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Advance of philosophy in the early Church

Advance of philosophy in the early Church

And Clement of Alexandria sees in philosophy God's preparation of the human race for the gospel: "Philosophy prepares the work that Christ completes."15 Yet that work having been consummated, it is not philosophy but the gospel that bows out of the picture, for Clement himself never mentions the millennium, softpedals the second coming of Christ, and allegorizes the resurrection. In a new but already famous book on Clement of Alexandria, Walter Voelker writes: "In Clement of Alexandria, Stoic, Platonist, Mystic, etc., constantly shove against and overlap on each other and entangle themselves often in a narrow compass into a completely inextricable mess (Knäuel)."16 Origen was just as bad, completely rejecting the old faith, as Schmidt notes, in favor of philosophy. "In his way of life," wrote Porphyry of Origen, "he lived like a Christian, which was misleading, since in actual fact and in his teachings about God he was a thoroughgoing Hellenist."17 It was he who introduced logic and dialectic into the church—those two obsessions of declining antiquity of which the early church had so prided itself of being free. It was he, we will recall, who told the pagan Celsus that all Christians would do nothing but study philosophy if they did not have to take time off to earn a living. Step by step we can trace the infiltration of philosophy into the church....[1]


  1. Hugh W. Nibley, The World and the Prophets, 3rd edition, (Vol. 3 of Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987), Chapter 5, references silently removed—consult original for citations.