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Luther and Greek Philosophy

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by 9Rock9, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. 9Rock9

    9Rock9 Sinner in need of grace.

    United States
    I have seen it claimed that Luther thought Greek philosophy influenced the Church and that was part of the problem. Is this correct?

    If he thought that, what do you make about Paul? He was a Hellenistic Jew, and thus probably influenced by Greek philosophy, as well.

    I'm interested in answers from various Protestant denominations, but thought it'd be most appropriate to ask a question about Luther in a Lutheran forum.
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  2. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

    Rome did end up liking Aristotle too much, which led to the problems with Copernicus and Galileo when they made their discoveries.
  3. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    United States
    The influence of Aristotle in Western Christianity--particularly treatises like his Physics--did not occur until the second millennium. The Early Church was much more Platonic than Aristotelian, and Luther especially objected to this early Hellenization. Of course he also objected to Medieval Scholasticism which was strongly influenced by Aristotle, but that would be a different question than the OP's concern with Paul. If I recall, this is one of the reasons Luther rejected the Deuterocanonical books: he thought they were too influenced by Greek culture.
  4. honey badger

    honey badger i am

    United Kingdom
    concerning Paul ... he counted all his knowledge gained as dung when he started to see the simplicity in Christ ...
  5. GreekOrthodox

    GreekOrthodox Psalti Chrysostom

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Luther himself, had issues with Copernicus

    "There was mention of a certain new astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and trees were moving. Luther remarked, 'So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever … must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. … I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.'"
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  6. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    United States
    In Relationship
    The relationship between philosophy and Christian theology has always been a complicated one. Tertullian once said "What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?" In other words, what does Christ and the Gospel have to do with Greek philosophy? And yet on the other side we have St. Justin who is often considered the father of Christian philosophy. St. Basil the Great told his students to be like diligent honey bees, only selecting the most choice nectar from the flowers of philosophy--in other words, that which is sweet and in agreement with Christian faith is useful and good; that which isn't should be discarded.

    Thus this tension has always existed, since the earliest centuries of the Church.

    In that sense, Luther wouldn't exactly be unique in being part of that very old, longstanding conversation that's been going on in Christianity for two millennia now. From the days when St. Paul preached the Gospel to the Athenians at the Areopagus, until today, the relationship between Christianity and philosophy has always been a complicated one. Of neither dismissing philosophy, nor fully embracing the work of philosophers as a substitute for theology.

    It's a very old conversation.

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  7. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

    This was the root cause for Luther's disdane for the Midevil Scolastic Theologians. For example, it was Arestotlean logic that was applied to the Eucharist by St. Thomoas Aquinas to derive the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Pagan logic applied to Christian theology.