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Christian Platonism
A History


Alexander J. B. Hampton, John Peter Kenney, Lloyd Gerson, John Dillon, Daniel J. Tolan, Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Kevin Corrigan, Olivier Boulnois, Rudi A. te Velde, Mark Edwards, John Peter Kenney, Lydia Schumacher, Torstein Tollefsen, Stephen Gersh, Cecilia Muratori, Mario Meliadò, Derek A. Michaud, Douglas Hedley, Joshua Levi Ian Gentzke, Andrew Davison, Jacob Holsinger Sherman, Richard Viladesau, Charles Taliaferro, Catherine Pickstock, Stephen Clark
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  • Date Published: December 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108491983

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About the Authors
  • Platonism has played a central role in Christianity and is essential to a deep understanding of the Christian theological tradition. At times, Platonism has constituted an essential philosophical and theological resource, furnishing Christianity with an intellectual framework that has played a key role in its early development, and in subsequent periods of renewal. Alternatively, it has been considered a compromising influence, conflicting with the faith's revelatory foundations and distorting its inherent message. In both cases the fundamental importance of Platonism, as a force which Christianity defined itself by and against, is clear. Written by an international team of scholars, this landmark volume examines the history of Christian Platonism from antiquity to the present day, covers key concepts, and engages issues such as the environment, natural science and materialism.

    • Chapter by chapter introduces the key concepts of Christian Platonism, allowing readers to gain a strong grasp of sometimes difficulty concepts
    • Offers a history of Christian Platonism, with each period treated by an expert in the field
    • Considers key issues, such as the environment, religion and science, and the meaning of art thus demonstrating the role Christian Platonism plays in central philosophical and ethical debates
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ''What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?' Tertullian famously asked. For every Christian thinker like Tertullian or Adolph Harnack who questioned the relation between Platonism and Christianity, there have been at least dozen others who have welcomed Platonism in its many varieties as an invaluable conversation partner in the effort to express the inner meaning of Christian faith and its commitment to transcendence. Christian Platonism: A History is a bold and comprehensive study of the interaction of the Platonic tradition and Christian thought over the past two millennia. More than twenty essays by noted scholars explore the concepts, the history, and the implications of Christian Platonism in a stunning new contribution to a perennial issue.' Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago Divinity School

    'It is hard now to remember that just a few decades ago it was generally assumed that a 'dePlatonising' of Christianity was desirable. Today, the intimate relationship between Christianity and something broadly 'Platonic' from the outset is often seen as ineradicable and essential. Moreover, a deepening comprehension of this relationship is regarded as one key to a creative development of Christian theology and practice in the future. The essays in this splendid volume by a glittering array of distinguished scholars and thinkers explain exactly why.' John Milbank, University of Nottingham

    'This comprehensive collection of essays elucidates why Jerusalem cannot leave Athens behind. The superb quality of Hampton and Kenney's book witnesses to the continuing relevance of the participatory ontology of the Christian tradition.' Hans Boersma, Nasthotah House Theological Seminary

    'Far from considering Christian Platonism a mere stepchild, skirting the bounds of theological doctrine with remarkable spiritual fervor, this volume embraces and explores its richness as a font and wellspring of organic wisdom. I warmly recommend it.' Willemien Otten, University of Chicago Divinity School

    'This book is a most welcome contribution to the burgeoning scholarly literature on Christian Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism is the longest and most enduring tradition in the history of philosophy and yet perhaps the most neglected. The Neoplatonic principle that all things are one in the One, that itself is Goodness beyond being, has inspired philosophers, theologians, and poets, and provided the very framework for the Christian tradition (and also heavily influenced Judaism, Islam and even later Indian thought). This edited volume, by internationally acclaimed scholars addresses this neglect with a comprehensive treatment, explaining in a readable manner the central concepts, themes of Neoplatonism and its engagements with science, religion and the arts.' Dermot Moran, Boston College

    'This wonderful book will be of use to scholars and students for many years to come … Highly recommended.' A. Jaeger, Choice

