The first followers of Jesus were not drawn from the intellectual and social elite of their day, but rather from artisans, tax collectors, and the more disreputable members of society. Yet out of such seemingly insignificant beginnings, a seed was planted by his teaching, his cross, and his resurrection which was destined to spread its shade over the entire known world. What had begun as an essentially Jewish movement founded on the preaching of the Messiah became, with amazing speed, a religion that was accepted by pagans, Goths, Franks, and more. This book traces the growth of the church and the development of Christian philosophy through the first centuries.
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“The question immediately arises as to the possibility of harmonizing these two accounts of the ultimate reality, the natural and the revealed, and the different routes that lead to them. Can reason and revelation be brought into harmony with each other, linking nature, morality and history?” (Page 5)
“They also seem to have wanted to build a bridge between the philosophy and the religion of the Greeks in a way quite distinct from the non-religious philosophy of Plato and Plotinus. And this liaison was also affirmed by the great Christian philosophical tradition begun by Justin and deepened by Origen, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas who saw in God both the personal being of the bible and the mental construct of the philosophers.” (Pages 5–6)
“Is the philosophic idea always in danger of ousting the biblical idea? Writers from Plato onwards have argued that the highest human ideals of goodness, justice, wisdom and power must also be realized in our understanding of the divine nature. The divine credibility is measured by his moral character.” (Page 5)
“Yet despite the fact that Jesus himself never left Palestine, his gospel had a worldwide message.” (Page 16)
“Christianity inherited a Jewish God and a Jewish covenant.” (Page 10)
Anthony Meredith, S.J. was for many years a member of the faculty of theology at Oxford, and tutor in patristics at Campion Hall. He also taught at Heythrop College, University of London. He is the author of The Cappadocians and Gregory of Nyssa.