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Providence, Dualism, and Will in Later Greek and Early Christian Philosophy
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Is God involved? Why do bad things happen to good people? What is up to us? These questions were explored in Mediterranean antiquity with reference to ‘providence’ (pronoia). In Did God Care? Dylan Burns offers the first comprehensive survey of providence in ancient philosophy that brings together the most important Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac sources, from Plato to Plotinus and the Gnostics.

Burns demonstrates how the philosophical problems encompassed by providence transformed in the first centuries CE, yielding influential notions about divine care, evil, creation, omniscience, fate, and free will that remain with us today. These transformations were not independent developments of ‘Pagan philosophy’ and ‘Christian theology,’ but include fruits of mutually influential engagement between Hellenic and Christian philosophers.
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“Salvation” is a concept drawn from Jewish and Christian Scripture which addresses the post-mortem fate of individuals and the transformation of the cosmos they inhabit. The relationship between the worldly and otherworldly senses of salvation, as well as that between the salvation of the individual versus the world, is one of unresolved tension, the negotiation of which is integral to the color and development of religious traditions. One might then be able to speak of “salvation” from a cross-cultural perspective, identifying analogues such as al-fawz, mokṣa, and the Western Heaven. This was recognized by Max Weber in his famous comparative sociology of the “salvation religions,” and is borne out by the widespread salvific phenomenon of millenarianism. Modern theology focuses increasingly on terrestrial existence, and it is here that soteriological discourse remains relevant in the face of a secular culture that has de-emphasized societal concern about one’s salvation after this life. ⸙

in Vocabulary for the Study of Religion Online
in Textual History of the Bible Online
in Textual History of the Bible Online
in Textual History of the Bible Online
in Textual History of the Bible Online
in Textual History of the Bible Online