Christian philosophy

Christian philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.

Hellenistic philosophy and early Christian philosophy

Hellenism is the traditional designation for the Greek culture of the Roman Empire in the days of Jesus, Paul, and for centuries after. Classical philosophies of the Greeks had already expired and diluted beyond recognition except for small bands of continuators of the traditions of the Pythagoreans, of Plato, and Aristotle (whose library was lost for centuries). The new philosophies of the Hellenistic world were those of the Cynics, Skeptics, and increasingly the Stoics. Gradually a more integral and rounded tendency emerged within Hellenism, but also in certain respects in opposition at times to it in regard to one philosophical problem or another, or an ensemble of problems. Thinkers most closely associated with Hellenistic Christian philosophies are:

  • Justin Martyr: Christian apologist and philosopher whose work often focused on the doctrine of the Logos and argued that many Stoic and Platonic philosophical ideas were similar to ideas in the Old Testament
  • Tertullian: Tertullian was a philosopher before he converted to Christianity; after that change of direction he remained a prolific writer in the second century A.D., and is commonly called the "Father of the Western Church." He was the first church father to use the term Trinitas in reference to the Godhead and developed the doctrine of traducianism, or the idea that the soul was inherited from the parents, the idea that God had corporeal (although not fleshly) existence, and the doctrine of the authority of the gospels. He fought voraciously against Marcionism, and considered Greek philosophy to be incompatible with Christian wisdom. Toward the end of his life, he joined the heterodox sect of Montanism, and thus has not been canonized by the Catholic Church.
  • Irenaeus of Lyons: Irenaeus is best known for his writings arguing for the unity of God, and against Gnosticism. He argued that original sin is latent in humanity, and that it was by Jesus' incarnation as a man that he "undid" the original sin of Adam, thus sanctifying life for all mankind. Irenaeus maintained the view that Christ is the Teacher of the human race through whom wisdom would be made accessible to all.
  • Clement of Alexandria: Theologian and apologist who wrote on Greek philosophy, using ideas from pagan literature, Stoic and Platonic philosophy, and Gnosticism to argue for Christianity
  • Origen: Origen was influential in integrating elements of Platonism into Christianity. He incorporated Platonic idealism into his conceptions of the Logos, and the two churches, one ideal and one real. He also held a strongly Platonic view of God, describing him as the perfect, incorporeal ideal. He was later declared a heretic for subscribing to the "too Platonistic" doctrine of the preexistence of the soul. Despite this, Origen is a Church Father[1][2][3][4] and is widely regarded as one of the most important Christian theologians of all time.[5]
  • Augustine of Hippo: Augustine developed classical Christian philosophy, and the whole of Western thought, largely by synthesizing Hebrew and Greek thought. He drew particularly from Plato, the Neoplatonism of Plotinus, and Stoicism, which he altered and refined in light of divine revelation of Christian teaching and the Scriptures. Augustine wrote extensively on many religious and philosophical topics; he employed an allegorical method of reading the Bible, further developed the doctrine of hell as endless punishment, original sin as inherited guilt, divine grace as the necessary remedy for original sin, baptismal regeneration and consequently infant baptism, inner experience and the concept of "self", the moral necessity of human free will, and individual election to salvation by eternal predestination. He has been a major influence in the development of Western theology and his thought, and in particular his works, City of God and Confessions, laid the foundations for Western Philosophy, influencing many of philosophers and making him one of the most influential figures in the history of philosophy.
  • Athanasius of Alexandria: father of trinitarian orthodoxy involved in the formation of the Nicene Creed, who vehemently opposed Arius, the bishop of Alexandria who held that Christ was a created being, and his following.
  • Dioscorus of Aphrodito
  • Gaius Marius Victorinus
  • Nemesius
  • John Chrysostom
  • Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
  • The Cappadocian Fathers: Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil the Great.

