Ireneaus & Greek Philosophers
Ireneaus & Greek Philosophers
St. Irenaeus of Lyons is called the “Father of __________.”
Who was the Saint who was a mentor to Irenaeus and sent him out to be a
missionary? Irenaeus later wrote the account of his martyrdom.
Irenaeus used sarcasm to address the fantastic “myths” created by the Gnostics to
explain religious mysteries. He said he could do the same thing by coming up with silly
names for religious terms. Give one example of a silly name he used.
Irenaeus pointed out that Mary was the New ________.
Irenaeus wrote that the _____________ is the pledge of our Resurrection.
Tertullian believed reason was a necessary part of faith, otherwise we would wrongly
believe in the absurd. True or false?
What did Tertullian mean when he quipped, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
Tertullian compared the blood of martyrs to a _________ which caused the Church to
Tertullian was gentle and soft-spoken. True or false?
Tertullian first used the word ___________ in referring to God in Christian Theology.
Tertullian became a heretic. What was the name of the heresy he embraced?
Tertullian’s famous “Apology” quoted, “See how the ___________ love one another?!”
Extra credit: Give an example of one of the ‘spectacles’ which Tertullian spoke against.
St. Irenaeus of Lyons
• 2nd century AD – c. 202
• was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then
a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyon,
• While Irenaeus was in Rome, a
massacre took place in Lyons.
Returning to Gaul, Irenaeus succeeded
the martyr Saint Pothinus and became
the second Bishop of Lyon.
• He was an early church father and
apologist, and his writings were
formative in the early development of
Oral Tradition Says He Was Martyred
• Father of Theology
• He was a hearer of Polycarp, who in turn was a
disciple of John the Evangelist.
• Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was
brought up in a Christian family rather than
converting as an adult.
• Irenaeus' best-known book, Adversus Haereses
or Against Heresies (c. 180) is a detailed attack
on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat
to the Church, and especially on the system of
the Gnostic Valentinus.
• Note: Gnosticism = Platonism run amuck!
• probable that he ended his career with
And a VERY brief look at their
concept of “The Soul and/or God”
• one of the most famous and controversial ancient pre-Socratic
Greek philosophers, lived from ca. 570 to ca. 490 BCE.
• He spent his early years on the island of Samos, off the coast of
• At the age of forty, however, he emigrated to the city of Croton
in southern Italy and most of his philosophical activity occurred
• Pythagoras wrote nothing, nor were there any detailed accounts
of his thought written by contemporaries.
• By the first centuries BC, moreover, it became fashionable to
present Pythagoras in a largely unhistorical fashion as a semidivine figure, who originated all that was true in the Greek
philosophical tradition, including many of Plato's and Aristotle's
• A number of treatises were forged in the name of Pythagoras
and other Pythagoreans in order to support this view.
• Historically, Pythagoras means much more that the
familiar theorem about right triangles. The philosophy
of Pythagoras and his school has impacted the very
fiber of mathematics and physics, even the western
tradition of liberal education no matter what the
• Pythagorean philosophy was the prime source of
inspiration for Plato and Aristotle; the influence of
these philosophers is without question and is
• Indeed, Pythagoras regarded himself as a mystic and
even semi-divine. Said Pythagoras
"There are men, gods, and men like Pythagoras."
PYTHAGORIAN SCHOOL OF
• Pythagoras set up an organization which was in some
ways a school, in some ways a brotherhood (and here it
should be noted that sources indicate that as well as
men there were many women among the adherents of
Pythagoras), and in some ways a monastery.
• It was based upon the religious teachings of Pythagoras
and was very secretive.
• The adherents were bound by a vow to Pythagoras and
each other, for the purpose of pursuing
the religious and ascetic observances, and of studying
his religious and philosophical theories.
• Their whole discipline is represented as encouraging a
lofty serenity and self-possession
Pythagoras succeeded in promulgating a new
more optimistic view of the fate of the soul after
death and in founding a way of life that was
attractive for its rigor and discipline and that drew
to him numerous devoted followers.
• Pythagoras' religious and scientific views
were, in his opinion, inseparably
interconnected. Religiously, Pythagoras was a
believer of metempsychosis – which means:
• He believed in transmigration, or the
reincarnation of the soul again and again
into the bodies of humans, animals, or
vegetables until it became immortal. (Thus
he was a vegetarian!)
• His ideas of reincarnation were influenced by
ancient Greek religion.
