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Daniel Donovan

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Patristic Period
o Latin word Patres meaning, “fathers
o This period is from about 200 – 600 b.c.
o Gregory I (Gregory the great) marked the end of the patristic period.
o Catholicism during this period is more Greek than Roman
o When Christianity started to spread the Roman Empire controlled the government.
o The New Testament was written in Greek though Jesus spoke Aramaic.
o At the time of Jesus there were many Hellenistic Jews, one of the most famous is Paul.
o The large majority of followers and the bishops of this time were Greek speaking. The first
ecumenical council in 325 b.c. had many Greek speaking bishops.
o This period has 4 main thinkers:
§ Origen (from Alexandria)
§ Gregory of Nyssa
§ John Chrysostom
§ St. Augustine
- Middle Ages
o Between the Dark Ages and the Renaissance. It is the period from about 600 – 1500 b.c.
o Before 313 B.C. Christianity is a forbidden religion and the people had no rights. After 313
B.C. it was allowed. The late Roman Empire period was Roman Catholic.
o Important Thinkers of this period:
§ Thomas Aquinas
§ Bonaventure
§ Catherine of Siena
§ Julian of Norwich
SECOND TERM (period of the Reformations)
- Modern languages develop but the language of universities and of the literary is Latin.
- The idea of nationalism is dominate in the countries within Europe especially with religion.
- Important thinkers:
o Martin Luther
§ Begin the protestant reformation.
o John Calvin
§ He was a French man and came about a generation after Martin Luther.
o Teresa of Avila
§ She was part of a religious order called the Carmelites. They believed in living
simple lives She became a reformer.
o Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuits. He was from Spain. The Jesuits had a
strong influence on Catholicism and its development.
Enlightenment Period
- This was period that was during the 1800s.
- There was more emphasis on reason.
- Important thinkers of this period are:
o Friedrich Schleiermacher
§ He tries to re-think Christianity in a post – enlightenment period.
o John Henry Newman.
§ He was Anglican.
o Karl Barth
o Carl Rohner
Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

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§ The first real Christian theologians are Paul, John and those who wrote the Hebrew Letter.
§ Apologists- means defense; they defended Christianity. Justin the Martyr (100-165c.e) and Irenaus
(115-202 c.e.) are apologists.
Origen, Alexandria (184 – 254 c.e.)
§ He is a controversial figure. Many people after his death used his ideas and pushed them to the
extreme. Thus his ideas were taken and exploited and he was blamed.
§ His favorite gospel was the gospel of John. This was because the opening of John’s gospel (1:14)
went against the Greek religion stating that humans must find the divine but rather the divine can become
connected to the human through the flesh (logos). “word became flesh”
§ Most of his writings were lost but he wrote a lot. He wrote many of his works in Latin.
§ Saint Jerome was a followed of Origen but later changed his mind. However, Saint Rufinus stayed
loyal to Origen, which made Jerome mad.
§ Origen was very influential, even to later saints including Augustine and Basil.
§ He came from a Hellenistic education. He lived before the council of Nicea, thus he is from the
Pre- Nicea. Nicea took place in 325 c.e, this was the first ecumenical council. This council raised the question
on how is the God the Son connected to God the Father.
§ Jesus was born in Galilee, which was strongly an Aramaic speaking country. Galilee was different
from the Hellenistic culture, which dominated the Mediterranean.
§ Due to the fact that Hellenistic people did not understand the importance of Jesus, Justin the
martyr changed him to the “logos.” Hence the logos became flesh, and he is Jesus the man.
§ Origen lives in the pre- Constantine time. Constantine was the emperor who made Christianity
legal. In 313 c.e. he established the Edict of Milan, which allowed Christianity to be legal, and Christians
could not be prosecuted unjustly.
§ Origen was born in Alexandria, a Greek city. This was the first time and place where biblical and
Greek ideas came together.
- He was not primarily a philosopher, he wanted to be a man of the church.
- He was a theologian. The focus of Origen’s interest was the bible.
- Truth was a very big thing in both Greek culture and Christianity. Truth bridges these two cultures
- Origen talked about truth as a “revealed” truth as in the word of God.
- For Origen God is the truth and in the bible we find the word of God/ truth of God. The bible is THE
book because in it he the truth.
- He lived in Caesarean Palestine. He is made a Presbyterian (priest) and he began to preach.
- Origen writes commentaries.
- The Christians took over the Hebrew bible and added more to it. This was known as the New
Testament. This bible was translated into Greek called the Hexapla.
- Rabbis used only the Hebrew bible and Origen used the Greek Christian bible. Rabbis were not
sure if the Christian bible was properly translated because there were multiple versions.
- Origen tried to sophisticate the bible to others because the text is not very philosophical or moral.
- Origen did what Philo did and stated that the bible had hidden meaning. This explained that the
bible has both a literal and spiritual sense. The bible was told like a story but it always has a spiritual or
deeper sense.
Peri Archon – “on first principal”
- The bible is a story. Origen tried to explain Christianity to heretics.
- The bible is not necessarily full of philosophical meaning or truth it is a story. What makes it
important is it’s a story of God, and God’s son Jesus.
- The Christian bible has a beginning (genesis) and an end (revelations).
- By reading this bible, people began asking ethical questions about the story. Like what is the
trinity? What is a soul? How does it relate to the body?

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- People believed that they were born Hebrew and became Christian. Being Christian meant that
you were joining a community, but you had to affirm your faith.
- Baptism was a sign in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit. This was how the creed was
- Origen lists seven things:
o Father
o Christ
o Spirit
o Soul
o Devil
o Angels
o World
Exhortation of Martyrdom
- Ambrose was an important Christian
- He was arrested and had to deny his faith and adhere to paganism.
- Origen tells Ambrose not to deny his faith for if he does God will deny him later on.
- In the Early Church baptism was a way of forgiving sin and joining the religion.
- There was no act of reconciliation.
- Origen believed in martyrdom and the fact that it can forgive sin. It can forgive the sin of not only
the martyr but also those around him/her.
- Christians came to see that Jesus’ death was the perfect sacrifice.
o Due to his sacrifice he was considered the High Priest.
o No one can be like him but martyrs.
- You get a sense of Origen’s belief in human life. Human life is like the soul. The body is a prison
for the soul keeping it away from God.
Sept 22
2nd major thinker: Gregory of Nyssa
From a region called Cappadocia - a roman province in central-eastern Turkey
Diaspora - New testament
Acts of the apostles & 2nd letter of peter? - Cappadocia was mentioned
Gregory he wonder worker - Icon of Cappadocia
He was looking for the truth, for the true philosophy
He was blown away by Oregon and became a bishop
Because of this he brought Christianity and connections of Oregon to Cappadocia
Fathers was important word in that area - theologians, etc.
There were 3 main fathers
Basil of caeanea (330-371)
Gregory of Nyssa (335-395)
Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390)
They have an enormous impact on Christianity
They were part of a Christian centered family
Many changes from the time of the Oregon
313 - Constantine - Edict of Milan - Legal status in the roman empire - Soon he began to favour
Christianity and did many things to support it
381 - Christianity became the official religion of Europe? - Soon Religion began to interfere with Bishops
and heresy and politics.
All three fathers were influenced by Plato and platoism
What they took over was a certain way of thinking about God and the human soul.
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