Search results for: platonism-and-christian-thought-in-late-antiquity

Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity

Author : Taylor & Francis Group
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Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity examines the various ways in which Christian intellectuals engaged with Platonism both as a pagan competitor and as a source of philosophical material useful to the Christian faith. The chapters are united in their goal to explore transformations that took place in the reception and interaction process between Platonism and Christianity in this period. The contributions in this volume explore the reception of Platonic material in Christian thought, showing that the transmission of cultural content is always mediated, and ought to be studied as a transformative process by way of selection and interpretation. Some chapters also deal with various aspects of the wider discussion on how Platonic, and Hellenic, philosophy and early Christian thought related to each other, examining the differences and common ground between these traditions. Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity offers an insightful and broad ranging study on the subject, which will be of interest to students of both philosophy and theology in the Late Antique period, as well as anyone working on the reception and history of Platonic thought, and the development of Christian thought.

Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity

Author : Panagiotis G. Pavlos
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Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity examines the various ways in which Christian intellectuals engaged with Platonism both as a pagan competitor and as a source of philosophical material useful to the Christian faith. The chapters are united in their goal to explore transformations that took place in the reception and interaction process between Platonism and Christianity in this period. The contributions in this volume explore the reception of Platonic material in Christian thought, showing that the transmission of cultural content is always mediated, and ought to be studied as a transformative process by way of selection and interpretation. Some chapters also deal with various aspects of the wider discussion on how Platonic, and Hellenic, philosophy and early Christian thought related to each other, examining the differences and common ground between these traditions. Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity offers an insightful and broad ranging study on the subject, which will be of interest to students of both philosophy and theology in the Late Antique period, as well as anyone working on the reception and history of Platonic thought, and the development of Christian thought.

Platonism in Late Antiquity

Author : Stephen Gersh
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This collection of essays brings together the work of leading North American and European classics and patristic scholars. By emphasizing the common Platonic heritage of pagan philosophy and Christian theology, it reveals the range and continuity of the Platonic tradition in late antiquity. Some of the papers treat specific authors, and others the evolution of particular doctrines.

Aristotle and Early Christian Thought

Author : Mark Edwards
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In studies of early Christian thought, ‘philosophy’ is often a synonym for ‘Platonism’, or at most for ‘Platonism and Stoicism’. Nevertheless, it was Aristotle who, from the sixth century AD to the Italian Renaissance, was the dominant Greek voice in Christian, Muslim and Jewish philosophy. Aristotle and Early Christian Thought is the first book in English to give a synoptic account of the slow appropriation of Aristotelian thought in the Christian world from the second to the sixth century. Concentrating on the great theological topics – creation, the soul, the Trinity, and Christology – it makes full use of modern scholarship on the Peripatetic tradition after Aristotle, explaining the significance of Neoplatonism as a mediator of Aristotelian logic. While stressing the fidelity of Christian thinkers to biblical presuppositions which were not shared by the Greek schools, it also describes their attempts to overcome the pagan objections to biblical teachings by a consistent use of Aristotelian principles, and it follows their application of these principles to matters which lay outside the purview of Aristotle himself. This volume offers a valuable study not only for students of Christian theology in its formative years, but also for anyone seeking an introduction to the thought of Aristotle and its developments in Late Antiquity.

Christians and Platonists

Author : Theodore Sabo
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The Christians, Gnostics, and Platonists of late antiquity all shared that era’s dislike of matter and the body. The first part of this book looks at key words like ethos, aiōn, and saeculum. The second part investigates the Neoplatonists, the Platonists of late antiquity. In the writings of Plotinus and Porphyry, Iamblichus and Proclus, the dislike of matter and the body was boldly expressed. The third part shows that Gnosticism was second to none in its insistence that matter and the body were evil. It was elitist, suspicious of the political world, and often filled with an interest in magic and immorality. Simon Magus, Carpocrates, and Valentinus are only a few of the Gnostics who are considered. The last part discovers dislike of matter and the body in the early Christians, although with less consistency to their worldview. It was especially notable in the attempt of Origen and Arius to place God the Son at a lower metaphysical level than God the Father in order to protect God from the evil entity of matter. The desert fathers, the Arians, Ambrose, and Augustine are all included.

Philosophy in Late Antiquity

Author : Andrew Smith
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Philosophy in Late Antiquity provides an essential new introduction to the key ideas of the Neoplatonists, which affected approaches to Plato as late as the nineteenth century. Andrew Smith shows how they influenced Christian thought and his approach not only allows us to appreciate these philosophical ideas in their own right, but it also gives us significant insights into the mentality of the age which produced them.

