Special Issue "Plato among the Christians"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2016)
Prof. Dr. J. Warren Smith
Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
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Phone: (919) 660-3415
Interests: Ambrose of Milan; Augustine of Hippo; Gregory of Nyssa; divine impassibility; theosis/deification; patristic exegesis of Romans; virtue theory; theological anthropology; Christology; Christian perfection
Adolf Von Harnack explained in the rise of ur-Catholicism as the corruption of apostolic Christianity through a syncretistic incorporation of ideas from Classical and Hellenistic philosophical traditions, especially Platonism and Stoicism, into early Christian theology. Although Harnack wrote his influential Das Wesen des Christentums over 150 years ago, his essential narrative of the development of patristic theology remains influential in the popular scholarly imagination, in spite of serious scholarly criticism of his thesis. The overall focus of this issue is to question Harnack’s theory by complicating the narrative of the influence of the Platonist tradition. This alternative narrative begins with the influence of Platonism on first century Christianity, as reflected in the Gospel of John. The primary scope of the papers lies between the post-apostolic era of the late first/early second centuries, to the post-Chacedonian era of Maximos the Confessor in the 7th century. The topics in this Special Issue stand within two groups of studies: first, those of the relationship between Christianity and Hellenistic philosophy in the first and second centuries, and, second, those on the development of Christian doctrine (e.g., Khaled Anatolios, Lewis Ayres, Christopher Beeley, and Russell Norman). With the discovery of Aristotle and his influence on Aquinas and the Sentence Commentary tradition, the Platonic influence on Catholic theology that dominated the patristic era waned in the high Middle Ages. The legacy of Christian Platonism, nevertheless, continues to be felt in certain quarters of Catholic thought. This issue, therefore, will conclude with an examination of the Platonic legacy that stretched beyond late antiquity into the Middle Ages and the present.
Dr. J. Warren Smith
Manuscript Submission Information
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Ilaria Ramelli, “Origen, Patristic Philosophy, and Christian Platonism: Re-Thinking the Christianization of Hellenism.” In Vigiliae Christianae 63 (2009), pp. 217–263.
"Platonist Orientalism," Historical and Biographical Values of Plutarch’s Works. Studies devoted to Professor Philip Stadter by the International Plutarch Society, ed. Aurelio Pérez Jiménez and Frances Titchener,. (Leuven -Madrid 2005), pp. 245–271.
- Augustine of Hippo
- Gregory of Nyssa
- Justin Martyr
- Origen of Alexandria
- Middle Platonism
- Maximos the Confessor
- Philo Plato