The Greeks and the Christians

It is somewhat of a stereotype that the early Christian writers and theologians disregarded the philosophical ideas of the great Greek thinkers. This is, in fact, not true at all. Most Christians writers believed that the Greek ideas were fulfilled by the Christian teachings.

Some early Christian writers made parallels between the teachings of the old Greek philosophers and the doctrine of the Christian faith. Eusebius of Caesarea and St. Gregory of Nyssa showed how the teachings of Plato coincided with Christian teachings. Eusebius wrote of how Plato believed that the soul was immortal, and how his moral philosophy was close to Christian beliefs. St. Gregory of Nyssa made a parallel between Christianity and and Plato’s allegory of the cave. St. Justin martyr even compared the death of Socrates to the death of Christ himself!

Ironically, most of the Christians who disregarded the teachings of the Greek philosophical schools fell into heresy themselves. It is not right to think that the majority of Christian thinkers thought of the Greek philosophies as obsolete and useless with the coming of Christ. The opposite is, in fact, the case.

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