Late pagan alternatives: Plotinus and the Christian gospel

Philosophical pagans in late antiquity charged Christians with believing ‘without evidence', but were themselves accused of arbitrariness in their initial choice of philosophical school. Stoics and Platonists in particular adopted a form of cosmic religion that Christians criticized on rational...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religious studies
Main Author: Clark, Stephen R. L. 1945-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Cambridge Univ. Press [2016]
In: Religious studies
Year: 2016, Volume: 52, Issue: 4, Pages: 545-560
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Plotinus 205-270 / Classical antiquity / Religion / Son of God / Church
IxTheo Classification:AX Inter-religious relations
BE Greco-Roman religions
KAB Church history 30-500; early Christianity
NBF Christology
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Philosophical pagans in late antiquity charged Christians with believing ‘without evidence', but were themselves accused of arbitrariness in their initial choice of philosophical school. Stoics and Platonists in particular adopted a form of cosmic religion that Christians criticized on rationalistic as well as sectarian grounds. The other charge levelled against Christians was that they had abandoned ancestral creeds in arrogant disregard of an earlier consensus, and of the world as pagans themselves conceived it. A clearer understanding of the dispute can be gained from a comparison of Heracles and Christ as divinized ‘sons of God'. The hope on both sides was that we might become, or somehow join with, God. Both sought an escape from the image of a pointless, heartless universe - an image that even moderns find difficult to accept and live by. The notion that pagans and Christians had of God, and of the divine life we might hope to share, was almost identical - up to the point, at least, where both philosophical and common pagans conceived God as Pheidias had depicted him (the crowned Master), and Christians rather as the Crucified, ‘risen against the world'.
ISSN:1469-901X
Contains:Enthalten in: Religious studies
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1017/S0034412516000184