    'Gratitude is due to the editors for their attempts to weave the history of Christian Platonism into a larger tapestry depicting the history of Platonic thought within the Abrahamic traditions.' Sean Hannan, Reading Religion

    'This dense volume is very welcome …' Ilaria L. E. Ramelli, The Thomist

    '… timely and instructive … an absolute must-read for advanced students and scholars in theology and philosophy.' Paul M. Gould, Religious Studies Review

    'The volume traces Christian reception of both Plato as well as subsequent philosophical iterations of Platonic-inspired schools … It is an intimidating task for any volume of collected essays to undertake. But the book does a wonderful job of capturing the scope of such a project by distinguishing three primary areas for reflection: the conceptual, the historical, and the topical … I cannot recommend this volume enough for its scholarly erudition. After one finishes Christian Platonism, one wishes only for its continuation.' Jessica L. D. Jones, Review of Metaphysics

    '… a carefully conceived and commendably executed systematic exploration of a diverse, complex and vibrant tradition within Christianity: magnificent.' Robin Parry, Modern Believing

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108491983
    • length: 512 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 162 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.88kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Christianity and Platonism Alexander J. B. Hampton and John Peter Kenney
    Part I. Concepts:
    1.1 The perennial value of platonism Lloyd Gerson
    1.2 The ideas as thoughts of God John Dillon and Daniel J. Tolan
    1.3 The one and the trinity Andrew Radde-Gallwitz
    1.4. Creation, begetting, desire, and re-creation in Christian platonism Kevin Corrigan
    1.5 The concept of theology Olivier Boulnois
    1.6 Participation: Aquinas and his Neoplatonic sources Rudi A. te Velde
    Part II. History:
    2.1. The Bible and early Christian platonism Mark Edwards
    2.2 Platonism and Christianity in late antiquity John Peter Kenney
    2.3 The development of Christian platonism in the medieval west Lydia Schumacher
    2.4 Christian platonism in Byzantium Torstein Tollefsen
    2.5 Renaissance Christian platonism and ficino Stephen Gersh
    2.6 Northern renaissance platonism from Cusa to Böhme Cecilia Muratori and Mario Meliadò
    2.7 Christian platonism in early modernity Derek A. Michaud
    2.8 The counter-enlightenment and romantic platonism Douglas Hedley
    2.9 Christian platonism and modernity Joshua Levi Ian Gentzke
    Part III. Engagements:
    3.1 Christian platonism and natural science Andrew Davison and Jacob Holsinger Sherman
    3.2 Christian platonism, nature and environmental crisis Alexander J. B. Hampton
    3.3 Art and meaning Richard Viladesau
    3.4 Value, dualism and materialism Charles Taliaferro
    3.5 Christian love and platonic friendship Catherine Pickstock
    3.6 Multiplicity in Earth and heaven Stephen Clark

  • Editors

    Alexander J. B. Hampton, University of Toronto
    Alexander J. B. Hampton is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto, specialising in metaphysics, poetics and nature. He is the author of Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion (Cambridge, 2019) and co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Religion and the Environment.

    John Peter Kenney, Saint Michael's College, Vermont
    John Peter Kenney is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Saint Michael's College. He is the author of Mystical Monotheism: A Study in Ancient Platonic Theology (1991), The Mysticism of Saint Augustine: Rereading the Confessions (2005), Contemplation and Classical Christianity: A Study in Augustine (2013), and On God, the Soul, Evil, and the Rise of Christianity (2018).


    Alexander J. B. Hampton, John Peter Kenney, Lloyd Gerson, John Dillon, Daniel J. Tolan, Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Kevin Corrigan, Olivier Boulnois, Rudi A. te Velde, Mark Edwards, John Peter Kenney, Lydia Schumacher, Torstein Tollefsen, Stephen Gersh, Cecilia Muratori, Mario Meliadò, Derek A. Michaud, Douglas Hedley, Joshua Levi Ian Gentzke, Andrew Davison, Jacob Holsinger Sherman, Richard Viladesau, Charles Taliaferro, Catherine Pickstock, Stephen Clark

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