Ethos and Logos : A Second-Century Debate Between “Pagan” and Christian Philosophers 1

Ethos and Logos : A Second-Century Debate Between “Pagan” and Christian Philosophers 1 This essay analyses the most significant sources—some overlooked so far—on the debate on ethos and logos that was lively between “pagan” and Christian philosophers in the second century ce . Epictetus’s attribution of a behaviour based on ethos to the Christians should not be regarded as utterly negative, but should rather be connected with his teacher Musonius’s high appreciation of ethos , even over logos . Marcus Aurelius’s and Celsus’s negative attitude toward Christianity as an obstinate, irrational habit can be explained by the possible influence of Montanism, while the Syriac apology to Marcus ascribed to Melito reacts to anti-Christian accusations of irrationality by attaching logos to the Christians and a behaviour based on a bad ethos to “paganism”—the same as was done by Clement of Alexandria, one of the Christian intellectuals most committed to demonstrating the rationality of Christian belief. Literary problems related to the apology are tackled, and parallels are pointed out with both Justin and Bardaisan, two other Christian Platonists who attempted to construe Christianity as philosophy. Galen’s judgment about the Christians shows interesting parallels with, and differences from, that of Epictetus. For both intellectuals an engagement with Christian doctrines of creation is argued for (this is usually admitted in the case of Galen, but not in that of Epictetus). Another second-century anti-Christian accusation of the lack of logos is the charge of onolatry. Lucian’s attitude toward the Christians is showed to be less simplistic than generally believed: he allowed for the ascription of logos and a certain intellectual development to Christianity and its founder. But for Christians to claim that the Logos was on their side, they had to develop a theology of the Logos, which identified Jesus Christ with God’s Logos. This operation, anticipated by Philo and Hellenistic Judaism, started from the Prologue of John and was continued by Justin, most Valentinians, Clement, and especially Origen, and then by the Patristic philosophy which depended on Origen. Thanks to Origen, who was deeply respected by “pagan” philosophers too, Christianity could no longer be charged with being a religion for irrational people. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Vigiliae Christianae Brill

Ethos and Logos : A Second-Century Debate Between “Pagan” and Christian Philosophers 1

Vigiliae Christianae, Volume 69 (2): 123 – Mar 6, 2015

Loading next page...
 
/lp/brill/ethos-and-logos-a-second-century-debate-between-pagan-and-christian-S8cFHYlbXr
Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0042-6032
eISSN
1570-0720
D.O.I.
10.1163/15700720-12341205
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay analyses the most significant sources—some overlooked so far—on the debate on ethos and logos that was lively between “pagan” and Christian philosophers in the second century ce . Epictetus’s attribution of a behaviour based on ethos to the Christians should not be regarded as utterly negative, but should rather be connected with his teacher Musonius’s high appreciation of ethos , even over logos . Marcus Aurelius’s and Celsus’s negative attitude toward Christianity as an obstinate, irrational habit can be explained by the possible influence of Montanism, while the Syriac apology to Marcus ascribed to Melito reacts to anti-Christian accusations of irrationality by attaching logos to the Christians and a behaviour based on a bad ethos to “paganism”—the same as was done by Clement of Alexandria, one of the Christian intellectuals most committed to demonstrating the rationality of Christian belief. Literary problems related to the apology are tackled, and parallels are pointed out with both Justin and Bardaisan, two other Christian Platonists who attempted to construe Christianity as philosophy. Galen’s judgment about the Christians shows interesting parallels with, and differences from, that of Epictetus. For both intellectuals an engagement with Christian doctrines of creation is argued for (this is usually admitted in the case of Galen, but not in that of Epictetus). Another second-century anti-Christian accusation of the lack of logos is the charge of onolatry. Lucian’s attitude toward the Christians is showed to be less simplistic than generally believed: he allowed for the ascription of logos and a certain intellectual development to Christianity and its founder. But for Christians to claim that the Logos was on their side, they had to develop a theology of the Logos, which identified Jesus Christ with God’s Logos. This operation, anticipated by Philo and Hellenistic Judaism, started from the Prologue of John and was continued by Justin, most Valentinians, Clement, and especially Origen, and then by the Patristic philosophy which depended on Origen. Thanks to Origen, who was deeply respected by “pagan” philosophers too, Christianity could no longer be charged with being a religion for irrational people.

Journal

Vigiliae ChristianaeBrill

Published: Mar 6, 2015

Keywords: ethos ; logos ; Epictetus; Musonius; Lucian; Galen; Celsus; Marcus Aurelius; Montanism; Syriac apology to Marcus Aurelius; Justin; Bardaisan; Clement of Alexandria; Origen; Gregory Nazianzen; Logos theology

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off