Simply put, an introduction to any philosopher should give the reader/listener a good foundation for further exploration. Kreeft does this admirably. After listening I felt like I had a great foundation for reading Thomas, and because of Kreeft's presentation, I wanted to do so.
I also appreciate the fact that Kreeft does not hide his loyalties behind a veneer of academic objectivity. Who else to present Thomism than a Catholic professor of philosophy? Who else to explain Thomas than someone who shares the same convictions?
Best of all, Kreeft's presentation leaves us with some very thought provoking comparisons of Scholasticism/Thomism with modern (e.g., Descartes) and post-modern (a la Foucault) philosophy.
In a word: masterful.
There are great philosophers and then there are great teachers of philosophy. Kreeft is the latter. He is a great teacher, and this is a prime example of it. He makes a very compelling case for the Platonic Tradition and it's centrality, not just as a given of Western culture, but as THE correct approach to truth. Kreeft, taking up Whitehead's oft-quoted aphorism about all Western philosophy being a footnote to Plato, demonstrates why this is so. He demonstrates how most of the rest of ancient and medieval philosophy has been an attempt to add to and/or incorporate Plato into a larger milieu. He also demonstrates how all modern philosophy, beginning with Occam (pre-Descartes even) until today consists of various attempts to subtract from Plato with disastrous results. I found it so utterly convincing that, once I had finished, I restarted it. To me it was that good.
If you decide you cannot agree with Kreeft's view point, you would still benefit greatly from arguing with his case.
The one downside is that Recorded books has not provided a guidebook and their website does not even have the course listed, which means no final exam. That's sad.
The Meditations are a personal notebook, written by Marcus to himself and for his own use. This is an incredibly powerful book.
"In this flowing stream then, on which there is no abiding, what is there of the things which hurry by on which a man would set a high price? It would be just as if a man should fall in love with one of the sparrows which fly by, but it has already passed out of sight." [Meditations 6:15]
Some may find this recording “monotone and lifeless”. But, remember: Marcus Aurelius had a manly stoic character. He was not a tragic hero.
“Everything which happens either happens in such wise as thou art formed by nature to bear it, or as thou art not formed by nature to bear it. If, then, it happens to thee in such way as thou art formed by nature to bear it, do not complain, but bear it as thou art formed by nature to bear it. But if it happens in such wise as thou art not formed by nature to bear it, do not complain, for it will perish after it has consumed thee.” [Meditations 10:3]
Walter Covell’s interpretation provides a fascinating picture of a would-be Stoic sage at work on himself. In some parts, his intonation is just perfect. If you heard it multiple times, you will start noticing it. Listen to the book IV for instance. There is no way to improve it.
“From Rusticus I received the impression that my character required improvement and discipline and from him I learned (…) to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book” [Meditations 1:7]
If you are looking for an introduction to stoicism, here are some suggestions: listen to the Epictetus’ Enchiridion at librivox dot org and search for “James Stockdale”.
Further Reading: The Fourth Book of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus at archive dot org -- a commentary by H. Crossley.