Medieval Christian philosophy

Renaissance and Reformation Christian philosophy

  • Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) preacher, theologian, and church court operative.
  • Francis Bacon English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author.
  • Jean Bodin (1530–1596) French legal scholar and political philosopher, he wrote widely in a number of areas
  • Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) not a philosopher strictly speaking; indeed, he wrote excoriatingly about philosophers. He consolidated the space of Humanism in the late Medieval scholarship of letters, and came to represent its acme. He was a leader of the development of the humanities into a department of European scholarly activities. He bent his studies to recovery and exegesis of the Hebrew Bible's ancient languages and began building the first critical text, and the New Testament became a formal scholarly text. He wrote about issues relevant to the Catholic Church. He spent six years in an Augustinian monastery; he was a joyful satirist; and became most famous for his book The Praise of Folly.
  • Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) his early work on the law of the seas was outdistanced by On the law of war and peace (1625).
  • Martin Luther (1483–1546) not strictly a philosopher, he knew something of William of Occam and nominalist epistemology from an earlier era of European thought. He had also studied some philosophical materials of Augustine of Hippo, and did not follow Thomas Aquinas. Luther followed Erasmus in developing a critical text of the Biblical manuscripts.
  • John Calvin (1509–1564) dogmatician (systematic theology), as exhibited in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, and an exegete who over time translated the Bible from the "original languages" in the form of his grand series of Commentaries on all but one of its books (the Book of Revelation, which provided a problem to him in its metaphory, not yielding robustly to his binomial formula of letter and spirit: either literal, or figurative). He courageously tried to avoid allegorizing, which had had a long history ever since Philo of Alexandria had interpreted the Pentateuch in an allegorical fashion that de-literalized and over-metaphorized (into symbolic systems) many passages of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible (now and developingly a critical text itself). Calvin tried to distance himself from the allegorical method of Christian interpretation of the Bible, attempted distance certainly from the method's primacy, while facing in the Gospels "the parabolic message of the Cross" (Leon Morris, etc.). Not strictly a philosopher, he had a major impact on the quest for a Protestant philosophy (see Jacob Klapwijk, "John Calvin" in the volume he edited with Griffioen and Groenewoud, Bringing into Captivity Every Thought (Eng trans 1991; pp 241–266)). Calvin's seed begat Reformational philosophy 450 years after he planted it.
  • Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) influential Italian humanist philosopher who revived Neoplatonism and was a leader in the Renaissance; translated all of Plato's and Plotinus' works into Latin, as well as many Neoplatonic authors and the Corpus Hermeticum. He also wrote many commentaries on Plato and Christian authors as Pseudo Dyonisius.
  • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) Italian philosopher who was a major figure in the Renaissance; at the age of 23 he proposed 900 theses on religion, natural philosophy and magic, writing the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which was a central text in Renaissance humanism and has been called the movement's manifesto
  • Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) leading Reformer who was influenced by a party in his church congregation to de-metaphorize the understanding of the Lord's Supper into a memorial only (no real presence, and no communion of saints, therefore no eschatological community of saints composed of the believers at the Communion Table).

In most cases, these writers reference something in an earlier philosopher, without adding to the ongoing problem-historical shape of Western philosophical knowledge. Between Calvin, and Arminius, born four years before Calvin's death, a Protestant scholasticism took from various loci and authorities of the Western Middle Ages. It begins already with Luther's colleague Philip Melanchthon, who turned from Luther's sola Scriptura to philosophical theology; but Protestant Scholasticism's Reformed variants are diverse. There were no real alternatives until Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven in the last century.

Modern Christian philosophy

17th century

  • Thomas Browne (1605–1682) English philosopher and scientist who also made contributions to the field of medicine
  • Joseph Butler (1692–1752) English bishop, theologian, apologist and philosopher who offered critiques of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and influenced figures such as David Hume, Thomas Reid, and Adam Smith
  • Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) Italian philosopher, physicist, mathematician, and astronomer who played a central role in the Scientific Revolution, controversially advocating heliocentrism, leading to the Galileo Affair, he also wrote about the relationship between science and religion; often labelled "The Father of Modern Science"
  • Joseph Glanvill (1636–1680) English philosopher, writer, and clergyman who was a major apologist for natural philosophy, although he was not himself a scientist
  • John Locke (1632–1704) Extremely influential political philosopher often dubbed "The Father of Classical Liberalism"; many of his philosophical concepts were developed from his religious beliefs, which included his development of the social contract theory. He also wrote an apology entitled The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695).
  • Nicolas Malebranche (1638–1715) French rationalist philosopher best known for his ideas of occasionalism and Vision in God; he drew heavily from the work of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas
  • Isaac Newton (1642–1727) English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian who was one of the leading figures of the Scientific Revolution, he wrote often about religious and theological issues; authored Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica; considered by some to be the most influential scientist of all-time.
  • Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) French mathematician, physicist, inventor, and philosopher who wrote widely on religion and Catholic theology. Pensées Considered a masterpiece of theological thought and Will Durant hailed it as "the most eloquent book in French prose." Also developed Pascal's Wager to argue for belief in Christianity.
  • Antoine Augustin Calmet 1672–1757) French Black Monk scholar of the Order of Saint Benedict who wrote many religious works including the famous Treatise on the Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires or Revenants that used a scientific approach when looking into pre-modern cases of witchcraft, vampires, superstitious beliefs and various other topics of the occult. He delved into the use of the scientific method, biology, psychology, chemistry, etymology and investigated the history of various legends of folklore to determine whether a claim of hauntings, apparitions or magic were truth or fraud.

