Beyond faith and reason: epistemic justification in earliest Christianity

Author: Franek, Juraj
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2016, vol. 21, iss. 2, pp. 125-156
Extent
125-156
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
Much of the scholarly discussion pertaining to epistemological assumptions regarding the earliest Christian authors has been framed by a series of dichotomies, placing "faith" and "religion" on one side and "reason" and "philosophy" on the other. I argue in this paper that uncritical use of these hard-to-define and overly general concepts as blanket categories to analyse Christian writings from the first three centuries CE inevitably causes major methodological issues and could be seen as heuristically unjustified. I suggest that a more frugal approach may be initiated by reconceptualizing the traditional "faith" vs. "reason" dichotomy in terms of the concept of personal and impersonal epistemic justification.
Document
References:
[1] ANF: Ante-Nicene Fathers. (1867–1873). Ed. A. Roberts, & J. Donaldson. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

[2] Aristide di Atene, Apologia. (1988). Ed. C. Alpigiano. Firenze: Nardini Editore.

[3] Aristotle, Metaphysics. (1924). Ed. W. D. Ross. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[4] Athenagoras, Legatio & De resurrectione. (1972). Ed. W. R. Schoedel. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[5] Cicero, De natura deorum. (1933). Ed. W. Ax. Leipzig: Teubner.

[6] Clemens Alexandrinus, Le protreptique. (1949). Ed. C. Mondésert. Paris: Éditions du Cerf.

[7] Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromata. (1960‒1970). Ed. L. Früchtel, O. Stählin, & U. Treu. In Iidem (Eds.), Clemens Alexandrinus (Band 2, 3). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

[8] Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philosophorum. (1999). Ed. M. Marcovich. Leipzig: Teubner.

[9] DK: Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (2004‒2005). Ed. H. Diels, & W. Kranz. Zürich: Weidmann.

[10] Hechos apócrifos de los Apóstoles, I: Hechos de Andrés, Juan y Pedro. (2004). Ed. A. Piñero, & G. Del Cerro. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos.

[11] Hechos apócrifos de los Apóstoles II: Hechos de Pablo y Tomás. (2005). Ed. A. Piñero, & G. Del Cerro. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos.

[12] Homerus, Ilias (1998‒2000). Ed. M. L. West. Stuttgart–Leipzig–München: Teubner – K. G. Saur.

[13] Irenaeus, Epideixis & Adversus haereses I-V (1993‒2001). Ed. N. Brox. Freiburg–Basel: Herder.

[14] Justinus Martyr, Apologiae pro Christianis. (1994). Ed. M. Marcovich. Berlin–New York: Walter de Gruyter.

[15] Justinus Martyr, Dialogus cum Tryphone. (1997). Ed. M. Marcovich. Berlin–New York: Walter de Gruyter.

[16] Los evangelios apócrifos. (2006). Ed. A. De Santos Otero. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Christianos.

[17] Origen, Contra Celsum. (1965). Transl. H. Chadwick. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[18] Origenes, Contre Celse. (1967‒1969). Ed. M. Borret. Paris: Éditions du Cerf.

[19] Novum Testamentum Graecae. (1993). Ed. E. Nestle, B. Aland, K. Aland, & al. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

[20] NRSV: New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (2010). Ed. M. D. Coogan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[21] New Testament Apocrypha, I: Gospels and Related Writings. (2003). Ed. W. Schneemelcher, & R. McL. Wilson. Louisville–London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[22] New Testament Apocrypha, II: Writings Relating to the Apostles, Apocalypses and Related Subjects. (2003). Ed. W. Schneemelcher, & R. McL. Wilson. Louisville–London: Westminster John Knox Press.

[23] Tatianus, Oratio ad Graecos and Fragments. (1982). Ed. M. Whittaker. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[24] Tertullianus, Opera Catholica. Adversus Marcionem. (1954). Ed. E. Dekkers, & al. Turnhout: Brepols.

[25] Tertullianus, Opera Montanistica. (1954). Ed. A. Gerlo, & al. Turnhout: Brepols.

[26] The Acts of the Christian Martyrs. (1972). Ed. H. Musurillo. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[27] The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. (2007). Ed. M. W. Holmes. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

[28] Theophilus Antiochenus, Ad Autolycum. (1970). Ed. R. M. Grant. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[29] Aune, D. E. (1983). Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[30] Barcala, A. (1976a). «Con más razón hay que creer ...» (Un pasaje olvidado de Tertuliano). Estudios Eclesiásticos, 51(198), 347‒367.

[31] Barcala, A. (1976b). El antifilosofismo de Tertuliano y la fe como reconocimiento. Revista Española de Teología, 36(1‒2), 233‒250.

