Κατεύθυνση Αρχαία Ελληνική ΦιλολογίαLibrary of the School of Philosophy
Δημήτριος Καραδήμας, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Αρχαίας Ελληνικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Μυρτώ Γκαράνη, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια Λατινικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Αδαμαντίνη Κουμιώτου-Παπαδοπούλου, Λέκτορας Αρχαίας Ελληνικής Φιλολογίας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Η Επικούρεια Φιλοσοφία και τα κείμενα των Χριστιανών Απολογητών του 2ου αιώνα μ.Χ.
The Epicurean Philosophy and the Christian Apologetic Writings of the Second Century A.D.
The prevailing perception is often that there are only irreconcilable differences between the epicurean philosophy and the Christian religion and that this philosophical system was either neglected by the Church Fathers or it received negative reaction. Indeed, divergences can be found among the two sides and it is a fact that the epicurean ideas about the denial of divine providence, the mortality of the soul, but also the significance of the term ἡδονή to the epicurean ethics were rejected by the supporters of the Christian religion. However, the epicurean philosophy is mentioned in the writings of the Church Fathers and besides the negative criticism towards the above epicurean beliefs, there are also cases in which the epicurean theory of knowledge is being treated favorably.
This M.A. thesis aims to contribute to the research on the relationship of epicurean philosophy to Christian religion and the conduct of the Church Fathers towards the said philosophical system. Especially, this study examines the writings of the apologists of the 2nd century A.D. – Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch and Hermias. The apologists are the first Christian writers who undertook the confrontation of the accusations against the Christians and the presentation and the defense of the Christian preaches. Additionally, they had studied Greek philosophy and made use of it in their writings. Thus, it is of significant importance the investigation of the attitude of these writers towards the epicurean philosophy.
The purpose of this essay is double. The first aim is to display the existence of considerable and even non expected similarities between the philosophy of Epicurus and the Christian teaching through the comparative study of the epicurean sources and the apologetic writings. The second goal is to investigate the way in which the apologists reacted to the Epicureanism through the examination of the direct and the implicit references to the epicurean doctrine in their texts. It is established that the apologists were cognizant of the epicurean principles and adopted a critical stance against some of them, while others were evaluated in a positive manner. At any case the intention of the apologists was to present clearly and to defend the tenets of the Christian religion.
Main subject category:
epicurean philosophy, Christianity, apologists, soul immortality, divine providence, pleasure “ἡδονή”