18th century

  • George Berkeley Influential Anglo-Irish philosopher who developed the theory of subjective idealism and who wrote prolifically in a number of areas, such as metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mathematics
  • Johann Gottfried Herder, German philosopher, theologian, and literary critics who was associated with the Sturm und Drang and Weimar Classicism
  • Francis Hutcheson, Scottish philosopher who was an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment and is associated with empiricism
  • Immanuel Kant, although he 'reinterpreted' basic Christian doctrines and was extremely unorthodox, he also praised Christ as the affirmation of a "pure moral disposition of the heart" that "can make man well-pleasing to God" while trying to establish what many see as a rational core of Christian belief.[6][7] He was also considered a sophisticated apologist for Christianity by philosophers such as Nietzsche.[8]
  • William Paley
  • Joseph Priestley
  • Thomas Reid (1710–1796) One of the great Scottish theologians and philosophers of his time.
  • Karl Leonhard Reinhold
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau a Genevan philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism early in life and returned to the austere Calvinism as part of his moral reform.[9]

19th and early 20th century

Contemporary philosophy

  • William J. Abraham, Irish philosopher, theologian, and United Methodist pastor teaching at Southern Methodist University, known for his contributions to the philosophy of religion and religious epistemology
  • Marilyn McCord Adams, philosopher of religion and philosophical theologian who is also a leading authority on medieval philosophy
  • Robert Merrihew Adams, analytic philosopher specializing in metaphysics, morality, and the philosophy of religion who taught at Yale, UCLA, and Oxford; husband of Marilyn McCord Adams (see directly above)
  • Diogenes Allen, philosopher of religion who spent most of his career at Princeton Theological Seminary
  • William Alston, leading figure in Reformed epistemology who specializes in the philosophy of language and epistemology
  • Rubem Alves, philosopher, psychoanalyst, and theologian
  • Robert Audi, philosopher whose work focuses on epistemology and ethics who has also written on the relationship between church and state
  • C. Anthony Anderson, philosopher who specializes in the philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, and philosophy of logic
  • G. E. M. Anscombe, British analytic philosopher who was a close friend and student of Ludwig Wittgenstein; influential in the fields of the philosophy of logic, philosophy of action, and philosophy of the mind, and ethics, writing from the perspective of Analytical Thomism
  • Craig Bartholomew, philosopher dealing with biblical hermeneutics, postmodernism, and deconstruction
  • Francis Beckwith, social philosopher and ethicist
  • Daniel Bonevac, logician at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Jay Budziszewski, a political philosopher at the University of Texas at Austin who develops the natural law ethical tradition.
  • Frederick Buechner, American writer, theologian and minister
  • Maxence Caron, French writer, poet, philosopher, and musicologist
  • John D. Caputo: American Catholic deconstructionist theologian; most famous for his development of weak theology
  • Gordon Clark, American Calvinist philosopher, polemicist, and staunch defender of Platonic realism. He developed a strictly rationalist variety of presuppositional apologetics in contrast to Van Til's fideistic approach.
  • Stephen R. L. Clark, British philosopher of religion who also wrote extensively on animals and applied philosophy
  • Sarah Coakley, Anglican philosopher of religion and systematic theologian who has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, and Lancaster University
  • Paul Copan, professor of philosophy at Palm Beach Atlantic University currently holding the Pledger Family Endowed Chair of Philosophy and Ethics as well as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society
  • Robin Collins, expert in philosophy of science. He is thought be the leading expert on the teleological argument. He is a professor of philosophy at Messiah College. He is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Faithful Research
  • William Lane Craig, Evangelical apologist, philosopher and theologian; frequently participates in debate on topics related to Christianity and theism. He is known especially for his methodical presentation as well as his articulation and defense of the kalam cosmological argument.
  • Keith DeRose, philosopher of language and epistemologist at Yale University.
  • Herman Dooyeweerd, Reformational philosopher and legal scholar; brother-in-law of D.H. Th. Vollenhoven
  • Terry Eagleton, not a philosopher by vocation, he is a leading British literary critic and important figure in contemporary social philosophy, often addressing religious issues from a Christian Marxist perspective
  • C. Stephen Evans, American historian and philosopher teaching at Baylor University
  • Jacques Ellul, French philosopher, legal scholar, sociologist, and legal scholar who was a leading Christian anarchist who wrote prolifically on topics such as technology, propaganda, and justice
  • John Frame, American Calvinist philosopher focused in the areas of epistemology and ethics
  • Étienne Gilson, who wrote The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy, The Spirit of Thomism, Being and Some Philosophers, and many other works. In the field of Thomism he is considered one of the main figures credited with starting the movement within Thomism known as Existential Thomism, which emphasis the primacy of the act of Being (Esse) in understanding everything else that is.
