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Pop Rodica. For the Christian believer, the thought constructs belong to an inferior level of knowledge, any rational investigation being futile, because the mind, which is situated within the heart, discovers the truth directly and easily, and comes in communion with God. This is a fundamental theme of the mystical theology of the Eastern Church. Then, how comes that the great Christian theologians were interested in the profane philosophy, which deals with rationalization, defining, implementing ideas in discourse, troubling of the mind, therefore the act of thinking?

The fact that Christians treasure classic philosophy cannot be doubted, and a sign of this appreciation are the pictorial representations of some heathen Greek philosophers on the walls of orthodox churches. However, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Thucydides, Solon, Hippocrates — to name just a few — are painted and placed with great honor on the walls of the House of a God which they did not believe in, as they lived some hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.

Then, what would be the explanation? Love of Wisdom Here, a reference on what philosophy means to Plato — Socrates is imposed, as well as how it later came to become a single discourse. In The Banquet, The Defense of Socrates or Phaedo we notice that, where Plato is concerned, there is a cleavage between the philosophical discourse and the philosophical lifestyle, the latter determining the former.

Because philosophy is not an assimilation of knowledge, and it is neither the acquisition of a skill, as it is the capacity of discussing yourself. The oracle of Delphi says that Socrates is the wisest. III, Weil, Logique de la philosophie, Paris, , p. Knowledge — which the philosopher loves — is not the fact of knowing something or having information9 about something.

This is why Plato, in The Banquet, names philosophy love of wisdom. The unknowable can become knowable only through revelation, in ecstasy — is an idea from Scrisoare VII c-d, where we find out about the ultimate knowledge, which is the purpose of philosophical search. Also see Republica, b, Banchetul, a. Parmentier, La philosophie de Whitehead et le probleme de Dieu, Paris, , p.

Plato founded the Academy and wrote his Dialogues. In other words, that kind of philosophy that the Christians incriminate. Bios Philosophos Therefore, the old Greeks understood through philosophy the love of wisdom. But the Bible too is love of wisdom, so the Christian and the heathen philosophy had to be separated.

Ascetic life will be considered similar to the philosophical life11, bios philosophos, meaning life spent in retreatment, chastity, poverty, prayer, communion with God, but also the study of His teachings. Here is the essence of the six definitions: philosophy is 1. Knowledge of the nature of those who are; 2. Knowledge of the divine things unseen and human things seen ; 3.

Love of wisdom. Which means that the theoretical one concerns theology, the natural sciences and mathematics, and the practical one the ethics, economy and politics. Ioan I. Platonic Christians Platonism had a great influence on Christian theology, determining, up to a certain point, the thinking of the Holy Fathers In Alexandria, the main intellectual center of the Roman Empire, capital of Hellenism and Judaism, crossroads for Oriental wisdoms18, the interest for Plato exists even before this school was founded, especially from the Jews.

The Jews noticed a curious similarity between the doctrines of the Academy, whose validity could not be doubted, and the Law preached by Moses. But, as they were considering their Scriptures divine and sufficient, it went without saying that the authorship of the dogmas rested with Moses and not with Plato.

The latter was almost accused of plagiarism. Philo of Alexandria 20 B. Nygren and the Roman Catholic A. Manual sistematic,vol. I, Editura Deisis, Sibiu, , p. It was an attempt of finding Plato in the Law and the Law in Plato The Christian theologians have always been fascinated with the Philonian thinking because he showed that, to the greatest extent, the Greek notions were inapplicable to the spirit of Judaism and, as such, they had to be resignified in relation to the depths revealed by the allegorical meaning of the biblical text.

The practice of philosophy was not prohibited in a fanatic and undifferentiated way. But history proved that philosophy can be a dangerous and rich source of heresies.

On the other side, the faithful ones were in danger because they abused this pleasure of the mind. Nor is the word, given for investigation, to be committed to those who have been reared in the arts of all kinds of words, and in the power of inflated attempts at proof, whose minds are already pre- occupied, and have not been previously emptied. Clement of Alexandria also says in the Stromatas23 that this work is a kind of diary, a collection of the ideas and thoughts of the wisest predecessors, from whom he acquired knowledge.

He shows great precaution in what he is about to relate, this source, for he was very learned, as also Pythagoras, who transferred many things from our books to his own system of doctrines. Evang, XIII, I, We could say that Saint Clement of Alexandria brings a true eulogy to Greek philosophy which, however, he compares to a nut that is not entirely edible Further, the juxtaposition of doctrines, by comparison, saves the truth, from which follows knowledge.

