Hellenistic Influence

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HELLENISTIC INFLUENCE On Hebrew and Christian Scripture

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On Hebrew and Christian Scripture. Hellenistic Influence. Hellenistic Era. dates about from the death of Alexander 323 BCE for about 500 years to the early centuries CE overlapped Roman expansion. Empire of Alexander the Great. Jewish and Christian literature. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Hellenistic Influence

Page 1: Hellenistic Influence


On Hebrew and Christian Scripture

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Hellenistic Era dates about from the death of Alexander

323 BCE for about 500 years to the early centuries CE

overlapped Roman expansion

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Empire of Alexander the Great

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Jewish and Christian literature

During this period, the last books of the Hebrew Bible were written, along with the entire New Testament, and a large body of noncanonical Jewish and Christian literature

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Pre-existing ideas influence Christian scripture Greek-speaking converts interpreted

Jesus’ significance in parallel ways to some pre-existing Greek ideas and traditions

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koinē Greek, the common international

language of the era Hebrew Bible translated into koinē in

250 BCE

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Septuagint Greek edition of the Hebrew Bible used

by Diaspora Jews and by early Christian movement

The New Testament was produced in koinē (Greek)

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“philosophy” means ‘love of wisdom’ New Testament writers combine

Jewish heritage + Greek philosophical concepts

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Socrates Athens, circa 469-399 BCE regarded human life as an ongoing

quest for truth, a pilgrimage toward the unseen world of eternal spirit

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parallels with Jesus Using humor, Socrates cross examined

artisans, teachers, and politicians, irritating many

He had some devoted followers He was executed for criticizing the ethical inadequacy of

his opponents’ policies and practices Neither left anything in writing; message

depended on disciples

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Plato, disciple of Socrates circa 427-347 BCE, made his teacher

the hero of a series of philosophical dialogues in which a saintly and humorous Socrates always out-argues and outwits his opponents

Separating Plato’s ideas from those of Socrates is difficult; (same with Jesus, and what his disciples wrote)

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Dualism For Plato, the duality of the physical,

imperfect world and a perfect world of eternal ideas

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Stoicism emphasizes the order and moral

purpose of the universe. Reason is the divine principle that gives

coherence and meaning to our complex world.

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Paul as example of stoicism Stoic teaching urges the individual to

listen to the divine element within, to discipline both body and mind to attain a state of harmony with nature and the universe. . . .

noble indifference to both pleasure and pain. . . .endure personal gain or loss with equal serenity . . .

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Paul echos Stoic values Paul’s self discipline and ability to

endure want or plenty, echo Stoic values commonplace in Greco-Roman society

“I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11-13)

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Logos means ‘word’, A cosmic intelligence that unifies the

world and makes it intelligible to the human intellect.

Human souls are sparks of the divine Logos.

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Jesus as logos “In the beginning was the Word, and the

Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us . . .” John 1:1,14

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Epicureanism Asserts that everything is completely

physical, including the soul, which after death dissolves into nothingness;

gods may exist, but have no contact or interest in humanity

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Roman Empire 30 BCE-14 CE

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Herod’s territory circa 4 CE