  • René Girard, French philosopher of social science, anthropologist, historian and literary critic who developed the idea of mimetic desire and wrote on scapegoating, reinterpreting the atonement as a mechanism for overcoming human violence and the sacrifice system
  • Juozas Girnius, Lithuanian existentialist philosopher
  • Shawn Graves, American philosopher who specializes in epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of religion.
  • Robert Kane, philosopher who works on free will, now emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, who is also a Catholic
  • Anthony Kenny, English philosopher specializing in the philosophy of the mind, philosophy of religion, and the history of philosophy; leading figure in Analytical Thomism
  • Luigi Giussani, Italian priest of 1922-2005, who wrote the Why the Church?
  • David Bentley Hart, American Eastern Orthodox philosopher and philosophical theologian who is most well known for his writings on metaphysics, aesthetics, and Christian apologetics. He is a proponent of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.
  • William Hasker, American philosopher who specializing in philosophy of the mind, writing extensively on the mind-body problem and arguing for emergentism, former editor of the journal Faith and Philosophy; advocates for open theism
  • Robert Koons, metaphysician at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Peter Kreeft, American Catholic philosopher and Christian apologist at Boston College
  • Roel Kuiper, Dutch historian and philosopher who is part of the Reformational philosophy movement
  • Jon Kvanvig, epistemologist at Baylor University
  • John Lennox, mathematician and philosopher of science
  • Knud Ejler Løgstrup, Danish philosopher of religion who wrote widely in the area of ethics, metaphysics, and phenomenology
  • Bernard Lonergan, Canadian Jesuit. The Lonergan Institute specializes in his works, while The Lonergan Review is an academic journal which is dedicated to researching and expanding upon his thought.
  • Aleksei Losev, Russian philosopher, philologist, and culturologist who was a leading figure in 20th-century philosophical and religious thought
  • J.P. Moreland, American philosopher, apologist, and theologian
  • Alasdair MacIntyre, Scottish ethicist and political philosopher whose works After Virtue and Whose Justice? Which Rationality? have been massively-influential in modern ethics; notable advocate of virtue ethics; argues from a Thomistic perspective
  • John Macquarrie, Scottish theologian and philosopher who was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century Anglicanism
  • Gabriel Marcel, French existentialist philosopher and playwright who wrote on metaphysics, ontology, and ethics
  • Jean-Luc Marion, French postmodern philosopher who specializes in phenomenology and philosophical theology
  • Jacques Maritain, French philosopher in the Thomistic tradition
  • Trenton Merricks, renowned metaphysician at the University of Virginia
  • Paul Moser, American philosopher focusing on the philosophy of religion and epistemology
  • Nancey Murphy, philosopher of science who has written extensively on postmodernism and currently teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Ronald H. Nash, Reformed Christian philosopher specializing in the area of world view apologetics, history, and economics.
  • Tim O'Connor, metaphysician at the Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Thomas Jay Oord, theologian and philosopher of religion who is a leading advocate of open theism, and writes on topics such as the relationship between science and religion and postmodernism
  • Jean-Michel Oughourlian French philosopher, psychologist and neuropsychiatrist has worked with René Girard, further developing a mimetic theory of desire and its religious implications
  • Pope John Paul II, wrote Fides et Ratio, as well as Love and Responsibility and other works in Thomistic phenomenology
  • Josef Pieper, German Catholic philosopher whose work concentrates particularly on Plato and Thomas Aquinas
  • Alvin Plantinga, moderately Calvinist American philosopher, one of the key figures in the movement of Reformed epistemology, which synthesizes Analytical Philosophy and Christian philosophical concerns. He is professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame.
  • Michael Polanyi, Hungarian-British polymath and brother of Karl Polanyi
  • Vern Poythress, Calvinist philosopher and New Testament scholar who advocates multiperspectivalism and specializes in the philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, linguistics, and hermeneutics
  • Stephen G. Post, American ethicist and interdisciplinary scholar specializing in the study of altruism, bioethics, and compassion
  • Alex Pruss, metaphysician at Baylor University
  • Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), whose Introduction to Christianity provides a highly metaphysical argument for the existence of God from the intelligibility of being qua thought ("thought-being")
  • Michael C. Rea, analytic philosopher specializing in metaphysics and the philosophy of religion who teaches at the University of Notre Dame
  • Paul Ricoeur, philosopher who wrote written widely in the areas of hermeneutics, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of language
  • Hans Rookmaaker, philosopher specializing in art theory, art history, and music; friend of Francis Schaeffer
  • Peter Rollins, Irish philosopher whose work brings together the deconstruction of Jacques Derrida, the "religious turn" of recent works by Slavoj Zizek, and traditions of apophatic theology within Christian mysticism.
  • Francis Schaeffer, pastor, philosopher and theologian who founded the L'Abri community in Switzerland and was a major influence in conservative evangelicalism
