Whose Fall? What Hellenism? Christianity’s Fall into Hellenistic Philosophy Revisited
Many scholars have demonstrated the flaws in the claim that Christians sold out to Hellenistic philosophy soon after the apostles’ death. However, these same scholars have failed to account for the pervasive intuition that something was indeed troubling in this period. This paper argues that instead of a falling into Hellenistic philosophy, some in the early church were subtly seduced by scientia. The use of philosophy as a legitimate and helpful tool for Christian intellectual engagement with all of life soon led to the metastasis of philosophy from its position as a tool in the pursuit of Gospel ends to an end itself. By the middle of the 5th century, a particular metaphysic was enshrined as the measure of the catholic, apostolic faith delivered once for all, thereby demanding that right speech and thought about God must be philosophical. It is argued that this shift is not a natural outworking of biblical principles but alien to them. Philosophy has its place in Christian intellectual engagement and proclamation, but it cannot take the centre without drastic and detrimental consequences.