Does It Make Sense to Speak about a “Hellenization of Christianity” in Antiquity?

Church History and Religious Culture
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  • 1 Humboldt-Univerität zu Berlin;, Email: christoph.markschies@rz.hu-berlin.de

Abstract

In this paper, delivered as the First Annual Lecture in Patristics of the Centre for Patristic Research (CPO), the author poses the question whether it still makes sense to speak about a Hellenization of Christianity in Antiquity. In contrast to the nineteenth-century understanding, it is shown that many of today's authors claim that we need to avoid any intellectual and ideological narrow-mindedness. The author pleads for a precise manner in defining the term “Hellenization” much more than the scholars of the nineteenth century did. Against the background of these thoughts he refines his own definition of the Hellenization of Christianity as a specific transformation of the Alexandrian educational institutions and of the academic culture that was developed in these institutions in the theological reflection of Early Christianity.

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