming across it now I am reminded of how much I liked it, and I want to point it out to you. Kreeft takes as his starting point an odd historical fact: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, and Aldous Huxley all died within a few hours of each other. Kreeft then posits a convenient sort of anteroom to the particular judgment where the three men meet and discuss the claims of Christ. Kreeft uses the three men not so much as historical figures as exemplars of th ...more
Mikey Gee
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I must admit that I am reading just because I am a big Lewis fan. A bit of a Lewis geek. I'm just started so might have something to say about the play itself and what Kreeft is trying to do but for now I am just pleased by how well Kreeft has managed to capture Lewis' voice and style... though I find it highly unlikely that Lewis would ever use one of his own books to state a point. I've never heard of him doing it in any of his writings and it just seems very un-British.

Having now finished I c
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is the first Socratic dialogue I have read so I can't compare it to others and how they are normally meant to be. I will say though that while the content and layout was interesting I felt the argument a bit one sided. It didn't appear to me be three men arguing from three points of view but one man arguing one point of view while briefly acknowledging but almost mocking the other two views. There is a lot of mention on finding the undeniable truth but that seems a tall order when it comes ...more
George Shubin
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was killed, was a day that all who were alive that day clearly remember. Although overshadowed by the events in Dallas, two other quite famous people died that day as well, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis. This delightful book explains the worldwiews of these three men by means of a fictional meeting they have on their way to their final reward.

C.S. Lewis was an orthodox Christian. Kennedy was a humanist, albeit with a Roman Catholic bent. And Huxley bel
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow is all I can say. My husband and I were loaned this book shortly after we began attending our church. We both read it, and then we returned it to the original owner. We immediately went out and bought a copy for ourselves and read it again. It has sparked some of the most interesting and thought-provoking conversations I have had with my husband and others. It's a great book to get you thinking about one problem from different viewpoints. Each of the characters in the book had excellent poin ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A sharp trialogue which masterfully pits the voices of Orthodoxy, Modern Humanism, Pantheism in an engaging argument over the nature and identity of Christ; while Lewis is the clear master as the voice of Orthodoxy, still Kreeft's fictional Kennedy and Huxley don't come off to me as fools in light of Lewis' wisdom, but bring up and clarify points of the philosophies they represent that, in the end, are properly distinguished from Orthodoxy, and echo many of the claims of both media and friends t ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
JFK, C. S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died on November 22, 1963. The Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft uses this curious fact to set up a Socratic dialogue among the three. Lewis represents traditional "mere" Christianity. JFK represents modern Western humanism. And Huxley represents Eastern pantheism. The result is an easily read but profound work. It is also a remarkable piece of apologetics.
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think it's a great book. I wanted to read something that taught me more about Christianity and this was perfect. I had to read some parts more than once, because I didn't know anything about Budhism and Eastern religions. On the whole, Peter Kreeft did a great job
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books-2017
It took me a long time to finally get to Peter Kreeft's works.
And I'm finding a vastly rewarding experience!
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kreeft at his best. A kind of extended meditation on Lewis' "trilemma."
Seth Woodley
This is a Socratic dialogue featuring three men who died on November 22, 1963. Kreeft focuses on the question of "Who is Jesus?" with Lewis playing the role of Socrates. It is a fascinating and winsome portrayal of these three worldviews. The conversation is one that encourages and refreshes the soul, and it is a great example of what debate is (or at least should be). Readers of Lewis and Socrates will especially enjoy this work.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
What would happen if C.S. Lewis, 20th Century's most popular (if not most influential) Christian apologist, John F. Kennedy, America's youngest-elected and most romanticized President, and Aldous Huxley, one of England's more intriguing writers and humanist/pantheist amateur philosophers all met at one point? With Peter Kreeft's book, we can imaging that they'd talk about the one vexing question that awaits them after their death - God.

In Between Heaven and Hell, Kreeft provides an imaginary con
Neil Gussman
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book. I am re-reading this discussion of eternity shortly after the death of three great men on the same day.
In the re-read, I was struck again at how well Kreeft portrays Kennedy and Lewis. Huxley is definitely the third member of the trio, Kennedy and Lewis being the center.
Joshua D.
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it
On November 22, 1963 three great men died within hours of each other. What if somewhere, just beyond death, they met and discussed the meaning of life, and where they thought they were going after their death. This is the setting for Peter Kreeft's socratic dialogue, "Between Heaven and Hell." Kreeft uses C.S. Lewis to represent orthodox Christianity, Aldous Huxley for a kind of eastern pantheism, and John F Kennedy as an emblem of secular humanism. Kreeft makes no bones about who his winner wil ...more
What do C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley have in common? They all died on the same day in 1963. As the title says, Peter Kreeft imagines a conversation between the three of them in some kind of in-between place after death.