[32] Barnes, J. (1997). Raison et foi: Critique païenne et réponses chrétiennes. Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Philosophie (Studia Philosophica), 56, 183‒209.

[33] Bauer, J. B. (1970). Credo, quia absurdum (Tertullian, De carne Christi 5). In V. Flieder (Ed.), Festschrift Franz Loidl zum 65. Geburtstag (Vol. 1; pp. 9‒12). Wien: Hollinek.

[34] Beckaert, A. (1961). L'évolution de l'intellectualisme grec vers la pensée religieuse et la relève de la philosophie par la pensée chrétienne. Revue des Études Byzantines, 19, 44‒62. | DOI 10.3406/rebyz.1961.1242

[35] Bochet, I. (2008). Transcendance divine et paradoxe de la foi chrétienne: La polémique de Tertullien contre Marcion. Recherches de Science Religieuse, 96(2), 255‒274. | DOI 10.3917/rsr.082.0255

[36] Braun, R. (1971). Tertullien et la philosophie païenne: Essai de mise au point. Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Budé, 1(2), 231‒251. | DOI 10.3406/bude.1971.3143

[37] Bremmer, J. N. (2002). Magic in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. In J. N. Bremmer, & J. R. Veenstra (Eds.), The Metamorphosis of Magic from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period (pp. 51‒70). Leuven–Paris: Peeters.

[38] Chadwick, H. (1993). The Gospel a Republication of Natural Religion in Justin Martyr. Illinois Classical Studies, 18, 237‒247.

[39] Crépey, C. (2009). Marc Aurèle et Justin Martyr: Deux discours sur la raison. Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses, 89(1), 51‒77.

[40] Dal Covolo, E. (1998). Conoscenza «razionale» di Dio, contemplazione ed esperienza «mistica»: Ignazio di Antiochia, Clemente e Origene. In L. Padovese (Ed.), Atti del V Simposio di Tarso su S. Paolo Apostolo (pp. 237‒251). Roma: Istituto Francescano di Spiritualità & Pontificio Ateneo Antoniano.

[41] Dassmann, E. (2009). San Pablo en la primera teología cristiana hasta Ireneo. Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia, 18, 239‒257.

[42] De Vogel, C. J. (1978). Problems Concerning Justin Martyr: Did Justin Find a Certain Continuity between Greek Philosophy and Christian Faith? Mnemosyne, 31(4), 360‒388. | DOI 10.1163/156852578X00427

[43] Droge, A. J. (1987). Justin Martyr and the Restoration of Philosophy. Church History, 56(3), 303‒319. | DOI 10.2307/3166060

[44] Ehrman, B. D. (2009). Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible. New York: HarperOne.

[45] Ehrman, B. D. (2012). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York–Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[46] Farkasfalvy, D. (1968). Theology of Scripture in St. Irenaeus. Revue Bénédictine, 78, 319‒333. | DOI 10.1484/J.RB.4.00593

[47] Farmer, W. R. (1984). Galatians and the Second-century Development of the regula fidei. The Second Century: A Journal of Early Christian Studies, 4(3), 143‒170.

[48] Fee, G. D. (1987). The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[49] Félix, V. L. (2014). Las filosofías en la teología de Justino Mártir. Teología y Vida, 55(3), 435‒448. | DOI 10.4067/S0049-34492014000300002

[50] Ferguson, E. (2008). The Appeal to Apostolic Authority in the Early Centuries. Restoration Quarterly, 50(1), 49‒62.

[51] Ferguson, T. C. K. (2001). The Rule of Truth and Irenaean Rhetoric in Book 1 of "Against heresies". Vigiliae Christianae, 55(4), 356‒375. | DOI 10.1163/157007201X00025

[52] Fernández, P. S. (2004). Regulae fidei et rationis: Tradición, razón y Escritura en los primeros siglos. Teología y Vida, 45, 103‒121.

[53] Freeman, C. (2005). The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason. New York: Vintage.

[54] Freeman, C. (2009). A New History of Early Christianity. New Haven–London: Yale University Press.

[55] Frend, W. H. C. (2008). Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church: A Study of a Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus (corrected edition of the 1965 original). Cambridge: James Clarke & Co.

[56] Fumerton, R. (2002). Theories of justification. In P. K. Moser (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology (pp. 204‒233). Oxford–New York: Oxford University Press.

[57] Garland, D. E. (2003). Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: 1 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

[58] González, J. L. (1974). Athens and Jerusalem Revisited: Reason and Authority in Tertullian. Church History, 43(1), 17‒25. | DOI 10.2307/3164077

[59] Granger, H. (2007). Prose and Poetry: Xenophanes of Colophon. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 137(2), 403‒433. | DOI 10.1353/apa.2008.0000

[60] Grant, R. M. (1952). Miracle & Natural Law in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Thought. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Co.

