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philosophical vocabulary


Subject Religion » Christianity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631232032.2001.x


The philosophical schools of late antiquity, especially the Stoics, had articulated issues and questions to which Christian theology offered its own distinctive responses. The progressive development of technical philosophical vocabulary provided Christian theologians with an array of terms which could be used to express and to clarify issues arising, for example, in Christology and triadology. The Stoics played an important role in this since their systematic approach to philosophy shaped a comprehensive curriculum of philosophical studies. Stoic ideas and values were respected in the Roman world not least because of the political stance of Stoic senators, several of whom died for their opposition to the corruption of the imperial rule. The importance of platonism to Christian theology is well recognized. Platonic psychology provided the standard terminology used by the spiritual fathers. Stoic, Platonist and Aristotelian schools existed side by side, but with much mutual influence and cross-fertilization; Middle Platonism is in effect an amalgam of all three. Stoicism had a strong doctrine of divine providence ( pronoia ). Stoics argued that pneuma (understood as a very fine form of matter), is the presence in the cosmos ( kosmos ) of the divine Logos governing and guiding all things. This nexus of terms, pneuma, Logos, kosmos, pronoia , links in a significant way concepts ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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