What was the Attitude of Most Christian Writers Toward the Philosophers of Ancient Greece

Near the end of the history of Rome, Rome left behind their previous pagan ways, and became a dominantly Christian civilization. Because of this people didn’t really need to follow the beliefs of the ancient Greeks, or Romans. Some people even began isolating themselves completely from the philosophies and views of the ancient Greek and Romans. So what was now the attitude of most Christian writers toward the philosophers of ancient Greece?

Well of course in this matter there were Christian writers who completely disregarded the Philosophers of ancient Greece. An example of a Christian writer who did disregard the philosophers of ancient Greece, was a writer named Tertullian. Tertullian is known for his quote: “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Of course this actually makes some sense, I mean what did they have in common. But the ironic thing was, that the people who disregarded and isolated themselves from the philosophies of the ancient Greek philosophers were the ones that most likely fell into heresy(error), Tertullian himself fell into this hole of heresy.

But there were many other Christian writers who had a more appreciative and open view toward the philosophers of ancient Greece. For example Justin Martyr(a Christian apologist), said that Christianity is the fulfillment of Greek philosophy, in other words Christ the fulfillment of Socrates. There were more  well known Christian figures who said similar things; for example Clement of Alexandria said that bits and pieces of Christianity can be found in the Greek’s writing. But also most importantly St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote a Parallel of Plato’s cave and Christianity. So clearly there were many important Christian writers and figures who had an open view on the Greek philosophers. Also for more proof on this Christian Monks copied and preserved the written works of these Greek philosophers, why would they copy those written works if they thought it was foolish and unimportant. So the majority of Christian writers had a more positive view towards the philosophers of ancient Greece, especially the philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. This does not mean that they didn’t disagree or disapprove of some of the philosophers or philosophies of ancient Greece.

The ancient Greek philosophers have left a pretty big impact on western civilization. Many of the early Christian writers and important figures knew and studied the philosophies of the Greeks. Some of these Christian writers chose to reject and isolate themselves from Greek philosophy, but there were many other early Christian writers who had a more positive and open view towards the philosophers of ancient Greece, proven above. So in conclusion the majority of Christian writers had a more positive and open attitude towards the ancient Greek philosophers and their philosophies. 

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s