Conceiving God not to exist would be not conceiving God at all, as it would conceive a being less than perfect, which would not be God. [39] Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture, 2nd ed. The Nicene Creed lacks the filioque generally present in the West. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009), 75. The Orthodox Church, for example, denies the Augustinian idea of inherited guilt and the related Calvinist tenant of total depravity. Learn how and when to remove these template messages, "Christianity and Hellenistic philosophy", Learn how and when to remove this template message, A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Hebrew, Early Judaic, and Early Christian Thought, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Christianity_and_Hellenistic_philosophy&oldid=989280406, Articles needing additional references from December 2018, All articles needing additional references, Articles that may contain original research from October 2017, All articles that may contain original research, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Hellenistic Christianity. Commentary from Sir William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870, p. http://www.theaudiopedia.com What is HELLENISTIC JUDAISM? There is an emphasis on mystery within Orthodoxy that is often lacking in the West. [14] Ware, Orthodox Church, 225; see also Payton, 122-24. Icons and fasting periods are unique aspects of such communal worship. The phrase "Hellenic polytheism" is actually, much like the word "Pagan," an umbrella term. In addition, infants receive both confirmation and the Eucharist. [41], The Orthodox Church, with its resistance to both doctrinal and liturgical change, has subjected itself to the charge of being “an ossified relic of the Christian past.”[42] Far from being a dead institution, however, the Church has preserved a very early form of Christianity and stands as an ever-present witness to continuously modernizing Western churches. [18]  However, the “Orthodox Church is not as much given to making formal dogmatic definitions as the Roman Catholic Church.”[19], Consequently, expressions of its beliefs on such diverse matters as the Eucharist, the Sacraments, the afterlife, Mary, and a variety of other topics are found not primarily in confessions of faith but “in the prayers and hymns used at service.”[20] Indeed, “[t]hose who wish to know about Orthodoxy should not so much read books as…attend the Liturgy.”[21]. 20). [33] Fortescue, Orthodox Church, 229-32; Fairbairn, 146. When the Church later moved into new lands, it often maintained this lack of cultural diversity in a translated form. Philosophers took all the things that they considered good, Power, Love, Knowledge and Size, and posited that God was "infinite" in all these respects. [15], Instead, “Christ is the victor over death.”[16] Therefore, in Orthodox theology, there is no salvation apart from the resurrection. Hellenist definition is - a person living in Hellenistic times who was Greek in language, outlook, and way of life but was not Greek in ancestry; especially : a hellenized Jew. Fortescue, Orthodox Church, 152-54; Fairbairn, 15-16. Orthodoxy reflects an early Christianity with all its beauty and with all its faults. Anselm of Canterbury, a priest, monk, and philosopher defined God as the "Being than which no greater can be conceived." All animal products, oil, and wine are forbidden during these times. It held, in contrast to Nominalism, that things such as "green" and "big" were known as universals, which had a real existence in an abstract realm, as described by Plato. Because church lines have generally been synonymous with state lines, church membership was often as much a cultural marker as an expression of religious belief. Baptism, for example, is always performed by immersion, even on infants. Consequently, Hellenistic Christianity places great emphasis on the authority of councils of bishops, which the Church believes to be “the chief organ whereby God has chosen to guide his people…”[7] While all councils possess some level of authority, only ecumenical councils are considered infallible. The Hellenistic period begins formally with the arrival of Alex­ander the Great in the Near East in 334BCE, but this date is not the beginning of Greek influence in the region. Interestingly, the Orthodox Church holds that this “first among equals” position rightly belongs to the Pope. [8], The source of Orthodox authority is “Tradition”—to be distinguished from “traditions,” which are simply customary ways of doing things. They are a mixture, having spent their formative years in two cultures: their parents' home culture and their parents' place of service. Philo's blend of Judaism, Platonism, and Stoicism strongly influenced Christian Alexandrian writers such as Origen and Clement of Alexandria, as well