Skip to main content

Christianity and Hellenism, Part 1 of 3

October 27th, 2010 | 2 min read

By Kevin White

“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”

That was the question raised by Tertullian at the end of the second century. At the beginning of the twentieth, Adolf von Harnack tried to identify the pure kerygma buried beneath layers of borrowed Greco-Roman ideas. (He mainly found some good ethics.)

At present, it is really easy to find people decrying the great and supposedly distorting influence of Hellenistic thought on early Christian teachings. Sometimes it is a mere cheap shot, one that gets the opposition sputtering and defensive. Often, however, it is an honest misunderstanding, a product of simplistic analysis, an overreliance on conventional wisdom, or following the cues of highly respected authorities–authorities who are mistaken on this point.

Login to read more

Sign in or create a free account to access Subscriber-only content. 

Sign in


Kevin White