Tertullian, the toughest and most uncompromising of early church fathers, once asked a question that is still with us today: What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? That is to say, is there— indeed, should there be—a meeting ground between the Judeo-Christian strain that proceeds out of Jerusalem and the Greco-Roman (humanist) strain that proceeds out of Athens As far as Tertullian was concerned, the answer to his question was simple: nothing. Nevertheless, despite Tertullian’s rejection of the link between Athens and Jerusalem, Christian thinkers for the past two millennia have continued to ponder his question. Can the basic tenets and chief embodiments of both Christianity and humanism be combined in a way that will pay homage both to the glory of God and the dignity of man, the truths of Christ and the wisdom of the ancients? What business does a Christian have devoting time and energy to reading works written by pagans who lacked the light of the Christian, or even the Jewish, revelation? Are not all the really important answers to be found in the Bible and the Sacred Tradition? Have not the pagan writers of the ancient world been so superseded by Christianity as to be irrelevant as sources of wisdom in the life of the believer?
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