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Western (Helenic) Philosophy

Path: Philosophy Western Helenic Philosophy

Western philosophy is the philosophical thought of the Western ( Occidental ) world. It is distinct from Eastern ( Oriental ) philosophies as well as other varieties of indigenous philosophies.

Historically, the term was recently invented to refer to the philosophical thinking of Western civilization, beginning with Greek philosophy in ancient Greece.

Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy that was developed in the Hellenistic civilization following Aristotle.

Originally the term "philosophy" was applied to all intellectual endeavours. For example, Aristotle studied subjects that would now be called biology, meteorology, physics, and cosmology, alongside his metaphysics and ethics.

I would contend that science retains an unbroken and unbreakable link to philosophy.

Some would contend that; in Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy. However, I would contend that Christianity help to spread Hellenistic philosophy under the name Christianity (Medieval philosophy).

Christian philosophy, in the 4th century AD, caused a steady decline in the natural science philosophical schools. Christianity (Medieval philosophy) was concerned mainly with ethics and religion.


"The Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher Philo Judaeus combined Greek philosophy, particularly Platonic and Pythagorean ideas, with Judaic religion in a comprehensive system that anticipated Neoplatonism and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim mysticism. Philo insisted on the transcendent nature of God as surpassing human understanding and therefore indescribable; he described the natural world as a series of stages of descent from God, terminating in matter as the source of evil. He advocated a religious state, or theocracy, and was one of the first to interpret the Old Testament for the Gentiles."


The Works of Philo [Hardcover]

While it would not be correct to say that Philo's works have been "lost"—scholars have always known and used Philo—they have essentially been "misplaced" as far as the average student of the Bible is concerned. Now the translation of the eminent classicist C. D. Yonge is available in an affordable, easy-to-read edition, with a new foreword and newly translated passages, and containing supposed fragments of Philo's writings from ancient authors such as John of Damascus. The title and arrangement of the writings have been standardized according to scholarly conventions.

A contemporary of Paul and Jesus, Philo Judaeus, of Alexandria, Egypt, is unquestionably among the most important writers for historians and students of Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity. Although Philo does not explicitly mention Jesus, or Paul, or any of the followers of Jesus, Philo lived in their world. It is from Philo, for example, that we learn about how, like the Gospel of John, Jews (and Greeks) in the Greco-Roman world spoke of the creative force of God as God's Logos. Philo, too, employs interpretive strategies that parallel those of the author of Hebrews. Most scholars would agree that Philo and the author of Hebrews are drawing from the same, or at least similar, traditions of Hellenistic Judaism. With these kind of connections to the world of Judaism and early Christianity, Philo cannot be ignored.

The Works of Philo


Trinity of Plato

An Investigation of the Trinity of Plato and of Philo Judaeus: And of the Effects Which an Attachment to Their Writings Had Upon the Principles and ... of the Fathers of the Christian Church (1853) [Paperback]

An Investigation of the Trinity of Plato and of Philo Judaeus: And of the Effects Which an Attachment to Their Writings Had Upon the Principles and ... of the Fathers of the Christian Church (1853)


A Companion to Aristotle (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy) [Hardcover]

The Blackwell Companion to Aristotle provides in-depth studies of the main themes of Aristotle's thought, from art to zoology.

  • The most comprehensive single volume survey of the life and work of Aristotle
  • Comprised of 40 newly commissioned essays from leading experts
  • Coves the full range of Aristotle's work, from his 'theoretical' inquiries into metaphysics, physics, psychology, and biology, to the practical and productive "sciences" such as ethics, politics, rhetoric, and art

A Companion to Aristotle (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy)




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