[61] Guerra, A. J. (1991). Polemical Christianity: Tertullian's Search for Certitude. The Second Century: A Journal of Early Christian Studies, 8, 109‒123.

[62] Guthrie, W. K. C. (1962). A History of Greek Philosophy, I: The Earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[63] Hager, F.-P. (1978). Zur Bedeutung der griechischen Philosophie für die christliche Wahrheit und Bildung bei Tertullian und bei Augustin. Antike und Abendland, 24, 76‒84.

[64] Hägglund, B. (1958). Die Bedeutung der »regula fidei« als Grundlage theologischer Aussagen. Studia Theologica, 12(1), 1‒44. | DOI 10.1080/00393385808599786

[65] Hauck, R. J. (1988). "They Saw What They Said They Saw": Sense Knowledge in Early Christian Polemic. The Harvard Theological Review, 81(3), 239‒249.

[66] Havrda, M. (2012). Demonstrative Method in Stromateis VII: Context, Principles, and Purpose. In M. Havrda, V. Hušek, J. Plátová (Eds.), The Seventh Book of the Stromateis: Proceedings of the Colloquium on Clement of Alexandria (Olomouc, October 21–23, 2010) (pp. 261‒275). Leiden–Boston: Brill.

[67] Hefner, P. (1964). Theoretical Methodology and St. Irenaeus. The Journal of Religion, 44(4), 294‒309. | DOI 10.1086/485720

[68] Helm, P. (Ed.). (1999). Faith & Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[69] Jossa, G. (2003). La valutazione Cristiana dei Greci da Giustino a Ippolito. In P. Defosse (Ed.), Hommage à Carl Deroux, V: Christianisme et Moyen Âge, Néo-latin et survivance de la latinité (pp. 170‒179). Brussels: Latomus.

[70] Kaufman, P. I. (1991). Tertullian on Heresy, History, and the Reappropriation of Revelation. Church History, 60(2), 167‒179. | DOI 10.2307/3167523

[71] Kaufmann, W. (1958). Critique of Religion and Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

[72] Kee, H. C. (1986). Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[73] Kelhoffer, J. A. (1999). Ordinary Christians as Miracle Workers in the New Testament and the Second and Third Century Christian Apologists. Biblical Research: Journal of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research, 44, 23‒34.

[74] Kelhoffer, J. A. (2001). The Apostle Paul and Justin Martyr on the Miraculous: A Comparison of Appeals to Authority. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 42, 163‒184.

[75] Klibengajtis, T. (2004). Die Wahrheitsbezeichnungen des Clemens von Alexandrien in ihrem philosophischen und theologischen Kontext. Vigiliae Christianae, 58(3), 316‒331. | DOI 10.1163/1570072041718728

[76] Kollmann, B. (1996). Jesus und die Christen als Wundertäter: Studien zu Magie, Medizin und Schamanismus in Antike und Christentum. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

[77] Kollmann, B. (2011). Neutestamentliche Wundergeschichten. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

[78] Kühneweg, U. (1988). Die griechischen Apologeten und die Ethik. Vigiliae Christianae, 42(2), 112‒120. | DOI 10.1163/157007288X00020

[79] Labhardt, A. (1950). Tertullien et la philosophie ou la recherche d'une «position pure». Museum Helveticum, 7(3), 159‒180.

[80] Larmer, R. A. (2011). The Meanings of Miracle. In G. H. Twelftree (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Miracles (pp. 36‒53). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[81] Le Boulluec, A. (1999). Le rencontre de l'hellénisme et de la «philosophie barbare» selon Clément d'Alexandrie. In J. Leclant (Ed.), Cahiers de la Villa «Kérylos» N°9: «Alexandrie, une mégalopole cosmopolite» (pp. 175‒188). Paris: Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

[82] Löhr, W. (2000). The Theft of the Greeks: Christian Self-definition in the Age of Schools. Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique, 95(3), 403‒426.

[83] Lortz, J., & Manns, P. (Ed.). (1987). Erneuerung und Einheit: Aufsätze zur Theologie- und Kirchengeschichte aus Anlass seines 100. Geburtstages. Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag.

[84] Lössl, J. (2002). Der Glaubenbegriff des Klemens von Alexandrien im Kontext der hellenistischen Philosophie. Theologie und Philosophie, 77(3), 321‒337.

