RE: Do animals ever "sin" (was something else)

From: Tom Pearson (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 17:38:23 EST

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    At 12:03 PM 2/7/02 -0500, Jan de Koning wrote:

    >Seeking the counsel in history is good, but then you should not go to the
    >earliest Christian philosophers, but to early "theologians" like Paul,
    >Peter, John, etc. The earliest Christian philosophers were more going
    >back to Aristotle than to Plato. They certainly were not very unified in
    >their thinking. Also, Dogmatics only started in the second century, not
    >in the first century. Right from the start they had rather severe
    >disagreements: Origines contra Celsus. (I looked that up again.)

    Two quick points: Origen is a third century Christian apologist; and his
    disagreement with Celsus was not a dispute between Christians, since Celsus
    was a pagan -- the thrust of *Contra Celsus* is a Christian apologetic
    directed against an unbeliever.

    And one more substantial point, I think: The recommendation to return to
    the earliest Christian theologians (such as Paul, Peter, John, etc.) does
    not at all liberate us from the influence of Greek thought. Israel at the
    time of Jesus had been under Greek and Roman occupation for more than 300
    years; the Jews, in varying degrees (depending on the particular sectarian
    Jewish group), were a thoroughly Hellenized people. It is no stretch of
    the imagination to see that the first century AD Christians were already
    possessed of a basic Greek worldview, and indeed, there is a good deal of
    evidence pointing to this. For starters, take a look at the research of
    Martin Hengel and his school, available in several books by Hengel from as
    early as the 1970s. From what I can tell, the evidence continues to mount
    for a deep Hellenistic influence on the writers and the text of the New
    Testament. The pluriform character of Greek thought does not suddenly
    emerge within Christianity during the second century A.D. -- it has been
    there all along.

    Tom Pearson

    Thomas D. Pearson
    Department of History & Philosophy
    The University of Texas-Pan American
    Edinburg, Texas

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