Christianity and the Classical Mind

You hear a lot about Tertullian’s outcry: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Less commonly heard are these words from Clement of Alexandria, perhaps because, like Tertullian, Clement went to some extremes. Like Tertullian. Anyway:

Before the Lord’s coming, philosophy was an essential guide to righteousness for the Greeks. At the present time, it is a useful guide towards reverence for God. It is a kind of preliminary education for those who are trying to gather faith through demonstration. “Your foot will not stumble,” says Scripture, if you attribute good things, whether Greek or Christian, to Providence. God is responsible for all good things: of some, like the blessings of the Old and New Covenants, directly; of others, like the riches of philosophy, indirectly. Perhaps philosophy too was a direct gift of God to the Greeks before the Lord extended his appeal to the Greeks. For philosophy was to the Greek world what the Law was to the Hebrews, a tutor escorting them to Christ. So philosophy is a preparatory process; it opens the road for the person whom Christ brings to his final goal. Solomon says, “Surround Wisdom with a stockade, and she will exalt you; she will shiled you with a rich crown,” since once you have fortifed her with a fence by means of the true riches of philosophy, you will keep her inaccesible to the sophists….

Every line makes for a good and profitable discussion.

What’s classical? Who’s classical? Whose classical? Huh?

This from a fascinating blog on classical education as it is defined since Dorothy Sayers and how Charlotte Mason understood it. So who’s really classical?

It is fascinating to me how we bandy about words like ‘classical,’ ‘education,’ liberal arts,’ and more, tossing them lightly into the air, taking them for granted, when if we stop to open them up, they are like treasure boxes or Faberge Eggs, full of tiny gems, rich meaning, and pictures, ideas, and a history we never realized.

For more, click here.