(In continuation to my 'Introduction To Medieval
Philosophy'- on page no.2, sl. no.38.)
* PART- I *
ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY:
Following the barbaric invasions by the Visigoths,
the Ostrogoths, Vandals and the Huns, -
The complete disintegration of the great Roman
Empire had begun!
There prevailed in the minds of men despondency
and total confusion;
Emergence of Christianity with its all embracing
Ushered in a new dawn of hope in the prevailing
gloom of depression!
The new faith struck a popular chord in people’s
mind and heart,
Where by leading a virtuous life with faith and love,
One could gain eternal salvation and blessings from
the Heavens above!
By the 4th Century AD, the newly emerging religion
Had established itself firmly in the Roman world, -
Forming a part and parcel of Medieval History!
PERIOD OF EVANGELISATION
The first evangelists were Paul of Tarsus,
Who along with Simon Peter and James the Just,
And authors of the four gospels of Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John, -
Had laid the foundations of Christian Religion!
Many other evangelists followed to preach the
Spreading the words of God and the good new
Christianity had gradually made its dent on the
Through its catholic approach, its message of
salvation, and by winning many converts!
It had grown from the soil of Judaism in the Holy
Land of Jerusalem,
And preached the gospel of a Father-God to all
Spoke of a God who was all merciful, kind and
Who forgave and embraced all repenting sinners;
Irrespective of their status, creed or cast!
A God who loved all His children alike,
Promising redemption for the entire Mankind!
Initially Greek philosophy and the Christian
Appeared incongruous and did not blend!
When the Apostolic Fathers of the first and
early second centuries,
Tried to formulate a new Christian philosophy, -
By incorporating elements from Plato and Neo-
platonic pagan philosophy!
They had faced many controversial heresies and
Before the doctrines for the emerging Church
could finally emerge, -
To become crystallized and be set in motion!
Persecutions of Christians:
Out of fifty-four Roman Emperors who ruled
between 30 and 311 AD,
Twelve of them are known to have persecuted
Christians and attacked Christianity!
During 64 AD persecutions first began by the
mad King Nero,
Culminating in the martyrdom of Apostles Peter
and Paul, -
Which turned them into instant national heroes!
All subsequent persecutions took a dramatic turn,
By making all Christian believers even more
resolute and firm!
This made Latin Apologist Tertullian exclaim, -
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”;
Which became an important proverbial adage!
Roman Concept of ‘piety’:
For the Romans, religion was first and foremost
a social activity,
For promoting loyalty to the state and preserving
Proper ‘piety’ to their established Gods helped
them to maintain,
The well being of their people and their vast
Empire to sustain, -
Against all impending disasters till the very end!
The new religion of Christianity was looked
upon with great suspicion,
Their homage to an unknown God while seeking
As an alien, detrimental and a ‘superstitious’
For in those days the word ‘superstitious’ had
a negative connotation!
And finally when the great Roman Empire
crumbled during the 5th century AD,
The Romans blamed it on the new religion of
But power had gradually shifted from their
Empire to the Church,
And transformation of the world had begun!
THE CHURCH FATHERS
The ‘Church Fathers’ is a broad generic term, -
Embracing all Christian writers and theologians
They constitute the first 800 years of Church
While Jesus formed the cornerstone of the Church;
The Apostles and the Fathers formed it’s very
structure and bulwark;
On which the Church got built to sustain itself
for eons to come!
The period has been further sub-divided for the
sake of clarity;
Commencing with the Apostolic Fathers of the
Followed by the later Fathers – the Apologists!
The period during which these fathers wrote, -
Is also referred to as the Patristic Period;
Since ‘patristic’ is a term derived from the Latin
word ‘pater’, meaning ‘father’, -
Such a nomenclature did make proper sense!
Since the writers of this period interpreted the Bible
so as to defend, -
Against the challenges faced from the pagan Greek
thoughts and heretical movements!
They also elaborated on the theological concepts
of Trinity and Salvation;
While establishing the initial structure of the
Church and its Organization!
Medieval Theological Schools:
These Schools began to flourish from mid - second
Brought into existence by the conflict between pagan
Philosophy and Christianity!
There were three important Schools of thoughts;
Located in Western North Africa, Alexandria,
and in Antioch!
The Alexandrian School had existed from the
1st century AD,
As an established center of Greek Philosophy!
Was closely associated with the philosophy of
Being the birthplace of Neoplatonism and the
Jewish philosopher Philo.
Its prominent writers were Clement, Origen, and
Didymus the Blind;
Their interpretation of the scriptures were often of
allegorical kind, -
And emphasized the divinity of Jesus Christ!
Antioch was a Greek-speaking city, located in
modern day Turkey;
Mentioned in the New Testament – Acts, as a
center of Christianity.
Important fathers were Diodore of Caesarea,
Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus.
They emphasized the moral and humane aspect
of Lord Jesus;
Interpreted the scriptures highlighting its historical
While Aristotle’s work to them had made better
Western North African School included the
famous city of Carthage,
Which rivaled the city of Rome in those ancient
It’s theologians were Cyprian, Tertullian, and
later the great Augustine;
They all wrote in Latin, and were more practical
oriented in their times! (Continued on page 4, sl. no.68,
-the concluding portion of Part- I.)
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**This is in continuation to my 'Introduction To Medieval
Philosophy'- on page no.2. Thanks for reading!
-Raj Nandy, New Delhi
11 March 2010
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.