This article examines the outlines of the epistemological theories of Aristotle and Gregory Nazianzen, which emphasized active, practical and embodied aspects of the process of intellection. It also investigates the notion of medium and the principle of likeness as the key-components of the epistemological thoughts of the both authors. Although the idea of inherent likeness tying together the agents of intellectual process (the subject and object of thought) was known since the Atomists and widely supported by Plato and other philosophers, it lied with Aristotle to identify the significance of thinking as active and embodied practice, which requires cooperation between the agents. Gregory transformed this “contact” theory of epistemology into a Christian understanding of theological thinking. Gregory also used Pauline idea of likeness and cooperation between men and God manifested in the pursuit of theological knowledge. Maximus the Confessor explained and elaborated Nazianzen’s epistemological thoughts through Aristotelian doctrine. Analysis of direct and indirect continuities between the theological and philosophical approaches to knowledge and the process of thinking shows that Christian creative reception involved not only re-thinking Hellenic philosophical terminology but also adjusting philosophical view of knowledge to the Christian theory and practice.
This study of the philosophical and patristic texts of the second–fifth centuries, explores Christian theories of reproduction in the context of Hellenic dualist discourse and embryology. I argue that due to the specific metaphysical principles of Christian doctrine, the church fathers were bound to balance the dualist lexicon, which they often used, with holistic anthropological and Christological statements. Patristic theories of reproduction represent a vivid example of the balanced Christian holistic thought, which imbibed plenty of Hellenic concepts, yet remained true to the fundamental principles of Christian doctrine.
This volume explores the long-standing tensions between such notions as soul and body, spirit and flesh, in the context of human immortality and bodily resurrection. The discussion revolves around late antique views on the resurrected human body and the relevant philosophical, medical and theological notions that formed the background for this topic. Soon after the issue of the divine-human body had been problematised by Christianity, it began to drift away from vast metaphysical deliberations into a sphere of more specialized bodily concepts, developed in ancient medicine and other natural sciences. To capture the main trends of this interdisciplinary dialogue, the contributions in this volume range from the 2nd to the 8th centuries CE, and discuss an array of figures and topics, including Justin, Origen, Bardais⋅an, and Gregory of Nyssa.
This series welcomes multidisciplinary research on the history of ancient and medieval anthropology broadly understood in terms of both its European heritage and its reception of, and engagement with, various cultural and intellectual traditions (e.g. in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic etc.). This series encourages multidisciplinary studies of the various philological, textual, and archeological sources concerned with the development of anthropological theories in ancient medicine, philosophy, religion, and theology, as well as the subsequent theoretical and practical interactions between these theories. Particularly welcome are studies that emphasise the fundamental connection between different philosophical, scientific, and socio-cultural contexts where anthropological theories were produced and applied, and that analyse the implications of these theories in ethical, ascetic, ecological, gender, and political life from classical Antiquity up to the Middle Ages. Attempts to understand human beings as biological, physiological, religious, and socio-cultural entities persisted from Antiquity and are echoed in the establishing of the complex and multifarious European identity. In grasping this cross-cultural and diversified process, one is able to see the foundations of contemporary scientific, religious, and political discourses that treat the human being and how humanity relates to the world.
The purpose of the volume is to explore how specific historical and socio-cultura conditions of late antiquity shaped the development of Christian thought.
The authors of the volume analyse various aspects of these conditions, particularly those of a textual and institutional nature, as they are reflected in the hermeneutic and philosophical principles of Christian discourse. This focus sheds new light on unexplored features of Christian literature, such as the influence of manuscript culture, early church institutions and practices, exegetical techniques, and philosophical curricula.