as, in the Latin world, Ambrose of Milan. (Current notable autocephalous churches include those of Constantinople, Russia, Antioch, and Greece, among others. Once a church achieves “autocephalous” status, it operates entirely independently of any other church’s interference. I have also included a pdf copy of my paper below for those who prefer that format. Remaining currents of Hellenistic Judaism in all probability, as would be expected, merged into gnostic movements in the early centuries CE. Since God was perfect, any change would make him less than perfect, so they asserted that God was unchanging, or immutable. Contacts between the Orthodox Church and their Arab neighbors in the centuries preceding the rise of Islam, for example, demonstrate a failure to translate the Christian faith into a form palatable to Arab culture. [7] Ware, Orthodox Church, 15; see also Garvey, 32. [31] Ware, Orthodox Church, 77; Fairbairn, 145. HELLENISM, term generally used by historians to refer to the period from the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.E.) [25] Ibid., 275; see also Bartholomew, 86. [45] See, for example, Gustaf Aulén, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, trans. Is Christianity a predominantly Near Eastern or Hellenistic religion? Indeed, the Eastern Orthodox Church is Hellenistic because of its schisms. The Platonic concepts of realism, perfection and a god that defined as infinite thus became incorporated into Christian medieval philosophy. The ontological argument is a defining example of the fusion of Hebrew and Greek thought. Christian Hellenism — The Foundation of Western Culture. Christianity emerged 300 years after the conquests of … Orthodox territory then became officially isolated—after centuries of deteriorating relations—from the Latin West in 1054 with the Great Schism that separated the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.[30]. As a previous Roman Catholic critic has pointed out, “Their sumptuous ritual, gorgeous vestments, and exact rubrics all represent, not the first age, but the palmy days of the Byzantine Roman Empire.” Fortescue, Orthodox Church, 392-93. [5] While some bishops may hold special honor, all bishops are nonetheless equal.[6]. It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment. As Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, an increasing number of church leaders were educated in Greek philosophy. [15] Ware, Orthodox Church, 229; see also Payton, 98-99, 121-22; Fairbairn, 79-81. [40] Garvey, 34; see also Ware, Orthodox Church, 174-75. In contrast, the West was able to maintain relative unity for fifteen hundred years before Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Almost 200 years later, Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologiae, article 3, wrote succinctly: "By 'God', however, we mean some infinite good". [11] As Saint Athanasius wrote, “For, [Christ] was made man, that we might be made gods.”[12], As a result, the anthropology of Hellenistic Christianity differs from prevailing Western views. Acts 6:1 And in these ... /h/hellenistic.htm - 7k Google Scholar With reference to Hahn he further writes: ‘To be sure, Hellenistic Jewish Christianity was a mediating element between the Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christianity of Palestine and Hellenistic Gentile Christianity. Thus, the Christians could very well be unpopular, and they often were. It is the Hellenistic tension between the transient and the permanent, the temporal and the eternal. Justin Martyr was a key figure during this period who helped reconcile Hellenism with Christian teachings. For all its faults, it has persevered in the faith of its ancestors, both as an established church—as in Greece today—and as a persecuted church—as in the Soviet Union. Christianity and Hellenistic philosophies experienced complex interactions during the first to the fourth centuries. I Read more…, Spread the loveIn this post in my series “God and Man at Yale Divinity,” I share my paper on the Council of Chalcedon. Catholicism is the more moderate of the two, having retained obedience to the Church and its traditions as well as requiring … [1] While maintaining its Hellenistic foundations, Eastern Orthodoxy is an ethnically diverse group of independently governed churches. Concerning the Eucharist, while the Orthodox Church affirms the real presence of Christ in the elements, it eschews attempts to explain exactly how this happens. Photo by Saint-Petersburg Theological Academy is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. The ontological argument reflected the classical concept of "perfections". Martyr was an early apologist, explaining Christianity to this new Greek flock within their own system of philosophy. [11] Ware, Orthodox Church, 21; Payton, 132, 37-38; Fairbairn, 68-73. Stoicism and, particularly, Platonism were readily incorporated into Christian ethics and Christian theology. Hellenistic Christianity is notable for its combination of Greek philosophy, ethics and morality with Christian belief. 