  • Egbert Schuurman, leading philosopher of technology who actively espouses a Christian philosophical approach
  • Robert Spaemann, German Roman Catholic philosopher
  • Holmes Rolston III, American philosopher dealing with environmental ethics and the relationship between science and religion
  • Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, German historian and social philosopher
  • Roger Scruton, English philosopher and professor
  • Pope Shenouda III, (b. Nazeer Gayed, 1923) Pope of Alexandria (1971–2012), has written on almost every aspect of Oriental Orthodox Christianity. Has pioneered Christian ecumenism and written over 150 books on many topics including theology, dogma, comparative theology, spiritual theology, and church history.
  • Melville Y. Stewart, editor, author of books in philosophy of religion, and a Series on Science and Religion including a 2-volume set in English, Science and Religion in Dialogue, 科学与宗教 (5-volume Series in Chinese), Наука и Религия в Диалоге (4-volume Series in Russian). Visiting Philosopher at various universities in China.
  • James K.A. Smith, Canadian-American philosopher who draws on three different traditions of Christian thought (Pentecostalism, Calvinism, and Radical Orthodoxy) in dialogue with deconstruction and phenomenology to create practical works for broad, general audiences
  • Brendan Sweetman, Irish philosopher of religion
  • Richard Swinburne, British philosopher of religion
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and philosopher; won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Peter van Inwagen, metaphysician who is one of the leading figures in contemporary philosophy of religion, teaching at the University of Notre Dame
  • Charles Taylor, Canadian political philosopher, philosopher of social science and social theorist
  • Charles Taliaferro, an expert in the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of mind. He is a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College and a senior research fellow at the Institute for Faithful Research
  • Paul Tillich, Rather than beginning his philosophical work with questions of God or gods, Tillich began with a "phenomenology of the Holy." His basic thesis is that religion is Ultimate Concern. What a person is Ultimately Concerned with in regard to their Ultimate meaning and being can be understood as religion because, "There is nobody to whom nothing is sacred because no one can rid themselves of their humanity no matter how desperately they may try" (Young-Ho Chun, Tillich and Religion, 1998, pg. 14.
  • Denys Turner, British philosopher and theologian teaching at Yale University whose work focuses on political philosophy, social theory, and mystical theology
  • Nick Trakakis, Australian philosopher who specializes in the philosophy of religion and theodicy
  • Bas Van Fraassen, world-renowned philosopher of science, who is also a Catholic
  • Cornelius Van Til, Dutch-American Calvinist philosopher, who contributed especially in epistemology and developed one variety of philosophical apologetics known as presuppositional apologetics.
  • Gregory Vlastos, philosopher specializes in ancient philosophy
  • D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, Vollenhoven's Calvinism and the Reformation of Philosophy (Dutch, 1933) launched a philosophical movement that, after the massive re-inforcing effect of his brother-in-law Herman Dooyeweerd's first trilogy, Philosophy of the Law-Idea (1935–36), led to the formation of the Association for Calvinist Philosophy in 1936. For decades, Vollenhoven served as president of the aforementioned association, which has become the Association for Reformational Philosophy/ Vereniging voor Reformatorische Wijsbegeerte (VRW), still based in the Netherlands but with ever-enlarging interest in the rest of the world. It is disputed whether Vollenhoven's, his colleague Herman Dooyeweerd's, and many among the subsequent generations of philosophers in the Reformational philosophy movement are best described as "modern" or "postmodern," since they anticipated numerous themes that resurfaced in postmodernism, yet remain steadfastly and would-be distinctively Christian and non-Roman.
  • Keith Ward, British philosopher, theologian, and pastor who has written widely in the areas of the philosophy of religion and comparative theology, has also made major contributions related to the relationship between science and religion; advocates for open theism
  • Simone Weil, French philosopher, mystic, and social activist
  • Cornel West, philosopher, writer, public speaker and political activist who argues for Christian Socialism; has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Union Theological Seminary in New York
  • Jonathan Westphal, analytic philosopher of time and color, member of the Epiphany Philosophers.
  • Dallas Willard, notable Christian philosopher at the University of Southern California. Willard has written extensively in philosophy but also in practical Christian theology with an emphasis in Christian spiritual formation.
  • Nicholas Wolterstorff, American philosopher at Yale University associated with Reformed epistemology who has written on epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of religion
  • Christos Yannaras, Greek philosopher
  • Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski, American philosopher specializing in the philosophy of religion, epistemology and ethics; pioneer in the field of virtue epistemology
  • Dean Zimmerman, American philosopher whose work deals with metaphysics and the philosophy of religion
  • Ravi Zacharias, American Christian philosopher and apologist who specializes in philosophy of religion and worldview.