Christians Gnostics and Philosophers in Late Antiquity

Author : Mark Edwards
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Gnosticism, Christianity and late antique philosophy are often studied separately; when studied together they are too often conflated. These articles set out to show that we misunderstand all three phenomena if we take either approach. We cannot interpret, or even identify, Christian Gnosticism without Platonic evidence; we may even discover that Gnosticism throws unexpected light on the Platonic imagination. At the same time, if we read writers like Origen simply as Christian Platonists, or bring Christians and philosophers together under the porous umbrella of "monotheism", we ignore fundamental features of both traditions. To grasp what made Christianity distinctive, we must look at the questions asked in the studies here, not merely what Christians appropriated but how it was appropriated. What did the pagan gods mean to a Christian poet of the fifth century? What did Paul quote when he thought he was quoting Greek poetry? What did Socrates mean to the Christians, and can we trust their memories when they appeal to lost fragments of the Presocratics? When pagans accuse the Christians of moral turpitude, do they know more or less about them than we do? What divides Augustine, the disenchanted Platonist, from his Neoplatonic contemporaries? And what God or gods await the Neoplatonist when he dies?

Aesthetic Themes in Pagan and Christian Neoplatonism

Author : Daniele Iozzia
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Whilst aesthetics as a discipline did not exist before the modern age, ancient philosophers give many insights about beauty and art. In Late Antiquity Plotinus confronted the problem of beauty and the value of the arts. Plotinus' reflections have an important role in the development of the concept of the value of artistic imagination during the Renaissance and the Romantic era, but he also influenced the artistic taste of his time. Aesthetic Themes in Pagan and Christian Neoplatonism reconstructs the aesthetic philosophical views of Late Antiquity, and their relation to artistic production of the time. By examining the resonance of Plotinus' thought with contemporary artists and with Christian thinkers, including Gregory of Nyssa, the book demonstrates the importance of Plotinus' treatise On Beauty for the development of late ancient aesthetics. The Cappadocian fathers' interest in Plotinus is explored, as well as the consequent legacy of the pagan thinker's philosophy within Christian thought, such as the concept of beauty and the narration of the contemplative experience. Uniquely utilising philological and philosophical insight, as well as exploring both pagan and Christian philosophy, Aesthetic Themes in Pagan and Christian Neoplatonism represents the first comprehensive synthesis of aesthetic thought of Late Antiquity.

The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Philosophy

Author : Mark Edwards
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This volume offers the most comprehensive survey available of the philosophical background to the works of early Christian writers and the development of early Christian doctrine. It examines how the same philosophical questions were approached by Christian and pagan thinkers; the philosophical element in Christian doctrines; the interaction of particular philosophies with Christian thought; and the constructive use of existing philosophies by all Christian thinkers of late antiquity. While most studies of ancient Christian writers and the development of early Christian doctrine make some reference to the philosophic background, this is often of an anecdotal character, and does not enable the reader to determine whether the likenesses are deep or superficial, or how pervasively one particular philosopher may have influenced Christian thought. This volume is designed to provide not only a body of facts more compendious than can be found elsewhere, but the contextual information which will enable readers to judge or clarify the statements that they encounter in works of more limited scope. With contributions by an international group of experts in both philosophy and Christian thought, this is an invaluable resource for scholars of early Christianity, Late Antiquity and ancient philosophy alike.

Image Word and God in the Early Christian Centuries

Author : Mark Edwards
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Christianity proclaims Christ and the incarnate word of God; the Bible is described as the Word of God in both Jewish and Christian tradition. Are these usages merely homonymous, or would the ancients have recognized a more intimate relation between the word incarnate and the word proclaimed? This book investigates the concept of logos in pagan, Jewish and Christian thought, with a view to elucidating the polyphonic functions which the word acquired when used in theological discourse. Edwards presents a survey of theological applications of the term Logos in Greek, Jewish and Christian thought from Plato to Augustine and Proclus. Special focus is placed on: the relation of words to images in representation of divine realm, the relation between the logos within (reason) and the logos without (speech) both in linguistics and in Christology, the relation between the incarnate Word and the written text, and the place of reason in the interpretation of revelation. Bringing together materials which are rarely synthesized in modern study, this book shows how Greek and biblical thought part company in their appraisal of the capacity of reason to grasp the nature of God, and how in consequence verbal revelation plays a more significant role in biblical teaching. Edwards shows how this entailed the rejection of images in Jewish and Christian thought, and how the manifestation in flesh of Christ as the living word of God compelled the church to reconsider both the relation of word to image and the interplay between the logos within and the written logos in the formulation of Christian doctrine.

