Professor of Philosophy;
Director of New Faculty Formation
on faculty since 1998
Before Aron Reppmann ’92 decided to major in philosophy, one of his Trinity philosophy professors gave him some frank advice.
“John Roose told me to ‘quit playing around’ with the other majors I was considering,” Reppmann recalls about his mentor. “He recognized that the breadth and expansiveness of the discipline of philosophy would give me space to pursue many interests rather than narrowly restricting my focus.”
After graduating from Trinity with a degree in philosophy and earning a master’s degree at Loyola, he returned to his alma mater as an adjunct professor while continuing his doctoral studies. In 1998, he began teaching full time in the philosophy department and served as founding director of Trinity’s Honors Program, which seeks to challenge and support academically gifted students through seminars, unique opportunities within the major program, and participation in co-curricular activities. Reppmann says teaching gives him the chance to learn about the worldview of his students.
“It’s fun and challenging to find out where they come from and what perspectives they have. They come with different viewpoints, and that diversity of experiences leads to a positive tension during classroom discussions. It also helps them learn more about themselves as young Christians.”
Reppmann considers his work as a scholar and teacher of philosophy to be deeply connected to the College’s conviction that teaching and learning are ways of co-working with Christ, involving the whole person in “subjecting all cultural activities to the reign of God.”
“Philosophy lives in its questions, not in the answers that have already been given. The Reformed tradition is practical and active in its orientation. As Christians, we participate in God’s redemptive plan, and encountering the world through philosophical questioning is one way to do that.”
In 2010 Reppmann stepped aside from leading the Honors Program to develop a formation program for faculty members who are new to Trinity. This program helps new faculty find their places and develop appropriate goals for their development in four crucial areas: teaching and student development, scholarship, service, and understanding of and dedication to the mission and identity of Trinity Christian College. “My favorite comment about this program came from a new faculty member who, at the end of his first year, said: ‘Thank you for helping us see Trinity as we instead of they.’”
Reppmann finished a six-year term on Trinity’s alumni board in 1999, spending two years each as president and vice president. Since his freshman year, there have been only nine months when he had no official ties with the College.
A native of Bellflower, California, Reppmann lives in Evergreen Park, Illinois, with his wife, Karen (Swieringa) ’92, their son, Anthony, and their daughter, Zoe. They are members of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Illinois.
Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 2006
M.A., Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 1995
B.A., Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois, 1992
Courses and Publications/Research
- English Composition: Honors
- History of Philosophy I
- Honors Philosophy
- Major Philosophical Authors
- Philosophical Perspectives I
- Philosophy of Education
Papers Published and/or Presented
“Arthur and Socrates in Faerieland.” Presented at the Trinity Christian College Spenser Colloquium (organized with colleagues Mark Jones and Keith Starkenburg), October 2013.
“Cheerfully conveying the word of love: St. Augustine’s Platonic emphasis on the unity of disposition and message in Christian instruction.” Invited lecture for the “Searching the Sacred” series at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, October 2013.
“What’s love got to do with it? Educational practices for conveying and cultivating a distinctive Christian virtue.” Presented at the conference “Virtues, Vices, and Teaching” hosted by the Kuyers Institute, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 2013.
“Gregory of Nyssa’s Non-Substantialist Ontology and His Platonist-Christian Synthesis.” Presented May 2013 at the North American Patristics Society annual conference in Chicago.
“Fostering intellectual and spiritual development of emerging adults in the context of a Christian-college honors program.” Presented at “Spirituality and Honors Education: A Symposium on Holistic Learning,” Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana, May 2012. Accepted as a lead essay in a monograph on Spirituality in Honors Education, forthcoming.
“Love and justice: a hermeneutical approach to the unity of the agapist tradition.” Society of Christian Philosophers Midwest Regional Conference, Conway, Arkansas, March 2012.
“Loving the law: the mutuality of love and knowledge in our access to creation order.” Association for Reformational Philosophy 75th Anniversary International Conference, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 2011.
“Mediating models of transcendence: Plato, Vollenhoven, and Levinas.” Conference on Culture and Transcendence, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 2010.
"Recalling the Plato We Never Knew: Rethinking Modern Christian Anti-Platonism by Reading (with) Gregory of Nyssa.” Baylor University Symposium on Faith and Culture, October 2009.
“Finding a voice, coming to speech.” Invited colloquium “In Praise of Speaking: Reading, Writing, Teaching, Discussing. A Gathering in Honour of Adriaan Peperzak.” Baltimore, Maryland. May 2009.
Selected recent scholarly publications
“The relevance of soul: how and why the soul comes up for discussion in Plato’s Phaedo, Meno, and Phaedrus.” In John Finamore and Robert Berchman, ed., Conversations Platonic and Neoplatonic: Intellect, Soul, and Nature (St. Augustin, Germany: Academia Verlag, 2010), 63-72.
“Worldview: An Untimely Meditation.” In J. Matthew Bonzo and Michael Stevens, ed., After Worldview: Christian Higher Education in Postmodern Worlds (Sioux Center, Iowa: Dordt College Press, 2009), 43-53.
Selected recent general audience publications
“What Spring Breakers says about youth formation.” ThinkChristian. April 2013.
“A challenge from Kierkegaard on his 200th birthday.” ThinkChristian. May 2013.
“Holiness or happiness? The challenge of Before Midnight.” ThinkChristian. June 2013.
“Vocation for vacation?” ThinkChristian. July 2013.
“The many paths of education.” ThinkChristian. August 2013.
“High Fidelity.” catapult magazine. March 2010.
“Scarcity vs. Abundance.” catapult magazine. May 2009.
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- The Advisory Board to Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (co-chair)
- The North American Patristics Society
- The Small College Honors Program Committee of the National Collegiate
- The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy
- The Society of Christian Philosophers