In his turn, Origen knew how to obtain a balance between his sympathy for philosophy and his option for theology. Saint Clement insists a lot in his book on the advantages of learning philosophy with caution.

V, VI, II, Because the spreading and the success the heresies recorded, as well as the conflict with various non-Christian systems, forced the Church Fathers to use a discourse based on an established terminology, but also to specify their relation with the Greek thinking Therefore, Christianity could not ignore the classical philosophical language to structure its own teachings. It must be specified that the Church Fathers have studied in philosophical schools in Athens, as in the case of Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, or in Antioch, as in the case of Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom, which is something that cannot be overlooked.

They had gained, therefore, the necessary tools to face confrontations of ideas which took various forms32, from simple polemics, to public manifestations and even street fights. The great theological construction occurs thanks to the philosophical inheritance, and it is on its field.

Besides, we can talk about a mutual favor that the Greek philosophy and the Christian theology do to each other. It is the chance of the Greek philosophy to refresh itself, to begin a new history by infiltrating the structures of the new faith, while Christianity fulfills its historical destiny through Greek philosophy and through the recovery of the old culture that was in dissolution.

Christianity is not only religion, but it is a dogmatic crossroads with philosophy. In brief, Christianity redefines Greek philosophy, gives a new interpretation to the classical thinking. Philosophy becomes a common good for Heathens and Christians, the latter understanding and being tributary to the classic philosophy in two aspects: philosophy offered the tools of discourse, the terminology, the concepts, the science of debate and reasoning; philosophers offered ideas, ways of understanding and knowing certain aspects or things.

Orthodoxy is the Greek conception of Christianity. It is passionate about dialogue up to heresy. Such debates take place on the street, in the public bath, in the church. Therefore, we easily understand why in this society that is so passionate about theology, the pleasure of philosophizing ends up being considered an impiety Heresies contained elements of ancient Greek philosophy. Each heresy represented a new occasion to control and fix the theological doctrines.

Yet, theologians risked by using the same Greek way to philosophize — as the heretics — and succeeded in making use of the elements of truth from the ancient thinking to support the exposure of the Christian truth. Thus, the Church Fathers made possible the synthesis between the ancient philosophy and the Christian experience of the world, synthesis that we now call theology A proper discourse was necessary to efficiently combat the heresies Greek philosophy offered theologians terms, thematic, and even the logical structure to build the essential message.

We are not mistaken if we say that the heresies have been the engine in building the Christian discourse, because they forced the research, the study and then the elaboration of the theological doctrines. What is important and concerns us is the fact that there is a constant and visible call to philosophy, because both sides that are trained in this polemic make the effort to present a rational explanation of the supported doctrine.

The master of Christian mysticism of platonic origin is Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite the 6th century , valued exceptionally by Maximus the Confessor the 6th century. Thus, Plato proves to be, according to the words of a Byzantine from the 11th century, Michael Psellus, a prophet of Christianity.

To Psellus, the Greek philosophy only reveals to the man the order that nature follows under the divine action. What Plato names idea, to Psellus is only the first notion after which God creates the world.

We notice this aspect even in the 14th century, when the great hesychast controversy takes place. Here, we are only interested to show the way in which each group perceived the debated issue, to reveal the dominant philosophical attitude and understand its interest. Uspenski is right, because, as Emile Brehier says, the Palamite doctrine about the uncreated light which emanates from God and sets the connection between the hesychast and God, is the supreme manifestation of the platonic emanatism Barlaam, indignant of the hesychast claim to see the uncreated light, says that any being that can be seen is created; the Tabor light is created and descriptive, and it is not different from the light that we perceive through senses.

Another problem that Barlaam could not accept is that of the method of prayer practiced by Gregory Palamas, who believes that the body is the temple of the soul, and the road to God is the one that goes through the mind. According to Palamas, the place of the mind would be within the body, more exactly, within the heart, and according to Barlaam, outside the body.

Thus, Barlaam proves that the arguments he needs must be based on reason; he considers any tendency towards mysticism a mistake. Only then, says Palamas, light fills our heart, the true man sees the unseen and completely enters the miracle. The Christian thinking intertwines with the Socratic thinking in the point when both address the invitation of knowing the dignity of human nature and building our entire life on it, but only through love and by having a theocentric vision.

Bibliography Bigg, Ch. I, , p. Related Papers. By Ignat Adrian.


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