Aristotle and Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity

Author : H. J. Blumenthal
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"H. J. Blumenthal is such an eminent scholar in the field of Neoplatonic Studies, and the scholarship exhibited by this book is so wide-ranging and impressive, that I would venture to say that this is the most important book on Neoplatonism to be published since Dominic O'Meara's Pythagoras Revived." —Steven Strange, Emory UniversityScholars have traditionally used the Aristotelian commentators as sources for lost philosophical works and occasionally also as aids to understanding Aristotle. In H. J. Blumenthal's view, however, the commentators often assumed that there was a Platonist philosophy to which not only they but Aristotle himself subscribed. Their expository writing usually expressed their versions of Neoplatonist philosophy. Blumenthal here places the commentators in their intellectual and historical contexts, identifies their philosophical views, and demonstrates their tendency to read Aristotle as if he were a member of their philosophical circle.This book focuses on the commentators' exposition of Aristotle's treatise De anima (On the Soul), because it is relatively well documented and because the concept of soul was so important in all Neoplatonic systems. Blumenthal explains how the Neoplatonizing of Aristotle's thought, as well as the widespread use of the commentators' works, influenced the understanding of Aristotle in both the Islamic and Judaeo-Christian traditions.H. J. Blumenthal is the author or coeditor of six previous books and is currently preparing a two-volume translation, with introduction and commentary, of Simplicius' Commentary on "De anima" for publication in Cornell's series Ancient Commentators on Aristotle.

Gnosticism Platonism and the Late Ancient World

Author : Kevin Corrigan
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This Festschrift contains essays on a broad range of topics that deal with Sethian, Valentinian and other early Christian thought, as well as with Platonism and Neoplatonism, including especially the interaction between Greek philosophy and Gnosticism in late antiquity.

Evagrius and Gregory

Author : Kevin Corrigan
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Evagrius of Pontus and Gregory of Nyssa have either been overlooked by philosophers and theologians in modern times, or overshadowed by their prominent friend and brother (respectively), Gregory Nazianzus and Basil the Great. Yet they are major figures in the development of Christian thought in late antiquity and their works express a unique combination of desert and urban spiritualities in the lived and somewhat turbulent experience of an entire age. They also provide a significant link between the great ancient thinkers of the past - Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Clement and others - and the birth and transmission of the early Medieval period - associated with Boethius, Cassian and Augustine. This book makes accessible, to a wide audience, the thought of Evagrius and Gregory on the mind, soul and body, in the context of ancient philosophy/theology and the Cappadocians generally. Corrigan argues that in these two figures we witness the birth of new forms of thought and science. Evagrius and Gregory are no mere receivers of a monolithic pagan and Christian tradition, but innovative, critical interpreters of the range and limits of cognitive psychology, the soul-body relation, reflexive self-knowledge, personal and human identity and the soul’s practical relation to goodness in the context of human experience and divine self-disclosure. This book provides a critical evaluation of their thought on these major issues and argues that in Evagrius and Gregory we see the important integration of many different concerns that later Christian thought was not always able to balance including: mysticism, asceticism, cognitive science, philosophy, and theology.

The History of Religious Imagination in Christian Platonism

Author : Christian Hengstermann
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This collection provides the first in-depth introduction to the theory of the religious imagination put forward by renowned philosopher Douglas Hedley, from his earliest essays to his principal writings. Featuring Hedley's inaugural lecture delivered at Cambridge University in 2018, the book sheds light on his robust concept of religious imagination as the chief power of the soul's knowledge of the Divine and reveals its importance in contemporary metaphysics, ethics and politics. Chapters trace the development of the religious imagination in Christian Platonism from Late Antiquity to British Romanticism, drawing on Origen, Henry More and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, before providing a survey of alternative contemporary versions of the concept as outlined by Karl Rahner, René Girard and William P. Alston, as well as within Indian philosophy. By bringing Christian Platonist thought into dialogue with contemporary philosophy and theology, the volume systematically reveals the relevance of Hedley's work to current debates in religious epistemology and metaphysics. It offers a comprehensive appraisal of the historical contribution of imagination to religious understanding and, as such, will be of great interest to philosophers, theologians and historians alike.

