In the view of many people, classical philosophy and the Christian doctrine are similar disciplines. It is because in both cases, people are engaged in cognitive activity, comprehend the secrets and laws of the world, and find accurate and reliable answers to their questions. This division in accordance with the principle of the religious component may seem legitimate since people who are close to faith practice theology, and those who do not accept the idea of Christianity hold philosophical views.
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However, this feature is not as formal as it seems at a glance. Some fundamental differences exist between the philosophy of classical antiquity and the Christian-based philosophy. In order to give examples of these peculiar features, first, it is essential to describe the basic principles of each of the two philosophical concepts activity. The distinctive features between the two concepts described are in the tools of knowledge, in particular, the subject, methods, and the ways of achieving the truth. The evaluation of these approaches may allow identifying key differences between the two philosophical doctrines and drawing conclusions regarding the basic ideas of these disciplines.
The Primary Differences Between the Two Areas of Philosophy
The philosophy of classical antiquity is a special form of interpreting the world. It developed the system of knowledge about the most common characteristics, ultimately generalizing concepts, the fundamental principles of reality, and the relationship of the human and the world (Plato, 1892/2016). The objectives of this philosophy included the study of both the world’s and society’s development and the process of thinking itself. Also, arguments concerning the moral categories and values were given by the representatives of the ancient school.
The Christian-based philosophy is the systematic presentation and interpretation of exclusively religious teachings and dogmas. It is a set of techniques involved in the substantiation and protection of God’s doctrine, his activities in the world, and his revelation, as well as related concepts and the forms of worship. The object of the description in this work is the Christian-based trend since religious directions are unique for each individual faith. To distinguish between the two concepts, such features will be analyzed as the subject of knowledge, the methods of searching for the truth, and ways of interpreting the final results of research. These are the peculiarities that differ in the two considered doctrines and serve as a means of substantiating their specific approaches to the explanation of dogmas.
The Subject of Knowledge
For the Christian-based philosophy in its cognitive activity, God is primary; therefore, sometimes, this discipline is called God’s knowledge. The worlds of nature, humans, and society are also in the field of attention, but these spheres are secondary to divine powers. For an ancient philosopher, the world perceived by human senses was in the first place. Preferences were given to different aspects – the natural world, the human, and society. Knowledge also was the subject of ancient philosophical research, but higher powers were secondary to the world. The God presented by ancient philosophers was a speculative structure based on specific ideas about nature, man, society, and thinking (Plato, 1892/2016).
In Christianity, the human is the creature of God who is made in the image and likeness of the higher mind; in ancient philosophy, the perception of God was in the image and likeness of the human. Formally, these two directions may have common objects of knowledge, in particular, human essence. Nevertheless, the Christian-based philosophy views it as a divine projection, and ancient doctrine considers it the manifestation of the unique combination of thought processes that can make each individual unusual.
The Method of Knowledge
The method of knowledge in the Christian-based philosophy relies on the Divine Revelation that can be supernatural and universal. The first type is given as a miracle, and the second one is in the form of the Sacred Scripture. In this concept of philosophy, self-knowledge is a typical feature. This method of perception could also be utilized by ancient thinkers. However, unlike theology, in traditional philosophy, self-knowledge was not accompanied by the work of the human in one’s correction.
The ancient Greek principle of self-knowledge was the typical feature of thinkers’ teachings. It became the basis of various concepts based on the understanding of personal mission and role in society. The methods of knowledge were empirical – observation, experiment, measurement, comparison, and logical thinking (Plato, 1892/2016). Consequently, information was processed by using such techniques as analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, classification, formalization, and modeling.
Ancient philosophers always felt that such a set of methods was not sufficient to comprehend the metaphysical secrets that were beyond the boundaries of human knowledge. Therefore, they preferred practical methods, while the supporters of the Christian-based philosophy resorted to the spiritual principles of understanding specific concepts.
The Ways of Achieving the Truth
The third difference concerns the presence or absence of the special ways of achieving the truth as the primary object of study. The results of ancient philosophical searches, as a rule, did not have a final authoritative and formal assessment, and it led to the emergence of a large number of theories and opinions. Thinkers themselves sought to rule out false ideas that were expressed in mutual criticism. However, as Plato (1892/2016) notes, in such confrontations, there was usually no single right side since each of the rationales had a certain background. Despite the fact that the choice of a particular concept was individual, there were no clear criteria for selection because the formation of a philosophical idea was new and unfamiliar to ancient citizens.
In the Christian-based doctrine, the results of creative searches have a final assessment. It may not necessarily be positive, and critical and sharply negative reviews are not uncommon. The ideas of theological concepts undergo thorough selection and legalization procedures, and only after their approval, they become accessible to people. This approach essentially distinguishes the Christian-based philosophy from the ancient one and is more orderly.
The differences between the philosophy of classical antiquity and the Christian-based philosophy lie in the subject of knowledge, its methods, and the ways of searching for the truth. The evaluation of specific approaches allows receiving a comprehensive picture of these two doctrines’ basic terms and identifying the key theories supported by their proponents. According to the information provided, it can be concluded that ancient philosophers concentrated on the knowledge of the human as the central essence of the universe, while the representatives of the Christian idea viewed the person in the context of the divine principle. These differences give an opportunity to determine the primary ways of implementing specific ideas and research methods.
Plato. (2016). Symposium. (B. Jowett, Trans.). Los Angeles, CA: Enhanced Media. (Original work published 1892).