Christian philosophy

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For the branch of theology which uses philosophical methods to analyze theological concepts, see Philosophical theology. For the branch of theology which aims to present a rational defense for the Christian faith, often using philosophical methods, see Christian apologetics.

Christian philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.


There is no record of any written works produced by Jesus. Nor is there a record of any systematic philosophy or theology written by him.

Saul of Tarsus (later Paul the Apostle or St. Paul) was a Jewish Roman citizen who wrote a number of epistles, or letters, to early churches in which he taught doctrine and theology. In some ways he functioned in the manner of the popular marketplace philosophers of his day (Cynics, Skeptics, and some Stoics). A number of his speeches and debates with Greek philosophers are recorded in the Biblical Book of Acts, and his epistles became a significant source for later Christian philosophies.

Hellenistic philosophy and early Christian philosophy[edit]

Hellenism is the traditional designation for the Greek culture of the Roman Empire in the days of Jesus, Paul, and for centuries after. Classical philosophies of the Greeks had already expired and diluted beyond recognition except for small bands of continuators of the traditions of the Pythagoreans, of Plato, and Aristotle (whose library was lost for centuries). The new philosophies of the Hellenistic world were those of the Cynics, Skeptics, and increasingly the Stoics; it's these philosophers who bring us into the world of Hellenistic philosophy. Slowly, a more integral and rounded tendency emerged within Hellenism, but also in certain respects in opposition at times to it in regard to one philosophical problem or another, or an ensemble of problems. Here are some of those thinkers most closely associated with Hellenistic Christian philosophies, listed more or less in chronological order:

Medieval Christian philosophy[edit]

Renaissance and Reformation Christian philosophy[edit]

In most cases, these writers reference something in an earlier philosopher, without adding to the ongoing problem-historical shape of Western philosophical knowledge. Between Calvin, and Arminius, born four years before Calvin's death, a Protestant Scholasticism took from various loci and authorities of the Western Middle Ages. It begins already with Luther's colleague Philip Melancthon, who turned from Luther's sola Scriptura to philosophical theology; but Protestant Scholasticism's Reformed variants are diverse. There were no real alternatives until Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven in the last century.

Modern Christian philosophy[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

19th and early 20th century[edit]

Contemporary philosophy[edit]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]