Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jesus and Aristotle

This is a section of a much larger article called The Philosophy of Success.

Aristotle lived about 300 years before Jesus, but Alexander the Great made sure they would meet by invading the area (called the Levant) in 332 B.C. He and his successors ruled until 63 B.C., when the Romans took over.

I've simplified the timeline a little. The Maccabean Revolt began around 167 B.C., ushering in a short quarter-decade of Jewish independence. The revolt was fought--and this is my point--contra deep and offensive Hellenization of Jewish religion and culture.

This included Aristotelian philosophy among the educated classes, which continued under the Romans, who became the torchbearers of Greek culture and philosophy.

Jesus was born into a thoroughly Hellenized Palestine, and nowhere was this more pervasive than in the priestly caste. This explains why Jesus' main antagonists in the Christian Gospels are the Pharisees and Sadducees. The earmarks of Aristotelian thought run throughout the Biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry.

Aristotle and Christianity

This is the final section of an article called The Philosophy of Success.

So Jesus had his say and then he was crucified--most of us know the story--and then another religion developed in his name. This is where the story really gets good.

So what do you think that religion did? Do you think they kept up the fight with Aristotelianism that Jesus had started? Far from it.

Christianity plugged along for several hundred years under the auspices of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, a neo-Plantonist (i.e. pre-Aristotelian thinking; for more information see Radical Academy); along with the inspirational handbook, The Consolation of Philosophy: Revised Edition (Penguin Classics), by Anicius Manlius Severinus Bo√ęthius, also a Platonist.

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