The famous historian Adolf Harnack once asserted, “The attempts at deducing the genesis of the Church’s doctrinal system from the theology of Paul, or from compromises between Apostolic doctrinal ideas, will always miscarry; for they fail to note that to the most important premises of the Catholic doctrine of faith belongs an element which we cannot recognise as dominant in the New Testament, viz., the Hellenic spirit.”*
And it is not that he sees this difference between Jewish and Greek thought as a minor divergence. He claims, “Judaism and Hellenism in the age of Christ were opposed to each other.”** Harnack’s thesis, I would suggest, still predominates today, even if heavily nuanced and rebuffed largely by Hengel.
Yet the idea that Greek thought with its metaphysical interest or abstracted language does not match the biblical idiom of the Bible is beyond false. [Read more…] about Hellenism Wasn’t Such a Bad Thing