620).[2]. Hellenistic Christianity sees in the crucifixion a great triumph for Christ, rejecting the emphasis on the cross “as an act of satisfaction or substitution to propitiate the wrath of an angry Father” that became predominant in the West after Anselm of Canterbury in the eleventh century. Your email address will not be published. In Orthodox teaching, people cannot be united with God unless they become like God themselves. In those philosophies, Forms were the ideals of every object in the physical world, and objects in the physical world were merely shadows of those perfect forms. Therefore, the ecumenical nature of a council can only be determined after the fact. Prof. Jerry Dell Ehrlich in his book Plato's Gift to Christianity also lays out the importance of the Septuagint upon the Hellenistic world and upon Christianity. Plenty of texts from early Jewish and Christian history are currently entering translation or are being discovered, providing significant new historical context to the history of Christianity and its ideas. Clement of Alexandria, demonstrated Greek thought in writing, .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}, "Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ ... the philosophy of the Greeks ... contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human ... even upon those spiritual objects." They then concluded that God was omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent. 2 (1999). Icons are not merely decorative art. [30] Ibid., 4; Bartholomew, 8; Payton, 33. Christianity - Christianity - The early liturgy, the calendar, and the arts: St. Paul’s letters mention worship on the first day of the week. It was not until the fusion of Platonic and Aristotelian theology with Christianity that the concepts of strict omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence became commonplace. What is more intelligent is more perfect as regards intelligence, what is more beautiful is more perfect as regards beauty, and so forth. These churches together make up the modern Eastern Orthodox Church. Independence and autonomy are key features of the Orthodox churches. The Hellenization of Christianity was a complex interaction between Hellenistic philosophy and early Christianity during the first four centuries of the Common Era. What makes a council ecumenical, however, is not any particular trappings or procedures—though broad participation from across the entire Orthodox Church is generally a prerequisite—but whether the whole Church accepts its decrees. Elaine Ruth Fletcher, “Orthodox Leaders Closer to Unity,” Christianity Today, February 7, 2000, 30; see also Bartholomew, 6. [6] Ware, Orthodox Church, 14; Fairbairn, 31. [41] Ware, Orthodox Church, 174-75; Garvey, 34. [17], It seems strange that a Church that places so much emphasis on the authority of councils has not called an ecumenical council since 787, particularly considering that the Roman Church has called many in the intervening years—one as recent as the 1960s. Influences of Hellenistic Philosophy on Christianity [Here we have another account of the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on Christianity, from 1997 TA Mike Bone.] [34] See Bartholomew, 13; Payton, 38; Fortescue, Orthodox Church, 240; Fairbairn, 146. Christian engagement with Hellenistic philosophy is reported in the New Testament in Acts 17:18 describing the Apostle Paul's discussions with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. In essence, he argued that because God is, by definition, the being than which no greater can be conceived, and it is more perfect to exist than not to exist, God must exist. What does HELLENISTIC JUDAISM mean? Some elements of these philosophies … of Hellenistical. Tim Dowley (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), 366-68; see also Lamin Sanneh, Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 65. (Hellenism, of course, refers to the influence of ancient Greek philosophy and culture, which spread throughout the Mediterranean world after the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC.) Fasting also occupies an integral part of the Church’s communal liturgical cycle with a degree of rigor and asceticism generally lacking in the West. In particular, Martyr used the Greek concept of internal and external thought to illustrate Jesus Christ'… “We did not set out to discover Orthodoxy. Christian assimilation of Hellenistic philosophy was anticipated by Philo and other Greek-speaking Alexandrian Jews. What follows below is, with some minor modifications, a copy of my paper on Hellenistic Christianity. 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