Ancient Christianity

These episodes examine the attitude of ancient Christians towards philosophy, and how they contributed new philosophical ideas in the context of articulating and defending the new faith. Major figures include Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and Boethius. Interviews with George Boys-Stones, Charles Brittain and John Marenbon.

Peter would like to thank Marc Delcogliano for his help with the episodes in this part of the podcast!

Further reading:

• A. Bowman, A. Cameron and P. Garnsey (eds), Cambridge Ancient History vol. 12: The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337 (Cambridge: 2005).

• P. Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom (Oxford: 1966).

• V. Burrus (ed.), Late Ancient Christianity (Minneapolis: 2005).

• M. Edwards, Christians, Gnostics and Philosophers in Late Antiquity (Farnham: 2012).

• W. Jaeger, Early Christianity and the Greek Paideia (London: 1969).

• G. Karamanolis, The Philosophy of Early Christianity (Durham: 2013).

• W.A. Löhr, “Christianity as Philosophy,” Vigiliae Christianae 64 (2010), 160-88.

• E. Osborne, The Beginning of Christian Philosophy (Cambridge: 1981).

• C. Stead, Philosophy in Christian Antiquity (Cambridge: 1994).

• F. Young, L. Aures, and A. Louth (eds), Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (Cambridge: 2004).

Ancient Christianity Episodes:

Posted on: 04 November 2012

Peter surveys Christian philosophy in the Roman empire, looking ahead to major figures like Origen and Augustine.

10,139 views
6 comments
Posted on: 11 November 2012

Irenaeus, Clement, and Justin Martyr struggle to define Christian orthodoxy and claim philosophy back from the Greeks.

7,469 views
7 comments
Posted on: 18 November 2012

Origen, greatest of the Greek Church Fathers, sets out a stunning theory of human redemption as he marries philosophical rigor to theological speculation.

7,110 views
2 comments
Posted on: 25 November 2012

Basil of Caesarea, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus use philosophy to help the poor and to defeat their theological opponents.

6,917 views
5 comments
Posted on: 02 December 2012

Neoplatonism is fused with Christianity by the pseudonymus author known as Dionysius. Peter looks at his Divine Names, a monument to God’s transcendence.

7,409 views
9 comments
Posted on: 09 December 2012

Maximus the Confessor brings us to the brink of the medieval Byzantine period with his philosophical defense of Christ’s full divinity and full humanity.

6,675 views
16 comments
Posted on: 16 December 2012

Christian ascetics like Antony, Macrina and Evagrius create a new ethical ideal by pushing the human capacity for self-control to its limits.

7,059 views
5 comments
Posted on: 23 December 2012

George Boys-Stones joins Peter to discuss philosophy in the Bible and the Greek Church Fathers.

6,363 views
5 comments
Posted on: 30 December 2012

The Latin church fathers Tertullian, Lactantius, Jerome, and Ambrose discuss soul, ethics, and the dangers of Hellenic philosophy.

6,359 views
Posted on: 06 January 2013

Augustine’s life story is related in the Confessions, a work that combines autobiography, theology, and metaphysical discussions of the nature of time.

8,717 views
Posted on: 13 January 2013

In On the Teacher and On Christian Doctrine, Augustine argues that language cannot produce knowledge and explains how to interpret Scriptural language.

6,710 views
Posted on: 20 January 2013

Augustine attempts to reconcile human freedom with God’s foreknowledge and his own claim that we need divine grace to avoid sin.

6,851 views
25 comments
Posted on: 27 January 2013

In his City of God Augustine traces the histories and philosophical underpinnings of two “cities,” one devoted to worldly glory, the other to heavenly bliss.

7,739 views
8 comments
Posted on: 03 February 2013

Peter speaks with Sarah Byers about the Stoic influence on Augustine's ethics and theory of action.

5,989 views
8 comments
Posted on: 10 February 2013

Augustine explores the nature of the human mind in order to establish its similarity to, and dissimilarity from, the divine Trinity.

6,038 views
11 comments
Posted on: 17 February 2013

In a final episode on Augustine, Charles Brittain joins Peter to discuss the theory of mind presented in "On the Trinity".

5,573 views
3 comments
Posted on: 24 February 2013

Apuleius, Victorinus, Martianus Capella, Macrobius and Calcidius present and interpret Platonic teachings for readers of Latin.

5,702 views
4 comments
Posted on: 03 March 2013

Boethius ushers in the medieval age with expert works on Aristotle, subtle treatises on theology, and the Consolation of Philosophy, written while he awaited execution.

5,832 views
6 comments
Posted on: 10 March 2013

John Marenbon joins Peter to discuss Boethius' solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge.

5,300 views
14 comments