We leave behind the great philosophers of Greece, Plato and Aristotle, and move forward into the period often called the 'Age of Hellenism,' that is, the age of Greek influence in the larger Mediterranean world. The conflict between Plato and Aristotle remained unresolved, and the subsequent thinkers contented themselves with lesser concerns, much as the Sophists had done in an earlier time.
The first of the major Hellenistic philosophies was Epicureanism, founded by Epicurus in Athens in the year 306. Epicurus developed a fairly elaborate system of balancing pleasure against pain, in the belief that there is only material existence, and at the end of life we pass back into personal oblivion.
The other important philosophy of the time was Stocism, which is introduced in this lesson, but will occupy more of our attention in the next presentation. Stoicism also despaired of answers to great metaphysical questions, focusing rather on issues of personal discipline and balance.
When the Apostle Paul visited the city of Athens in the fall of the year 51 a.d., he was confronted by the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers who inquired about the 'new' teaching offered by the Jewish traveler. His sermon represents the only recorded presentation of the gospel to a pagan audience, and may be found in Acts chapter 17.
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.