Witch Craze

Jeffrey Burton Russell, who identifies himself as a “lapsed atheist,” has spent most of his career writing about Satan and hell. His most recent book is a history of the modern “mislaying” of heaven. Early in the book, he points out that “The ‘decline of . . . . Continue Reading »

Plato’s forms

In his “Hortatory Address,” Justin claims that Plato’s theory of forms came from a misreading of the tabernacle texts of Exodus: “And Plato, too, when he says that form is the third original principle next to God and matter, has manifestly received this suggestion from no . . . . Continue Reading »

Types and Shadows

As Hugo Rahner made clear in his classic study of the patristic uses of Greek myth, the church fathers saw Christ anticipated not only in the OT but in ancient literature and philosophy generally. Some examples: In Plato’s Republic (2, 361d-e), Glaucon describes the perfectly just man as one . . . . Continue Reading »


In his “Hortatory Address to the Greeks,” Justin Martyr argued that the disagreements among Greek philosophers undermined their reliability, while the unity of the apostolic witness, and the witness of their successors, was evidence that Christianity came from God. “Since . . . . Continue Reading »

Hegel and Hermes again

In the aforementioned book, Magee enumerates the following parallels between Hegel and Hermeticism: 1. Hegel holds that God’s being involves “creation,” the subject matter of his Philosophy of Nature. Nature is a moment of God’s being. 2. Hegel holds that God is in some . . . . Continue Reading »

Hermeticism and gnosticism

In his book on the hermeticist Hegel, Magee gives this helpful sketch of the differences between gnosticism and hermeticism: “Gnosticism and Hermeticism both believe that a divine ‘spark’ is implanted in man, and that man can come to know God. However, Gnosticism involves an . . . . Continue Reading »

Hegel and Hermes

In a 2001 book (Cornell), Glenn Magee argues that Hegel must be understood as a hermetic thinker. Hegel claims to have moved beyond the ancient notion of philosophy as “pursuit of wisdom” to an absolute knowledge that is simply identical with wisdom. As Magee says, “Hegel’s . . . . Continue Reading »

MacIntyre on Heroic virtue

In After Virtue , Alasdair MacIntyre provides a neat discussion of the virtue and selfhood in Greek antiquity. The unity of ARETE, virtue, “resides . . . in the concept of that which enables a man to discharge his role,” and refers to “excellence of any kind,” whether in a . . . . Continue Reading »

Logos: Harmony and Recipe

One Marc Cohen of the University of Washington, offers this account of the “logos” of Heraclitus in an online lecture outline: First, “There is an orderly, law-governed process of change in the universe. (Compare fragment 80 with Anaximander, who equates strife with injustice; for . . . . Continue Reading »

Life of Heraclitus

Some selections from Diogenes Laertius’ “Life of Heraclitus, from his “Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers: “He was above all men of a lofty and arrogant spirit, as is plain from his writings, in which he says, ‘Abundant learning does not form the mind; for if . . . . Continue Reading »