"The Jews conceive God as an absolutely simple unity (inferring absolutely no constituent divisions)."
When Christianity started spreading, the leaders of thechurches were now Gentiles who had converted toChristianity. These people, for the most part, had beeneducated in Greek philosophies in their schools anduniversities. As educated persons, they of course wanted tofind a place for their new religious beliefs within thephilosophical framework they had already acquired. So whenthey read Hebrew Scriptures, they could not help injectingGreek philosophical meanings into them. The EncyclopediaBritannica says concerning Christian Platonist:
"They did not believe that truth could conflict with truth and were confident that all that was rationally certain in Platonicspeculation would prove to be in perfect accordance with theChristian revelation. Their unhistorical approach and unscholarly methods of exegesis of texts, both pagan and Christian, facilitated this confidence."
There was also the felt need of some Christians with Greek philosophical training to express Christianity in those terms,both for their own intellectual satisfaction and in order toconvert educated pagans.
What is needed today is to remove all the Greek influencefrom what is called modern day Christianity, and return to theChristianity that was preached by Jesus and his Apostles.This paper will cover almost all the major Patristic writingsleading up to Nicaea. Some writings have been left outbecause they had nothing to contribute to the topics at issue.The study of the writings of the so-called
"Fathers" (patres) of the Church"
Do not be confused.
in this sense does not mean
althoughmany of these individuals were priests. It also does notexactly mean
in the sense of
This was a standard usage in ancient andearly Christian times. In the first few centuries, the term
was primarily applied to the bishop, who had theprimary teaching role within the church. Gradually, the wordwas extended to include all early Christian writers who weretaken as representing the authentic tradition of the church.We will be concerned only with the Church fathers up to theCouncil of Nicaea in 325 AD.