Pantaenus- a Sicilian Christian established a school for Christian Gnostics. He aimed to enter the thought world of pagans to show the superiority of the Catholic Church. Was known as Christian Gnosticism because it ask the big questions of meaning, but it gave orthodox answers.
Valentinus had expected to become a bishop, because he was an able man both in genius and eloquence. Being indignant, however, that another obtained the dignity by reason of a claim which confessor ship had given him, he broke with the church of the true faith. Just like those (restless) spirits which, when roused by ambition, are usually inflamed with the desire of revenge, he applied himself with all his might to exterminate the truth; and finding the clue of a certain old opinion, he marked out a path for himself with the subtlety of a serpent
Clement and Origen did not do like their Gnostics counterparts who left the Gospel in shambles. They remained loyal to the teachings of the Apostles even as they presented the Gospel in a philosophical form. They also differed from the Gnostics in behavior as well.
Origen’s work in the Scriptures was immensely important. It enabled intelligent Christians to believe the Bible and so to remain Christians.
Apostles to intellectuals lesson 4 church history i
APOSTLES TO INTELLECTUALS THE ALEXANDRIANS 1
THE GOSPEL VS. PHILOSOPHY• Jerome, who was best known for his translation of the Bible into the Latin Vulgate version had to face they terrifying thought that he compared the Bible to philosophy.• The church must define faith in terms that intelligent men could understand. A clear presentation of the Gospel calls upon the powers of reason.• In the ancient world this meant Greek philosophy and pagan authors. So Christianity was forced into the world of pagan thought. 2
LIGHT IN THE WORLD• Jesus spoke to His disciples with this very real , “not of the world, but sent into the world.” John 17:16-18• The idea of separation from the world has always presented the Church with a problem. Because Christians differ with each other over the boundaries of withdrawal and engagement.• Tertullian was the most against combining philosophy with the Gospel.• Gnosticism, Platonist, Stoics were somehow all in competition with the Gospel, and Clement and Origen brought about a harmony between all camps. 3
VALENTINIANS GNOSTICISM• He taught that there were three kinds of people, the spiritual, psychical, and material; and that only those of a spiritual nature (his own followers) received the knowledge that allowed them to return to the divine fullness, while those of a psychic nature (ordinary Christians) would attain a lesser form of salvation, and that those of a material nature (pagans and Jews) were doomed to perish. 4
PLATONISM• The central concept of Platonism is the distinction between that reality which is perceptible, but not intelligible, and that which is intelligible, but imperceptible; to this distinction the Theory of Forms is essential. The forms are typically described in dialogues such as the Phaedo, Symposium and Republic, as transcendent, perfect archetypes, of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason. 5
STOICISM• The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection", would not suffer such emotions.• Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis=will, volition, moral choice) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individuals philosophy was not what a person said but how he behaved. 6
A PASTOR TO PHILOSOPHERS• One the most influential men of his time was Clement. He was seen as a messenger of Christianity in philosopher’s garb.• Clement was the first Christian Scholar versed in the Bible as well as the knowledge of his time. He knew Greek philosophy and classical literature.• His main opponent of the times was Valentinian Gnosticism, and he had to reconciled them both to win the young and old of his time. 1Corinthians 9:16-23 7
ORIGEN AND THE THIRST FOR TRUTH• After the third century persecution broke out against Christians in Alexandria, and Clement had to leave the school in the hands of an eighteen year old.• Origen’s philosophy was more than a matter of ideas, it was a way of forming character.• Origen stated, “my primary work is the exposition of scripture.”• Origen started what we call now “the allegorical interpretation” of Scripture. He held the Bible has three levels of meaning: the literal sense, the moral application to the soul, and the allegorical or spiritual sense. 8
A THEOLOGY FOR THINKERS• Origen was the first theologian to set forth the whole intellectual framework of the Christian faith. He realized that if Christianity were to succeed in shaping civilization, it must justify itself to the intellect as well as to the heart of mankind.• Origen was charged with heresy, because he turned a dream into a doctrine. He said that one day even the devil will be reconciled back into the love of God, and hell will be emptied. 9