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Contesting Aristotle: Science, Theology and the Resurrection of the Body in Methodius of Olympus’ De Resurrectione and the Dialogue of Adamantius

In: Vigiliae Christianae
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  • 1 Australian Catholic University95359Melbourne, VictoriaAustralia
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Abstract

The contest over the resurrection of the body used the scientific authority of Aristotle as ammunition on both sides. Past scholars have read Methodius of Olympus as displaying an anti-Aristotelian bias. In contrast, through close reading of the entire text with attention to characterization and development of argument, I prove that Methodius of Olympus’ dialogue the De Resurrectione utilizes Aristotelian biology as a morally neutral tool. To put this into higher relief, I compare Methodius’ dialogue with the anonymous Dialogue of Adamantius, a text directly dependent upon the Methodius’ De Resurrectione, but which rejects arguments based on scientific reasoning. Reading Methodius’ De Resurrectione with greater attention to the whole and putting it in the context of its nearest parallel text retells the traditional story of early Christian resistance to Aristotle. Methodius of Olympus’ characters, although they view scientific knowledge as subordinate to philosophy, see it as neutral in and of itself.

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