Christian Platonism

Author : Alexander J. B. Hampton
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Platonism has played a central role in Christianity and is essential to a deep understanding of the Christian theological tradition. At times, Platonism has constituted an essential philosophical and theological resource, furnishing Christianity with an intellectual framework that has played a key role in its early development, and in subsequent periods of renewal. Alternatively, it has been considered a compromising influence, conflicting with the faith's revelatory foundations and distorting its inherent message. In both cases the fundamental importance of Platonism, as a force which Christianity defined itself by and against, is clear. Written by an international team of scholars, this landmark volume examines the history of Christian Platonism from antiquity to the present day, covers key concepts, and engages issues such as the environment, natural science and materialism.

Divine Powers in Late Antiquity

Author : Anna Marmodoro
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Is power the essence of divinity, or are divine powers distinct from divine essence? Are they divine hypostases or are they divine attributes? Are powers such as omnipotence, omniscience, etc. modes of divine activity? How do they manifest? In which way can we apprehend them? Is there a multiplicity of gods whose powers fill the cosmos or is there only one God from whom all power(s) derive(s) and whose power(s) permeate(s) everything? These are questions that become central to philosophical and theological debates in Late Antiquity (roughly corresponding to the period 2nd to the 6th centuries). On the one hand, the Pagan Neoplatonic thinkers of this era postulate a complex hierarchy of gods, whose powers express the unlimited power of the ineffable One. On the other hand, Christians proclaim the existence of only one God, one divine power or one 'Lord of all powers'. Divided into two main sections, the first part of Divine Powers in Late Antiquity examines aspects of the notion of divine power as developed by the four major figures of Neoplatonism: Plotinus (c. 204-270), Porphyry (c. 234-305), Iamblichus (c.245-325), and Proclus (412-485). It focuses on an aspect of the notion of divine power that has been so far relatively neglected in the literature. Part two investigates the notion of divine power in early Christian authors, from the New Testament to the Alexandrian school (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius the Great) and, further, to the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa), as well as in some of these authors' sources (the Septuagint, Philo of Alexandria). The traditional view tends to overlook the fact that the Bible, particularly the New Testament, was at least as important as Platonic philosophical texts in the shaping of the early Christian thinking about the Church's doctrines. Whilst challenging the received interpretation by redressing the balance between the Bible and Greek philosophical texts, the essays in the second section of this book nevertheless argue for the philosophical value of early Christian reflections on the notion of divine power. The two groups of thinkers that each of the sections deal with (the Platonic-Pagan and the Christian one) share largely the same intellectual and cultural heritage; they are concerned with the same fundamental questions; and they often engage in more or less public philosophical and theological dialogue, directly influencing one another.

Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought

Author : Torstein Theodor Tollefsen
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An investigation into two basic concepts of ancient pagan and early Christian thought, activity and participation, through detailed discussion of the writings of Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas.

Eastern Christianity and Late Antique Philosophy

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The essays in Eastern Christianity and Late Antique Philosophy provide valuable insights into the central role of philosophical ideas in a period when paganism was in decline and Eastern Christians were forging their community identities.

A History of Mind and Body in Late Antiquity

Author : Anna Marmodoro
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The mind-body relation was at the forefront of philosophy and theology in late antiquity, a time of great intellectual innovation. This volume, the first integrated history of this important topic, explores ideas about mind and body during this period, considering both pagan and Christian thought about issues such as resurrection, incarnation and asceticism. A series of chapters presents cutting-edge research from multiple perspectives, including history, philosophy, classics and theology. Several chapters survey wider themes which provide context for detailed studies of the work of individual philosophers including Numenius, Pseudo-Dionysius, Damascius and Augustine. Wide-ranging and accessible, with translations given for all texts in the original language, this book will be essential for students and scholars of late antique thought, the history of religion and theology, and the philosophy of mind.

Eros in Neoplatonism and its Reception in Christian Philosophy

Author : Dimitrios A. Vasilakis
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Showing the ontological importance of eros within the philosophical systems inspired by Plato, Dimitrios A. Vasilakis examines the notion of eros in key texts of the Neoplatonic philosophers, Plotinus, Proclus, and the Church Father, Dionysius the Areopagite. Outlining the divergences and convergences between the three brings forward the core idea of love as deficiency in Plotinus and charts how this is transformed into plenitude in Proclus and Dionysius. Does Proclus diverge from Plotinus in his hierarchical scheme of eros? Is the Dionysian hierarchy to be identified with Proclus' classification of love? By analysing The Enneads, III.5, the Commentary on the First Alcibiades and the Divine Names side by side, Vasilakis uses a wealth of modern scholarship, including contemporary Greek literature to explore these questions, tracing a clear historical line between the three seminal late antique thinkers.