[85] Meunier, B. (2006). Paul et les Pères grecs. Recherches de Science Religieuse, 93(3), 331‒355. | DOI 10.3917/rsr.063.0331

[86] Moores, J. D. (1995). Wrestling with Rationality in Paul: Romans 1‒8 in a New Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[87] Morgan-Wynne, J. E. (1984). The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience in Justin Martyr. Vigiliae Christianae, 38(2), 172‒177. | DOI 10.1163/157007284X00169

[88] Morris, L. (1985). The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: 1 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[89] Moss, C. R. (2010). The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[90] Moss, C. R. (2012). Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions. New Haven–London: Yale University Press.

[91] Moss, C. R. (2013). The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. New York: HarperOne.

[92] Munier, C. (1988). La méthode apologétique de Justin le Martyr. Revue des Sciences Religieuses, 62(2), 90‒100.

[93] Nietzsche, F. (2005). The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols and Other Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[94] Osborn, E. (1994). Arguments for Faith in Clement of Alexandria. Vigiliae Christianae, 48(1), 1‒24. | DOI 10.1163/157007294X00113

[95] Osborn, E. (1997). Tertullian: First Theologian of the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[96] Peršić, V. (2005). Πίστις: Philosophical-scientific and Biblical-patristic Conception of Faith. Philotheos, 5, 154‒164. | DOI 10.5840/philotheos200559

[97] Piper, O. A. (1961). The Nature of the Gospel According to Justin Martyr. Journal of Religion, 41(3), 155‒168. | DOI 10.1086/485343

[98] Price, R. M. (1988). "Hellenization" and Logos doctrine in Justin Martyr. Vigiliae Christianae, 42(1), 18‒23. | DOI 10.1163/157007288X00291

[99] Pycke, N. (1961). Connaissance rationnelle et connaisance de grâce chez saint Justin. Ephemerides theologicae Lovanienses, 37, 52‒85.

[100] Rizzerio, L. (1998). L'accès à la transcendance divine selon Clément d'Alexandrie: dialectique platonicienne ou expérience de l'"union chrétienne"? Revue des Études Augustiniennes, 44, 159‒179.

[101] Scaglioni, C. (1972). «Sapientia mundi» e «Dei sapientia»: L'esegesi di I Cor. 1,18 ‒ 2,5 in Tertulliano. Aevum, 46(3‒4), 183‒215.

[102] Schoedel, W. R. (1959). Philosophy and rhetoric in the Adversus haereses of Irenaeus. Vigiliae Christianae, 13(1), 22‒32. | DOI 10.1163/157007259X00031

[103] Scott, I. W. (2009). Paul's Way of Knowing: Story, Experience, and the Spirit. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

[104] Sesboüé, B. (1981). La preuve par les Ecritures chez saint Irénée: À propos d'un texte difficile du livre III de l'Adversus haereses. Nouvelle Revue Théologique, 103(6), 872‒887.

[105] Sider, R. D. (1980). Credo quia absurdum? Classical World, 73(7), 417‒419. | DOI 10.2307/4349233

[106] Skarsaune, O. (1987). The Proof from Prophecy: A Study in Justin Martyr's Proof-text Tradition. Leiden: Brill.

[107] Stanton, G. R. (1973). Quid ergo Athenis et Hierosolymnis? Quid mihi tecum est? and τὶ ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί; Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, 116(1), 84‒90.

[108] Stockmeier, P. (1972). Zum Verhältnis von Glaube und Religion bei Tertullian. In F. L. Cross (Ed.), Studia patristica XI: Papers Presented to the 5. International Conference on Patristic Studies Held in Oxford 1967 (pp. 242‒246). Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.

[109] Swineburne, R. (2001). Epistemic Justification. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[110] Van der Loos, H. (1965). The Miracles of Jesus. Leiden: Brill.

[111] Van Winden, J. C. M. (1977). Le portrait de la philosophie grecque dans Justin, "Dialogue" I 4‒5. Vigiliae Christianae, 31(3), 181‒190.

[112] Wolfson, H. A. (1942). The Double Faith Theory in Clement, Saadia, Averroes and St. Thomas, and Its Origin in Aristotle and the Stoics. The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, 33(2), 213‒264.

[113] Wright, D. F. (1982). Christian Faith in the Greek World: Justin Martyr's Testimony. The Evangelical Quarterly, 54(2), 77‒87.

[114] Zimmermann, R. (Ed.). (2013). Kompendium der frühchristlichen Wundererzählungen, 1: Die Wunder Jesu. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus.

[115] Zuiddam, B. A. (2010). Early Orthodoxy: The Scriptures in Clement of Alexandria. Acta Patristica et Byzantina, 21(2), 307‒319. | DOI 10.1080/10226486.2010.11879132