Real Hellenistic Corruption of Christianity

Here’s another interesting angle on the notion held by many Protestants that the Church Fathers considered en masse supposedly failed to recognize Hellenistic influences on their formulation of the Faith:

While they tend to subordinate the Logos to God the Father, the pre-Nicene Fathers emphasize that the Logos belongs to uncreated, divine reality. He is not an intermediate being between God and his creation. For the Fathers, Christ is our mediator, but not in the Arian sense of a being who is below God but above humanity. The Arian conception of Christ as neither truly God nor truly man but an ontological in-between is a false Hellenization of Christianity. Platonism, in its various forms, postulated the existence of such a mediator because it could not accept a direct contact or union between the Transcendent Divine Reality and Creation. For the Fathers, the Arian conception distorts the mediation of Christ. How can Christ join together God and humanity if he is in himself neither fully divine nor fully human? In their view, the true humanity and the transcendent divinity of Christ, joined together, are the metaphysical basis for his mediation. In the Fathers’ view Christ’s humanity becomes the way through which we reach his divinity.:”(Roch A. Kereszty, O.Cist., Jesus Christ: Fundamentals of Christology.:”[New York: Society of St. Paul, 2002], pg. 202.)”:

Perhaps providentially, I happened to read this passage from Father Roch’s book only a day after seeing Dr. Leithart’s post Real Hellenist Stand Up, which covers the same subject of the Hellenizing aspect of Arianism and not patristic orthodoxy, from a fuller perspective. This all reminds me of having read in Meyendorff’s Christ and Eastern Christian Thought a discussion of how one of the major items on the agenda of the Fifth Ecumenical Council was precisely to purge out the Hellenism that had in some respects crept in via the teachings of Origen. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s not like the Fathers were so much children of their age that they simply couldn’t see the forest of “biblical” religion for the trees of “Hellenism.”

For me, the evidence continues to mount that certain radical formulations of “antithesis-speak” held by many Reformed people, with its deep suspicion of what it calls “Greek thinking” as contrasted with “biblical thinking,” is more or less a reactionary program that is insufficiently acquainted with both real Greek thinking and real patristic thinking.

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