From Aristotle to Aquinas
Epicurus (341-270 B.C.) Epicureanism
Zeno of Citium (335-265 B.C.) Stoicism
- Test of truth is in the sensations; real world is material.
- Pain & pleasure=criteria for right & wrong, i.e., what causes pleasure is good; what
causes pain is evil.
- Belief that gods are mortal, material beings
- Soul is made of round fiery atoms
- There is no immortality
- For man, mental pleasure is superior to physical pleasure
- Pleasures should not be deliberately sought after, as too many pleasures lead to
- Virtue is necessary for happiness
- Happiness is an individual thing; hence, public life should be avoided.
- Knowledge built up inductively by generalizing sense
- Human reason is identical in essence to world reason that pervades material world &
gives it order.
- All things are animated by World Soul
- All finite souls come from World Soul
- Universe evolves through cycles each culminating in conflagration.
- Man's obligation is to live rationally & accept nature as orderly expression of World
Reason or Providence-submitting without complaint.
Philo Judaeus (c. 20 B.C.-40 A.D.)
- Tried to reconcile Law of Moses to philosophy
- Emphasized Logos or Rational Principle-the creative word of God, first-born son of
God, highest archangel, & high priest
- Allegorical interpretation of Genesis
- Regarded God as transcending human description
Philosophy & Rise of Christianity
- John 1:1-18 (Prologue to John's Gospel ): Logos (word) with God; Logos=God; was in
the world; all things made by Him; enlightens way of every man; became flesh &
dwelled among us.
- Acts 17:16-34: Paul on Mars Hill (Areopagus) at Athens:
(1) observed inscription on altar: "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD"; (2) proclaimed the truth about this God to the men of Athens;
(3) supported his case for God's existence with quotation from Greek philosopher:
"In whom we live and move and have our being"; (4) concluded with declaration of God's day of judgment as evident by fact of
- 1 Corinthians 1:17-25: Paul acknowledged that preaching of cross is "foolishness" to
Greeks, but countered with affirmation that (1) God's plan was that the world
would not come to know God by its own wisdom; (2) God was pleased to save
those who believe "through the foolishness of what was preached"; (3) to those
who are called-both Jews and Greeks-Christ is "the power of God" and the
"wisdom of God"; and, therefore, (4) "the foolishness of God" is "wiser than
- Colossians 2:8: "Paul warned his Christian readers to see to it that no one would take
them captive through "hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human
tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
- 1 Peter 3:15b: "Always be prepared to give an answer
(apologia) to everyone who asks you to give the reason (logos) for the hope
that you have."
- Clement of Alexandria (d. 216 A.D.): Philosophy is schoolmaster to bring the Greek mind to Christ
- Justin Martyr (Flavius Justinus) (105-165 A.D.)
- Tertullian (160-230) Christian apologist.
Famous quotation: "What is there in common between Athens and Jerusalem? What
between the Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians?"
- Origen (185-254 A.D.) Christian apologist. Renown
for his allegorical method of interpreting Scripture (as per Philo)
- Augustine (354-430 A.D.): City of God-an apologetic work
defending the Christians against charges that they were responsible for the
fall of the Roman Empire & dealing with numerous philosophical issues; Confessions--personal account of experimental religion;
Augustine opposed "free will" teaching of Pelagius.
- Anselm (1033-1189) Medieval scholastic.
Developed ontological proof for existence of God
- Aquinas (1225-1274) Medieval scholastic. Wrote
Summa Theologica--Roman Catholic systematic theology based on
Aristotelian thought. Distinguished between natural theology which
could be understood by reason, and revealed theology which could only
be understood by faith which transcended reason.