See also


  1. ^ Grafton 2011, p. 222.
  2. ^ Runia, David T. (1995). Philo and the Church Fathers: A Collection of Papers. Leiden, Germany: E. J. Brill. p. 118. ISBN 90-04-10355-4.
  3. ^ Pope Benedict XVI 2007, pp. 24–27.
  4. ^ Litfin, Bryan M. (2016) [2007]. Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic. p. unpaginated. ISBN 978-1-4934-0478-0.
  5. ^ Olson 1999, p. 99.
  6. ^ Pasternack, Lawrence; Rossi, Philip (27 November 2017). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  7. ^ Byrne, Peter (2007), Kant on God, London: Ashgate, p. 159
  8. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche (trans. Walter Arnold Kaufmann), The Portable Nietzsche, 1976, p. 96
  9. ^ "Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Swiss-born French philosopher". Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  10. ^ "A NEW CRITIQUE OF THEORETICAL THOUGHT : VOLS I & II" (PDF). Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  11. ^ "A NEW CRITIQUE OF THEORETICAL THOUGHT : VOLS III & IV" (PDF). Retrieved 27 November 2017.

Further reading

  • Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-158591-6.
  • Hillar, Marian (2012). From Logos to Trinity. The Evolution of Religious Beliefs from Pythagoras to Tertullian. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-01330-8.
  • Richmond, James. Faith and Philosophy, in series, Knowing Christianity. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1966.

External links

Christian existentialism

Christian existentialism is a theo-philosophical movement which takes an existentialist approach to Christian theology. The school of thought is often traced back to the work of the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). The existential approach to Christian theology has a long and diverse history including Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal and Maritain.

Christian humanism

Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity and individual freedom and the primacy of human happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus, and explicitly emerged during the Renaissance with strong roots in the patristic period. Historically, major forces shaping the development of Christian humanism was the Christian doctrine that God, in the form of Jesus Christ became human in order to redeem humanity, and the further injunction for the participating human collective (the church) to act out the life of Christ. Many of these ideas had emerged among the patristics, and would develop into Christian humanism in the late 15th century, through which the ideals of "common humanity, universal reason, freedom, personhood, human rights, human emancipation and progress, and indeed the very notion of secularity (describing the present saeculum preserved by God until Christ’s return) are literally unthinkable without their Christian humanistic roots." Though there is a common association of humanism with agnosticism and atheism in popular culture, this association developed in the 20th century and non-humanistic forms of agnosticism and atheism have long existed.

Christianity and Hellenistic philosophy

Christianity and Hellenistic philosophies experienced complex interactions during the first to the fourth centuries.

As Christianity spread throughout the Hellenic world, an increasing number of church leaders were educated in Greek philosophy. The dominant philosophical traditions of the Greco-Roman world then were Stoicism, Platonism, and Epicureanism. Stoicism and, particularly, Platonism were readily incorporated into Christian ethics and Christian theology.

Fides et ratio

Fides et ratio (Faith and Reason) is an encyclical promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 14 September 1998. It was one of 14 encyclicals issued by John Paul II. Georges Cardinal Cottier, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household and later Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Domenico e Sisto the University Church of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, was influential in drafting the encyclical. The encyclical primarily addresses the relationship between faith and reason.

Liberal Christianity

Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, covers diverse philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century onward. Liberal does not refer to progressive Christianity or to political liberalism but to the philosophical and religious thought that developed and grew as a consequence of the Enlightenment.

