This review prompted a melancholic reflection: analytical philosophy got started in a kind of allergic reaction to hero-worship, but a few generations later we have become quite good at it (recall also this post on Kripke-Mania):
The essays in the volume also nicely illustrate the profound impact Alvin Plantinga has had on the field of philosophy. His purely academic achievements were not the only reason for this conference and ensuing volume. Consider the first footnote in Michael Bergmann's essay.
I am very pleased to be presenting this chapter in honor of Alvin Plantinga. His philosophical writings are brilliant, field defining, and full of wit, all of which make them both hugely beneficial and a huge pleasure to read. But even more impressive and meaningful to me, however, is the manner in which he has modeled in his own life, in multiple ways that I think about often, how someone with a career in philosophy can be a faithful Christian (p. 9, n. 1).
Comments such as these, including the whole of Wolterstorff's essay, indicate that Al has not been content to merely blaze new trails in the philosophical landscape. He has shouldered the more difficult task of guide and mentor to many who have followed him on those new trails. This volume appropriately conveys appreciation for his work, both philosophical and personal.
I counted four "profound"s, four "important"s, two "fascinating"s (not to mention Bergmann's size-obsession ("huge"), etc.) in this short review. Anyway, let's grant the significance of Prof. Plantinga's contribution to metaphysics, especially. As I have remarked before, some of his sociological actions are more controversial than these hagiographical comments by his admirers suggest. It's one thing to have such hero-worship in a volume devoted to celebrating the man's life and works; it's another to recycle them in a professional review.