Aristotle and Early Christian Thought: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Aristotle and Early Christian Thought

1st Edition

By Mark Edwards


226 pages

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pub: 2019-03-08
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In studies of early Christian thought, ‘philosophy’ is often a synonym for ‘Platonism’, or at most for ‘Platonism and Stoicism’. Nevertheless, it was Aristotle who, from the sixth century AD to the Italian Renaissance, was the dominant Greek voice in Christian, Muslim and Jewish philosophy.

Aristotle and Early Christian Thought is the first book in English to give a synoptic account of the slow appropriation of Aristotelian thought in the Christian world from the second to the sixth century. Concentrating on the great theological topics – creation, the soul, the Trinity, and Christology – it makes full use of modern scholarship on the Peripatetic tradition after Aristotle, explaining the significance of Neoplatonism as a mediator of Aristotelian logic. While stressing the fidelity of Christian thinkers to biblical presuppositions which were not shared by the Greek schools, it also describes their attempts to overcome the pagan objections to biblical teachings by a consistent use of Aristotelian principles, and it follows their application of these principles to matters which lay outside the purview of Aristotle himself.

This volume offers a valuable study not only for students of Christian theology in its formative years, but also for anyone seeking an introduction to the thought of Aristotle and its developments in Late Antiquity.

Table of Contents


Chapter1: The Philosophy of Aristotle

Chapter 2: Aristotle in the Second Century

Chapter 3: Aristotle and Ante-Nicene Christianity

Chapter 4: The Neoplatonic Reaction to Aristotle

Chapter 5: Aristotle and the Trinity in the Fourth century

Chapter 6: Gregory of Nyssa and Aristotle

Appendix: Hypokeimenon in Gregory of Nyssa’s Doctrine of the Trinity

Chapter 7: Aristotle and the Christological Controversy

Chapter 8: John Philoponus, Theologian and Apologist

Chapter 9: Boethius and Aristotle




About the Author

Mark Edwards has been Tutor in Theology at Christ Church, Oxford, and University Lecturer in Patristics for the Faculty of Theology (now Theology and Religion) since 1993. Since 2014, he has held the title Professor of Early Christian Studies. His books include Neoplatonic Saints (2000), Origen against Plato (2002), Culture and Philosophy in the Age of Plotinus (2006), Image, Word and God in the Early Christian Centuries (2012) and Religions of the Constantinian Empire (2015).

About the Series

Studies in Philosophy and Theology in Late Antiquity

The Studies in Philosophy and Theology in Late Antiquity series focuses on major theologians, not as representatives of a 'tradition', whether Christian or classical, but as individuals immersed in the intellectual culture of their day. Each book concentrates on the arguments, not merely the opinions, of a single Christian writer or group of writers from the period A.D 100-600 and compares and contrasts these arguments with those of pagan contemporaries who addressed similar questions.

By study of political, social, and cultural milieu, contributors to the series show what external factos led to the convergence or divergence of Christianity and pagan thought in particular localities or periods. Pagan and Christian teachings are set out in a clear and systematic form, making it possible to bring to light the true originality of the author's thought and to estimate the value of his work for modern times.

This high profile research series offers an important contribution to areas of contemporary research in the patristic period, as well as providing new links into later periods, particularly the Medieval and Reformation.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
PHILOSOPHY / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical
RELIGION / Christianity / History