Liberal Christianity, broadly speaking, is a method of biblical hermeneutics, an undogmatic method of understanding God through the use of scripture by applying the same modern hermeneutics used to understand any ancient writings, symbols and scriptures. Liberal Christianity did not originate as a belief structure, and as such was not dependent upon any Church dogma or creedal doctrine. Liberal Christianity from the start embraced the methodologies of Enlightenment science, including empirical evidence and the use of reason, as the basis for interpreting the Bible, life, faith and theology.

The word liberal in liberal Christianity originally denoted a characteristic willingness to interpret scripture according to modern philosophic perspectives (hence the parallel term modernism) and modern scientific assumptions, while attempting to achieve the Enlightenment ideal of objective point of view, without preconceived notions of the authority of scripture or the correctness of Church dogma. Liberal Christians may hold certain beliefs in common with Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, or even fundamentalist Protestantism.

Neoplatonism and Christianity

Neoplatonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West. This was due to St. Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by the early Neoplatonists Plotinus and Porphyry, as well as the works of the Christian writer Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, who was influenced by later Neoplatonists, such as Proclus and Damascius.


Neostoicism was a syncretic philosophical movement, founded by Flemish humanist Justus Lipsius, that attempted to combine the beliefs of Stoicism and Christianity. In his seminal period in the Northern Netherlands (Leiden, 1578–1591), Lipsius published two most significant works: De Constantia (1583) and Politica (1589).

Not to be confused with modern Stoicism, a similar movement in the early 21st century.

Peace Testimony

Peace testimony, or testimony against war, is a shorthand description of the action generally taken by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for peace and against participation in war. Like other Quaker testimonies, it is not a "belief", but a description of committed actions, in this case to promote peace, and refrain from and actively oppose participation in war. Quakers' original refusal to bear arms has been broadened to embrace protests and demonstrations in opposition to government policies of war and confrontations with others who bear arms, whatever the reason, in the support of peace and active nonviolence. Because of this core testimony, the Religious Society of Friends is considered one of the traditional peace churches.

Platonic Academy (Florence)

The Platonic Academy (also known as the Neoplatonic Florentine Academy) was a 15th-century discussion group in Florence, Italy.

Postmodern theology

Postmodern theology—also known as the continental philosophy of religion—is a philosophical and theological movement that interprets theology in light of post-Heideggerian continental philosophy, including phenomenology, post-structuralism, and deconstruction.

Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christianity is a "post-liberal movement" within Christianity "that seeks to reform the faith via the insights of post-modernism and a reclaiming of the truth beyond the verifiable historicity and factuality of the passages in the Bible by affirming the truths within the stories that may not have actually happened." Progressive Christianity represents a post-modern theological approach, and is not necessarily synonymous with progressive politics. It developed out of the Liberal Christianity of the modern-era, which was rooted in enlightenment thinking.Progressive Christianity is characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth. Progressive Christians have a deep belief in the centrality of the instruction to "love one another" (John 15:17) within the teachings of Jesus Christ. This leads to a focus on promoting values such as compassion, justice, mercy, and tolerance, often through political activism. Though prominent, the movement is by no means the only significant movement of progressive thought among Christians.

Progressive Christianity draws on the insights of multiple theological streams including evangelicalism, liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, pragmatism, postmodernism, Progressive Reconstructionism, and liberation theology. The concerns of feminism are also a major influence on the movement, as expressed in feminist and womanist theologies.Though the terms Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christianity are often used synonymously, the two movements are distinct, despite much overlap.

Quietism (Christian philosophy)

Quietism is the name given (especially in Roman Catholic Church theology) to a set of Christian beliefs that rose in popularity in France, Italy, and Spain during the late 1670s and 1680s, particularly associated with the writings of Miguel de Molinos (and subsequently François Malaval and Madame Guyon), and which were condemned as heresy by Pope Innocent XI in the papal bull Coelestis Pastor of 1687. The "Quietist" heresy was seen to consist of wrongly elevating "contemplation" over "meditation", intellectual stillness over vocal prayer, and interior passivity over pious action in an account of mystical prayer, spiritual growth and union with God (one in which, the accusation ran, there existed the possibility of achieving a sinless state and union with the Christian Godhead).

Since the late seventeenth century, "Quietism" has functioned (especially within Roman Catholic theology, though also to an extent within Protestant theology), as the shorthand for accounts which are perceived to fall foul of the same theological errors, and thus to be heretical. As such, the term has come to be applied to beliefs far outside its original context. The term quietism was not used until the 17th century, so some writers have dubbed the expression of such errors before this era as "pre-quietism".

