The Christian era began with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was not a philosopher, but his followers soon found themselves in a conversation with the philosophical traditions that had come down from Greek thinkers. Plato and Aristotle had left in their wake an unresolved tension between rationalism and empiricism, and in some important respects, the Christian movement offered a synthesis of that tension.
Plato insisted on an eternal and unchanging world of forms, which he believed necessary to make sense out of the world of experience and change. Augustine would eventually locate Plato's world of forms in the mind of God, and he agreed that it was only this great divine reason that made thought and knowledge possible.
Aristotle, on the other hand, emphasized the world of nature, science, observation, believing that Plato's world of forms was too speculative. This empirical emphasis of Aristotle was also satisfied by Christ, who was viewed by Christians as the eternal become temporal and earthly. The apostle wrote, 'That which was from the beginning (eternal, rational) which we have seen (temporal, empirical)...' The gap between Plato and Aristotle was bridged by God becoming man, and western philosophy reflected that synthesis from then on.
This wide ranging course starts with the pre-Socratic philosophers of the ancient world, and traces the history of philosophical speculation across the ages up to the present. Included along the way is special attention to the greatest Christian thinkers in history, including Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and many others.