• Pythagoras claimed that he had lived four
previous lives that he could remember in
• Pythagoras was famous
• (1) as an expert on the fate of the soul after
death, who thought that the soul was immortal
and went through a series of reincarnations;
• (2) as an expert on religious ritual;
• (3) as a wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold
and who could be two places at the same time;
• (4) as the founder of a strict way of life that
emphasized dietary restrictions, religious ritual
and rigorous self discipline.
THE THREE BIG GUYS!
All three set the foundation for
KNOW THIS: For the early Greek
philosophers, God was not the name
of a Person but was a common noun.
Not God, but “god.” This word
described being at the highest level.
• 469-399 BC
• Classical Greek
• Founded Western
• known chiefly through
the accounts of later
• Sentenced for corrupting
the minds of youth and
• Martyred by being forced
to drink poison.
• From Plato’s, “The Apologies” (of Socrates) we
find that Socrates proclaimed himself as
“Apollo’s Gift to the People.” To speak against
him would be to speak against Apollo.
• Saw himself as kind of philosophical prophet.
Didn’t really admit, though to following Apollo.
Thus he was condemned to death for being an
• Definitely believed in the “supernatural.” Not
• Pointed more to a importance of a virtuous life.
• 424-348 BC
• Philosopher and
• Student of Socrates
• Wrote philosophical
• Founded a
philosophical school –
the Academy in
THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS - RAPHAEL
• Plato spoke of "the gods,” or "the god,” in some cases of
"god", but then in the same way we would talk of "man",
using the word as a generic name.
• He tried to approach the question of “god” from different
angles and give partial complementary (and not
contradictory) answers, both negative (what gods are not,
what we should not believe) and positive (what we may
safely believe about gods and the divine, and questions of
"origins" and "ends").
• Theorized the “cosmos” to find in it traces of an
• Always said he was looking for traces of truths in myths –
not establishing doctrines!
• In it, you will find not "God", but a "demiurge", that is a
"worker“ (etymologically, demiourgos means "one who
works for the demos, that is for the people"), which is
immortal by nature but works from a model and has to deal
with necessity. The demiurge is the artificer of the world.
• Though he does not seem to be the maker of "place" and
matter, he is the maker of time, "a moving image of eternity",
and of "lower" gods, that are only immortal by his will.
• These gods represent the immortal living creatures that are
needed to have all sorts of creatures in the kosmos. They
are the makers of man as the "host" of a divine soul
(the logos) handed them by the demiurge. But you will also
read that the kosmos is often referred to as a "god",
endowed with a soul.
Student of Plato
one of the most important
founding figures in
• Wrote on many topics
• Founded philosophical
school called the “Lyceum”
• In his book called, “Metaphysics,” he discussed
the meaning of "being as being."
• In the metaphysical order, the highest
determination of Being is what he calls,
“Actuality” – it is perfect, the fullness of being.
• Potentiality is imperfect being. (Lacks fullness)
• God is the Supreme Cause, in whom there is no
imperfection, and, therefore, no potentiality. God
is all actuality.
What About Those Sophists?
• Around since before the time of Homer.
Definitely before the time of the “big three.”
• The term originated from Greek sophizo
meaning "I am wise.“
• In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of
teachers who specialized in using the tools of
philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of
teaching aretê — excellence, or virtue —
predominantly to young statesmen and nobility.
• The practice of charging money for education
(and providing wisdom only to those who can
pay) led to the condemnations made by
Socrates (through Plato in his dialogues).
• Hellenization (or Hellenisation) is the historical
spread of ancient Greek culture, philosophy, art
and, to a lesser extent, language, over foreign
peoples conquered by Greece or brought into
its sphere of influence.
• It was a notable trait of ancient Greek
civilization, an approach to other cultures that
was not merely invasive or dominant but
• The result of Hellenization was that elements of
Greek origin combined in various forms and
degrees with local elements.
• The Greek culture was so open that it was also
affected by other cultures as well.
• Jesus had contact with Greek culture.
• Christianity became extremely Hellenized in the
wake of his death. The New Testament was
written in Greek, and many early Christians were
proselytes, Greek-speaking Gentiles who
followed Jewish cultic practices without
• The sophistication of Pauline theology, the
Johannine books (the Gospel and Revelation of
John which spoke of the concept of the
LOGOS), and the writings of the early apostolic
fathers up to and including Augustine of Hippo
were deeply influenced by Greek philosophy and
the Hellenized intellectual climate of the Roman
• After the fall of Rome the Byzantine
Empire was ethnically Greek,
religiously Christian, and the inheritors of
both classical Greek culture and the
Roman right of rule.