I liked this fictional dialogue well enough. I'll probably even peruse it again at some point. (It was a very quick read for me.) However, I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I thought there would be more of a conversation between all three men,
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
A helpful look at some basic Christian apologetics in an entertaining form. I don't dare speak to whether he is allowing JFK and Aldous Huxley to be themselves and truly represent their philosophies, but it seems to be a fair rendition of the non-expert modernist and the typical adherent to Eastern religion/philosophy. Much can be learned about how to make a case for traditional Christianity by observing his C.S. Lewis handle disputes after just entering the afterlife with the other two.

I fear t
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. For me, some parts are a touch dry because I have heard the arguments before. I like the concept, but I believe Kennedy would have had more to say.
Apr 01, 2009 rated it liked it
"Between Heaven and Hell" is an imaginary conversation among President John F. Kennedy, Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis, each of whom died on Nov. 22, 1963. These three men, Kreeft says, represent the three most influential worldviews in human history: Western theism (Lewis), modern Western humanism (Kennedy) and Eastern pantheism (Huxley).
What if they had encountered each other shortly after their deaths? How might their dialogue have gone?
The book is a transcription of that conversation as Kreeft
A Socratic dialogue using CS Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F Kennedy to represent Christian theism, Christian humanism, and Christian pantheism (in that order). I knew all the arguments so it felt more like a review to me but it would work pretty well as an introduction to apologetics and as a defence of apologetics to someone not very knowledgeable of the subject. The characters were written well (especially Lewis) and he was clearly to make them more than just placeholder names for their argu ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this in seminary back in the late 80s. Good book as I recall - a fictional conversation about life after death between John F Kennedy, CS Lewis, and Aldous Huxley who all happened to die on the same day, November 22, 1963. Here's the back blurb:

"On November 22, 1963, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. All three believed, in different ways, that death is not the end of human life. Suppose they were right, and suppose they m
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, biography
This was a very interesting discussion of Christianity from the points of view of three famous people who happened to die on the same day. I found the book from a link at the Wikipedia article on the three people who died November 22, 1963. The book was challenging to ideas, though not to read. I really came away from the book thinking about what I believe and why, and questioning my own faith. I do not believe that questions of faith are a bad thing. I found the discussion to be interesting, th ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book as an apologetic based on some apologetics that Lewis was most known for, but not much more than that even though it takes place in a purgatorial context. Kreeft says he wrote the book in about three days and in my opinion it shows, meaning that he didn't really attempt to leave his apologetical element in order to craft a more filled in fictional narrative that Lewis himself was able to do repeatedly. In other words, the characters of Kennedy, Huxley, and Lewis are not fleshed out ...more
A glib review of BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL would be, "It's like NO EXIT written by a Christian apologist"--but that's not a very fair review. What this short book is, is a high readable overview of the differences between certain kinds of modern belief--Christian humanist, orthodox Christian, and "Eastern" Christian--represented respectively by John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley. The twist is that the book is written like a play, based on the remarkable coincidence that these three men ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Between Heaven and Hell was my first introduction to Peter Kreeft in 1982, and I have just finished reading it again.
He has a straightforward, creative approach to apologetics. He re-introduces insightful arguments in the context of a provocative conversation: exactly where they should be. In his three characters, he juxtaposes Christianity, humanism, and a sort of subjective, eastern spirituality. His writing style is curt and his logic is tight. None of his characters take themselves too seri
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Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College, and author of over 45 books including Fundamentals of the Faith , Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven , and Back to Virtue . Some consider him the best Catholic philosopher currently residing in the United States. His ideas draw heavily from religious and philosophical tradition, ...more
“Kennedy: You mean it’s not a matter of good deeds versus bad deeds, a kind of moral bookkeeping? Lewis: No indeed. Look at the thief on the cross. He made it to paradise even though his life’s red ink certainly outweighed the black. Kennedy:” 0 likes
“Human fathers give human life, animal fathers give animal life, God the Father gives divine life. It’s called grace.” 0 likes
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