Reformed epistemology

In the philosophy of religion, Reformed epistemology is a school of philosophical thought concerning the nature of knowledge (epistemology) as it applies to religious beliefs. The central proposition of Reformed epistemology is that beliefs can be justified by more than evidence alone, contrary to the positions of evidentialism, which argues that while belief other than through evidence may be beneficial, it violates some epistemic duty. Central to Reformed epistemology is the proposition that belief in God may be "properly basic" and not need to be inferred from other truths to be rationally warranted. William Lane Craig describes Reformed epistemology as "One of the most significant developments in contemporary Religious Epistemology ... which directly assaults the evidentialist construal of rationality."Alvin Plantinga distinguishes between what he calls de facto from de jure objections to Christian belief. A de facto objection is one that attempts to show that Christian truth claims are false. In contrast, de jure objections attempt to undermine Christian belief even if it is, in fact, true. Plantinga argues that there are no successful objections to Christian belief apart from de facto (fact-based) objections.Reformed epistemology was so named because it represents a continuation of the 16th-century Reformed theology of John Calvin, who postulated a sensus divinitatis, an innate divine awareness of God's presence. More recent influences on reformed epistemology are found in philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff's Reason within the Bounds of Religion, published in 1976, and Plantinga's "Reason and Belief in God", published in 1983.

Although Plantinga's Reformed epistemology developed over three decades, it was not fully articulated until 1993 with the publication of two books in an eventual trilogy: Warrant: The Current Debate, and Warrant and Proper Function. The third in the series was Warranted Christian Belief, published in 2000. Other prominent defenders of Reformed epistemology include William Lane Craig, William Alston, and Michael C. Rea.


In a religious context, sin is an act of transgression against divine law. In Islamic ethics, Muslims see sin as anything that goes against the commands of Allah (God). Judaism regards the violation of any of the 613 commandments as a sin.

Sin can also be viewed as any thought or action that endangers the ideal relationship between an individual and God; or as any diversion from the perceived ideal order for human living. In Jainism, sin refers to anything that harms the possibility of the jiva (being) to attain moksha (supreme emancipation).

Summum bonum

Summum bonum is a Latin expression meaning "the highest good", which was introduced by the Roman philosopher Cicero, to correspond to the Idea of the Good in ancient Greek philosophy. The summum bonum is generally thought of as being an end in itself, and at the same time containing all other goods.

The term was used in medieval philosophy. In the Thomist synthesis of Aristotelianism and Christianity, the highest good is usually defined as the life of the righteous and/or the life led in communion with God and according to God's precepts. In Kantianism, it was used to describe the ultimate importance, the singular and overriding end which human beings ought to pursue.

The Kingdom of God Is Within You

The Kingdom of God Is Within You (pre-reform Russian: Царство Божіе внутри васъ; post-reform Russian: Царство Божие внутри вас, tr. Tsárstvo Bózhiye vnutrí vas) is a non-fiction book written by Leo Tolstoy. A philosophical treatise, the book was first published in Germany in 1894 after being banned in his home country of Russia. It is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's thinking, and lays out a new organization for society based on an interpretation of Christianity focusing on universal love.

The Kingdom of God is Within You is a key text for Tolstoyan proponents of nonviolence, of nonviolent resistance, and of the Christian anarchist movement.

The Sickness Unto Death

The Sickness Unto Death (Danish: Sygdommen til Døden) is a book written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1849 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus. A work of Christian existentialism, the book is about Kierkegaard's concept of despair, which he equates with the Christian concept of sin, particularly original sin.

Theistic science

Theistic science, also referred to as theistic realism, is the pseudoscientific proposal that the central scientific method of requiring testability, known as methodological naturalism, should be replaced by a philosophy of science that allows occasional supernatural explanations which are inherently untestable. Proponents propose supernatural explanations for topics raised by their theology, in particular evolution.Supporters of theistic realism or theistic science include intelligent design creationism proponents J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer and Phillip E. Johnson.Instead of the relationship between religion and science being a dialogue, theistic science seeks to alter the basic methods of science. As Alvin Plantinga puts it, this is a "science stopper", and these concepts lack any mainstream credence.

Transcendental argument for the existence of God

The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove the existence of God by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a supreme being and that God must therefore be the source of logic and morals.A version was formulated by Immanuel Kant in his 1763 work The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, and most contemporary formulations of the transcendental argument have been developed within the framework of Christian presuppositional apologetics.

cardinal virtues
theological virtues
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