Date of Award

8-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Kristina Passman

Second Committee Member

Jay Bregman

Third Committee Member

Gerard NeCastro

Abstract

The intellectual developments of late antiquity had a profound influence on how the divine nature would be understood by later Christian thinkers. Of particular significance are Plotinus’ (204-270 CE) Neoplatonic elaborations of the Greek Philosophers and the works of the church fathers Tertullian (160-225 CE) and Origen (184/185 - 253/254 CE). Both Neoplatonism and the Trinitarians arrived at strikingly similar articulations of the divine nature, a fact which is explored at length in an effort to trace the influences which led individuals from such different ideological backgrounds to arrive at so similar an understanding of the divine. As a result, the works of the Classical Greek philosophers and the Hellenistic thinkers who followed, with a particular emphasis on Plato’s (428/427 - 348/347 BC) Timaeus, Aristotle’s (384 - 322 BC) Metaphysics, and the writings of the Stoics, are explored at some length, as is the religiously toned philosophy of Philo Judaeus (25-15 BCE- 45-50? CE). In this paper the similarities between these distinct metaphysical articulations of the nature of the divine reality are highlighted while their differences are explored and maintained.

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