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Aristotle and Christian Theology Thomas Aquinas R.C. Sproul Norm Geisler.

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Presentation on theme: "Aristotle and Christian Theology Thomas Aquinas R.C. Sproul Norm Geisler."— Presentation transcript:


2 Aristotle and Christian Theology Thomas Aquinas R.C. Sproul Norm Geisler

3 Aristotles Life 384 BC – Aristotle is born in Stagira in Thrace, near Macedonia Father is court physician to King Amyntas, grandfather of Alexander the Great 367 BC – Aristotle comes to Athens to study at Platos academy Plato refers to Aristotle as the Nous of the Academy Aristotle builds an impressive personal library, Plato refers to Aristotles home as the house of the reader

4 Ancient Gossip Rumor …. Aristotle said to have hinted that wisdom would not die with Plato. And Plato said to have referred to his student as a foal that kicks his mother after draining her dry.

5 347 BC – Plato dies. After 20 years of study, Aristotle leaves Athens, travels to Asia Minor and marries. 342 BC – Aristotle has stayed in touch with friends in Macedonia via Facebook. Receives 140 character Tweet from Phillip inquiring if he would be interested in returning to Macedonia for a sweet job.

6 Alexanders Three Tutors 1) Leonidas, a kinsman of Olympias Training was like Marine bootcamp As an adult Alexanders endurance was almost superhuman 2) Lysicmachus Referred to Alexander as Achilles Fed the stories Olympias had told Alexander about his conception

7 Conception of Alexander Olympias – a priestess of Dionysus Adept at trancelike state of possession In trance is impregnated by celestial fire Philip sees her snuggling with a snake while asleep and is told by Oracle of Delphi that he has witnessed her sleeping with a god and that it will cost him an eye

8 342 BC – Aristotle returns to Macedonia to tutor Alexander Most esteemed philosopher of his day Childhood friend of Phillip Enduring relationship Different political philosophy

9 Aristotle tutored Alexander, for 5 years until Phillip dies and Alexander assumes the throne. Alexander goes on to conquer the world Alexander had his men collect flora and fauna from every region of the world and send to Aristotle Led to Aristotle having the first zoo

10 Aristotle tutors Alexander for 5 years until Phillip dies and Alexander assumes the throne. 336 BC Aristotle leaves Macedonia 334 BC Aristotle establishes his own university, the Lyceum Named the Lyceum, as it was adjacent to the temple to the god Apollo Lyceus -- protector of the flock against the wolf [lycos]. Morning serious lectures - - Evening public lectures Students had their meals with Aristotle Peripatetic style of teaching

11 323 BC Alexander the Great dies, Aristotle leaves Athens lest Athens sin twice against philosophy Demosthenes had kept the independent minded Athenians stirred up about their Macedonian conquerors Conquered by Phillip Forced to stay in Corinthian League (remember Thebes?) 322 BC Aristotle Dies

12 Aristotles Library Is Buried After his death Theophrastus buries Aristotles library in an effort to preserve it. Lost and forgotten for about 100 years and then it is dug up, bad shape, a definitive edition of his collected works eventually put together from fragments and his students lecture notes. Some ancient historians credit him with having written a thousand books (probably an exaggeration) We have about 30

13 Important But Difficult Many, if not most, of his writings are dense and not all that interesting. Arabian philosopher Avicenna said that he had read Aristotles Metaphysics 40 times without understanding it.

14 Logical works Collected by the later Peripatetics under the title of Aristotles Organon) Categories Topics Prior Posterior Analytics Propositions Sophistical Refutation

15 Scientific Works Physics On the Heavens Growth and Decay Meteorology Natural History On the Soul The Parts of Animals The Movement of Animals The Generation of Animals

16 Esthetic Works Rhetoric Poetics

17 Philosophical Works Ethics Politics Metaphysics

18 Encyclopedia Aristotlica How is he able to write so diversely? It should be noted that his works are full of errors and absurdities. He believed that everything could be explained in as a consequence of four causes...

19 Four Causes Everything can be explained as a consequence of 1. Material cause – what is it made of? 2. Formal cause – what kind of thing is it? What is its essence, its ness. 3. Efficient cause – what produced it? 4. Final cause – what is its purpose?

20 What are the Four Causes? A Statue of Socrates Material Cause: Marble Formal Cause: Statueness of Socrates Efficient Cause: Sculptor Final Cause: To honor Socrates

21 A Shirt Material Cause: Fabric Formal Cause: Shirtness Efficient Cause: Shirt Maker Final Cause: To keep someone warm. A Wig Material Cause: Real or synthetic hair Formal Cause: Wigness Efficient Cause: Wig Maker Final Cause: To make someone look and/or feel better.

22 Ancient Philosophy & Four Causes First book of Metaphysics explains all philosophy prior to Aristotle in terms of the four causes. I am the first to recognize all four causes. Can you refute Aristotle?

23 Aristotles Doctrine of Substances Substance – for Aristotle anything that exists Every substance is composed of two things Hule = matter Morphe = form What makes wood a chair rather than a bat?

24 Some Contributions of Aristotle Logic Syllogisms Law of Non-Contradiction Opponent of Platos Dualism Unmoved First Mover Rhetoric Ethics

25 Syllogism The key component of Aristotelian logic is the syllogism. Typical format: Major premise – a general truth, or observation Minor premise – a particular fact, or specific observation Conclusion – an inference implied by the two premises together

26 The classic example of the syllogism: Major premise: All men are mortal. Minor premise: Socrates is a man. Conclusion: Socrates is mortal. In other words, what applies to all members of a group applies to each and everymember.

27 Law of Non-Contradiction More than just a law of thought it is a law of being Contrary properties cannot belong to the same thing, at the same time, and in the same sense. A cannot be both B and –B at the same time and in the same relationship. A proposition cannot be both True and False at the same time and in the same sense Square Circle

28 You assume the law of non-contradiction every time you take an action, think a thought, or speak a sentence. You would have to presuppose the law to try to contradict it. Aristotle said that if the law of contradiction does not exist then there is no difference between coming to hear me speak, and taking a dose of Hemlock.

29 A Cannot Be Not-A For Christians Without the law of contradiction (1) significant thinking is impossible, (2) significant action is impossible, (3) significant speech is impossible No difference between sin and non-sin Words may have a number of meanings but not an infinite number of meanings. There may be chair sense 1, chair sense 2, chair sense 3, but a chair is not a cat.

30 The Trinity Dont Christians break the Law of Non-Contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity?

31 Aquinas – According, Contrary, Beyond human reason Trinity, Hypostatic Union, Election

32 Aristotle vs. Plato Rejects Platos metaphysical dualism doctrine of two worlds Rejects Platos epistemological dualism Rationalism vs. empiricism Rejects Platos anthropological dualism Body and soul holism

33 The Rhetorical Triangle When you engage in rhetoric, you are related to the audience and your subject. A well-balanced argument gives attention to all three points of the triangle, establishing your authority (ethos), drawing the audience emotionally (pathos), and doing justice to the facts (logos). However, if you give too much emphasis to facts, you can fall into a kind of distortion: making the subject seem cold and abstract. If you lean too much toward the audience, you can start to create propaganda. And if you put to much emphasis on your own character and values, you will seem egotistical. Subject Logos Possible Distortion: Abstraction Audience Pathos Possible Distortion: Propaganda Speaker Ethos Possible Distortion: Egotism

34 Nicomathean Ethics

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