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Winter Term: Platonism & Christianity

| Platonism & Christianity | 6 weekly classes | from Monday 17 June, 2024 | in Lonsdale St (+online) |

Hermes Trimegistus giving the Egyptian Law to Moses (Siena Cathedral)

Hellenistic culture had been transforming Jewish society already for three centuries up to the time of Christ. Soon after that, Judaism took a sharp turn back to its roots, while Hellenistic Judaism disappeared. Or did it? We might say that it thrived – thriving as Christianity.

Join us from Monday 17 June for Platonism and Christianity where we explore the extent to which Christianity began as a Hellenistic religion, and then discover the ingenious modes of influence by which Platonism and neo-Platonism shaped its theology and mythology during its first six centuries.

Autumn Salon

| Afternoon tea | 3pm Saturday, 27 May 2023 | in Brunswick | RSVP essential for attendance | UPDATE: Video Recording of John Oppy’s talk | UPDATE: Transcript |

Basil, John & Greg from the Eastern Church

Our salon to celebrate the end of the Autumn Term will kick-off with a talk by one of our students, John Oppy. John will speak about early Christian Platonism, comparing developments in the East with those in the West.

Members, students, past students, family and friends are all welcome. RSVP essential for attendance.


A remedy for enthusiasm: why modern science could not be Platonic

Where I grew up, priests were not the least bit interested in philosophy, nor the history of ideas. Then I met the Orthodox. Then I met the Rumanian-trained Orthodox priest Doru Costache, author of Humankind and the Cosmo.

Doru took an interested in my thoughts on why Western science became separated from theology, and why modern science could never be Platonic.

In this video I explain how, paradoxically, the only science permissible in the Middle Ages was atheistic science. I then explain the political threat posed by the revival of the Platonic “enthusiastic” attitude to science during the Renaissance. The story finishes with the Royal Charter won by a society for the advancement of science during the restoration of the British monarchy in the 1660s. This is where atheistic science was successfully re-marketed as a remedy for the religious enthusiasm that was threatening the spiritual authority of the state Church during the civil war. This marketing model was both hostile to Platonism and very successful, and very successful it was when exported onto continental Europe as integral to what we now call “The Enlightenment.”