Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Charles Wilson
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by Charles Wilson »

GakuseiDon wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:49 pmIt's only a matter of time before we find out that Christianity is compatible with quantum mechanics, and has been from the start.
That has, in principle, already been accomplished. A N Whitehead has supplied the "Container" for understanding Quantum Mechanics. The Physicist Henry Pierce Stapp has spent much of his Philosophical Life championing Whitehead's Process Philosophy, esp. found in Process and Reality. Whitehead knew and understood QM even though he died during QM's Infancy.

Charles Hartshorne has linked Process Philosophy to a Process Theology and Christian Philosophy has added Process Features to the idea of God in the Process of Becoming.

Whitehead was a Giant of the 20th Century, with contributions in Science, Logic and Philosophy. You could spend your entire life studying his Works and barely scratch the surface.

CW
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

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Giuseppe wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:56 am The glossolalia and the unforgivable blasphemy against the holy spirit make Christianity more a religion than a philosophy.
Plato came as close as one could imagine to the idea of an unforgiveable blasphemy in Laws where he says the most loathesome of humans are those who swear falsely by the gods, who deny the gods' existence, and that these persons, being incurable, deserved death.

As for tongues, Plato also declared that this experience was divine, the act of gods or muses speaking in poets for the edification of their hearers, though at other times he did not approve of it and spoke of music calming the mind to a sound state again. Not to be despised by philosophers, it would seem. Socrates himself was said in Plato's writings to have been authorized by the oracle of Apollo.

Plato's Laws is a treatise on the best forms of religious festivals, sacrifices, purifications of the soul, godly conduct, -- it could have been written by Moses or Paul and some of us have a sneaking suspicion that it did inspire some works or ideas written in the names of Moses and Paul.
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by Secret Alias »

Remember also the portrait of Peregrinus Proteus. Some question where or not Lucian is reporting an actual Christian because of his philosophical rooting. I tend to think it is a generally accurate portrait.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

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Secret Alias wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:00 am Remember also the portrait of Peregrinus Proteus. Some question where or not Lucian is reporting an actual Christian because of his philosophical rooting. I tend to think it is a generally accurate portrait.
Indeed. We think of philosophers sedately pacing through colonnaded vestibules addressing the most well-to-do, but Diogenes was determined to make a spectacle of himself with uncouth speech and lifestyle. I find it easier to imagine Christians winning followers by imitating the "popular philosophers" (Malherbe) of the day than trying to persuade others to join a new "religious cult".
davidmartin
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by davidmartin »

philosophers seem to have been a fringe bunch even if we see them as a high point of that civilization. it's disconnected from the reality on the ground the guts of this society (Roman) is pretty heavy duty politics and violence. the philosophers probably just ended up providing a cover for the barbarities of the state in the end. Christian philosophers were even more prepared to overlook this and sell themselves out to gain acceptance betraying primitive Christianity in the process. that's why their writings survive. If I see a corrupting influence why should i assume it was first, why not assume it was corrupting something earlier? It's far more logical to assume corruption will take something else and corrupt it than come up with an idea of it's own these dudes were late comers to the party and it shows by their paltry knowledge of the historical basis for their beliefs that is what is being questioned today - a lot of high minded talk but not much to go on in their writings. suspects to corrupting not originating
Charles Wilson
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by Charles Wilson »

Suetonius, 12 Caesars, "Vespasian":

He bore the frank language of his friends, the quips of pleaders, and the impudence of the philosophers with the greatest patience ...
***
Suetonius, 12 Caesars. "Domitian":

"He put to death many senators, among them several ex-consuls, including Civica Cerealis, at the very time when he was proconsul in Asia, Salvidienus Orfitus, Acilius Glabrio while he was in exile — these on the ground of plotting revolution, the rest on any charge, however trivial...Junius Rusticus, because he had published eulogies of Paetus Thrasea and Helvidius Priscus and called them the most upright of men; and on the occasion of this charge he banished all the philosophers from the city and from Italy..."

Methinks that the situations were a bit more complicated between the Philosophers and the Emperors than a cursory examination might give.

Good Philosophers: Helped in the Creation of the NT, being in the Roman Court. High Verbals. Worked with Priestly Survivors after 70.
Bad Philosophers: Critical of Vespasian and especially Domitian. Not a Resume Enhancer.

Y/N/M?
John2
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by John2 »

This all reminds me of what Galen supposedly said about Christians showing "such behavior as is adopted by philosophers."

Ibn Abi Usaibiah (d.1270) quoting an earlier writer, `Ubayd Allāh ibn Jibrā`īl:22

"...Evidence that Christ lived quite some time before Galen is contained in the following passage of Galen's commentary on Plato's "Republic." 'From this we may infer that the people called Christians derive their faith from signs and miracles. Also, sometimes, they show such behavior as is adopted by philosophers; for fearlessness of death and the hereafter is something we witness in them every day. The same is true of abstention from sexual intercourse. Some of them, both men and women, go their whole life without sexual intercourse. There are among them those who possess such a measure of self-control with regard to food and drink and who are so bent on justice, that they do not fall short of those who profess philosophy in truth.'


https://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/gale ... stians.htm
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by neilgodfrey »

Malherbe's Paul and the Popular Philosophers can be read online at https://archive.org/details/paulpopularphilo0000malh

Skimming it over once more I was reminded of how close to the ideals of ancient popular philosophers was the legend of Paul as a founder of churches and pastoral supervisor, continually exhorting his converts to follow his example and teaching. The early church custom of its bishops wearing special garb and distinctive hair-cuts appears to have derived directly from the ancient philosophers, too.

But if one is in any doubt about the sorts of topics discussed by ancient philosophers and how closely they might resemble the topics in the letters and gospels do read Plato's Laws. Recall, too, the influence oft noted of Socrates on the gospel narrative of Jesus's life and death.

As for the question of the historicity of the Jesus and Acts foundation stories, also see Plato's Laws and note the importance of creating a good myth to give the new laws and customs to be followed a "secure" foundation.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by StephenGoranson »

Some early Christians were philosophers. Yet Tertullian asked "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
(The term “philosopher” also has evolved.)

If a rough analogy might help. To call Hindu belief/practice/way of life/worldview religion or religions is already importing an outside term (and Latin being later than Sanskrit). But one way of considering this set is three paths:
Bhakti marga—devotion.
Karma marga—good deeds.
Jnana marga—knowing. (Cf. gnosis—3 etymologically related words.)
Of those three, the third may be called the most philosophic.
andrewcriddle
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Re: Were the Church Fathers 'Philosophers'?

Post by andrewcriddle »

perseusomega9 wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:06 am Notice how they're all converts too, we don't here of any second generation christians (kids) until the 3rd century.
In the Martyrdom Polycarp claims
Eighty and six years have I served Him [Christ], and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?
This seems to imply that Polycarp came from a Christian family,

Andrew Criddle
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