3. Socrates the Wisest Man in Athens

This is a statue of a bust of Socrates showing him as the "ugly" philosopher with the pug nose, etc.

Why was Socrates executed? He was tried in front of 501 of his Athenian peers who, acting as judge and jury, declared him guilty and sentenced him to death.1

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2. Socrates’ Death and the Triumph of Reason

This is a statue of Socrates slumped in a chair, head down and eyes closed after he succumbed by drinking the poisoned hemlock.

On the appointed day of his death, Socrates, at 70 years old, is in a jail in Athens, Greece. His friends and family are allowed to see him. Socrates calmly discusses matters of the afterlife before drinking the hemlock. 

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1. The Harmony and Tension Between Faith and Reason

St. Paul played an integral role in encouraging the synthesis of faith and reason - Christian theology and Greek philosophy.
Sermon of St. Paul in Athens, Raphael, 1515

“What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?

-Tertullian, Church Father (155A.D.-220A.D.)

After his 51 A.D. encounter with the Greek philosophers at the Areopagus, the Apostle Paul would probably have answered the above question with, “Not much.” Up until this time, Hebrew faith and Greek philosophy had been developing on parallel paths. It seems as though they had nothing in common. After all, the Greeks were the philosophical people and the Jews were the people of faith. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but you get the point.

But here was the one chance for the two to come together – faith and reason in tandem. The Apostle Paul would bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures to the Greeks, the primary purveyors of philosophical ideas in the ancient world. With the meeting of the two, faith would have the philosophical language by which to express itself, and reason would have the revelation it needed in order to reason rightly.

Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. Paul preached on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a central tenant of the Christian faith, and received a tepid response at best. According to the account in Acts 17, when Paul mentioned the resurrection, some began to scoff at him while others asked him to return so that they could hear more. He ultimately left with only a smattering of converts. What happened?

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