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Early Christian attitudes towards philosophy 1.Greek philosophical schools. 2.Outright rejection of philosophy. 1.St. Paul. 2.Tertullian. 3.Philosophy.

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Presentation on theme: "Early Christian attitudes towards philosophy 1.Greek philosophical schools. 2.Outright rejection of philosophy. 1.St. Paul. 2.Tertullian. 3.Philosophy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Christian attitudes towards philosophy 1.Greek philosophical schools. 2.Outright rejection of philosophy. 1.St. Paul. 2.Tertullian. 3.Philosophy as the handmaid of theology. 1.Justin Martyr. 2.Clement of Alexandria.

2 Greek philosophical schools 1.Epicureans 2.Stoics 3.Platonists 4.Peripatetics 5.Skeptics Plato surrounded by his disciples. Mosaic in Pompei.

3 Neo-Platonic hierarchy of the divine world ‘The One’= High God Mind World Soul

4 St. Paul: the message of the cross vs. the wisdom of the world 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength. 26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-29)

5 Pagan caricature of the Christian God

6 Colossians 2: 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

7 Tertullian of Carthage ( ) Brought up as a pagan, studied law Father of church Latin Wrote numerous polemical, doctrinal and pastoral treatises, incl. Prescription Against the Heretics Left the church and joined the Montanist sect towards the end of his life His views about Greek philosophy.

8 Tertullian: I believe because it is absurd “The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed just because men feel ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible.” On the Flesh of Christ 5.

9 Justin Martyr ( ) His quest for the true teacher Opened a school of ‘Christian philosophy’ in Rome Wrote two apologies His views about Greek philosophy.

10 Christ surrounded by his disciples

11 Images of Plotinus & Christ compared

12 Christianity as the True Philosophy 3 rd c. Christian sarcophagus. Lateran Museum, Rome.

13 Clement of Alexandria ( ) Served as a head of the Alexandrian catechetical school ( ) Wrote Stromata (trans. Miscellaneous note) His views about philosophy

14 Postscriptum It is perhaps fortunate for the Church that Clement and Tertullian never met. If they had, or if the view of Clement and Origen had been propagated in Africa and Italy, the schism between East and West might have occurred in the third and not in the eleventh century. W. H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution, pp


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