Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of by Jaroslav Pelikan

By Jaroslav Pelikan

Offers an account of the lives and writings of the Cappadocians, displaying how they controlled to be Greek and Christian while. Pelikan concentrates on 4 Cappadocians: Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Macrina, sister and instructor of the final .

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Additional info for Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism

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Nyss. Macr. 39 Ps 10:4; Rv 3:12 It is clear that the thought of the Cappadocians was by no means uniform in its treatment of the various aspects of Classical Greek culture. For although it is probably fair to say that some ambivalence characterized their attitude toward the whole of Classical culture, the ambivalence ranged across a wide spectrum, as they themselves acknowledged, from their positive view of the Greek tongue to their condemnation of other aspects of the Hellenic tradition. The opposite end of the spectrum from the Greek tongue was occupied by Greek religion, toward which their language was consistently harsh and their assessment uniformly negative.

What the subtitle of the entire book is calling "the metamorphosis of natural theology" is to be seen in the subtle and complex interactions of this natural theology as apologetics with this natural theology as presupposition. For in the Classical systems, natural theology tended to present itself primarily as an alternative—or even as an antidote—to the cultic practices and sacred narratives of traditional religious observance. Its principal expositors were not the official spokesmen for traditional observance, nor the priests of the cult, but lay philosophers and apologists, and sometimes opponents and critics who were skeptics or agnostics or even atheists.

Gent. " In this Nyssen was speaking from the personal and professional experience of having at one time "preferred to be called a professor of rhetoric rather than of Christianity," as Gregory of Nazianzus said of him. Thus also, according to Gregory of Nyssa, the young Basil had been "puffed up beyond measure with the pride of oratory," and it was none other than Macrina who eventually led him "toward the mark of 'philosophia,'" which was in this context a term not for technical Classical philosophy but for Christian asceticism.

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