The Case Against the Theory of Theology's Fall into Hellenistic Philosophy

Paul L. Gavrilyuk

in The Suffering of the Impassible God

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199269822
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601569 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Case Against the Theory of Theology's Fall into Hellenistic Philosophy

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The standard modern approach to the patristic idea of the divine (im)passibility is to draw a sharp distinction between the unemotional and uninvolved God of the Greek philosophers and the passionate God of the Bible. The allegedly biblical vision of an emotional and suffering God is then taken as a norm by which the whole development of patristic theology is judged. The verdict is that on the whole, patristic theology was a departure from this vision. The author argues that this approach, the attraction of its simplicity notwithstanding, is fundamentally flawed and misleading both with regard to the opinions of the philosophers and with regard to the biblical material.

Keywords: anthropomorphism in the Bible; anthropopathism in the Bible; apatheia; involvement; Epicureanism; immanence; Philo; Platonism; Stoicism; theory of theology’s fall into Hellenistic philosophy; transcendence

Chapter.  11622 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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