Platonism and the soul in Christianity


#1

Hi,

It is my impression, that Christianity inherited a lot of the dualism of the body from Plato, and to me it appears that this is where the teaching of man’s soul comes from. The OT seems more holistic… or perhaps even materialistic.

The OT could be read as if man was nothing but his body, the breath of God being simply breath etc. Further, the OT speaks mainly of material peace, justice, riches etc. for those that trust in God.

Of course this may have to do with “development of doctrine”, but wouldn’t that make Plato a sort of prophet? Although the Church didn’t accept Platonism in its entirety, it seems to rely a lot on Platonism (especially in the earlier centuries).

The idea for instance, that the soul can live without a body… wouldn’t it be considered folly by for instance Abraham?

  • CB

#2

I don’t think that we inherited it from Plato as much as received it directly from Jesus.

Your assessment of OT Jewish is essentially correct I think (from discussions with Orthodox Jewish friends) and they would indeed take issue with it.

When one considers the source of Christian teaching the first step is to look at our own sources, right?

Similarity of belief does not equate to sameness of source.


#3

[quote=Contrabass101]It is my impression, that Christianity inherited a lot of the dualism of the body from Plato, and to me it appears that this is where the teaching of man’s soul comes from. The OT seems more holistic… or perhaps even materialistic.
[/quote]

The possibility is there. But this does not draw a necessary cause and effect between Platonism and Christianity. Therefore the notion is a post hoc ergo propter hoc error in logic.

[quote=Contrabass101]Of course this may have to do with “development of doctrine”, but wouldn’t that make Plato a sort of prophet?
[/quote]

What does ‘development of doctrine’ mean?

Remember the 99th sheep please? God may have been preparing the Greeks for the advent of the Gospels.

[quote=Contrabass101] Although the Church didn’t accept Platonism in its entirety, it seems to rely a lot on Platonism (especially in the earlier centuries).
[/quote]

But the lion’s share has been Aquinas on the receiving end of Aristotle.


#4

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