“The Golden Age of Patristics”: Hellenophonic Patristic Discourse in the 4th–6th Centuries


  • Д. С. Верланов Полтавський національний технічний університет ім. Юрія Кондратюка
Keywords: Arianism, epistemology, the gift of reasoning, Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, moral ascetic literature, self-knowledge, triadology

Abstract

In the early 4th century the Roman Empire suffered a number of important socio-political changes. TheEdict of Milan (313), having recognised in full the existence of the Church and its rights for worship, declaredreligions toleration, and put the end to the era of persecutions, but at the same time actualised and reinforced thestruggle of ideas between Christians and pagans. This controversy between Christians and pagans contributedimmensely to process of the becoming of Christian intellectual culture. In order to answer the most burningquestions and challenges of the time, the fathers of the Church deepened understanding and interpretation ofthe message of the Bible, created a large moral and ascetic literature, designed the dogmatic system. The mainpurpose of the present study is to specify the origins and main directions of patristic thought. In order to dothis I examine how fathers of the Church solve complex philosophical and theological issues, focusing on theepistemic aspect of the issue.According to the patristic tradition, the first step to acquire the true knowledge is to cleanse the self fromevery impurity of sin and passions. It is attained through keeping God’s commandments and maintaining asceticefforts. The sign of correct spiritual growth is a specific ability to penetrate into nature of things, which thefathers call “διάκρισις”. The fathers of the Church and Christian writers of the epoch recognise this ability asa religio-intuitive. One who receives this gift of divine grace becomes able of self-knowledge, distinguishingbetween good and evil, and understanding of the will of God. A Christian who possesses it becomes fully awareof personal spiritual condition, and as a result becomes capable to make the right choice of the way of salvation.There are two sources of the knowledge of God: natural (from the experience of being into the world) andsupernatural (divine revelation). The cognitive process therefore has two major aspects: sensual and speculative.The senses allow knowing God from his creation, as the mind or intellect enables man to contemplating ofincorporeal. The latter aspect enables one to self-knowledge or introspection and contemplation of the mind orsoul, which has been created in the image and likeness of God.The clarification of the Hellenophonic patristic discourse in 4th–6th centuries, on a large scale, allowsreconstructing another important phenomenon of this period, known as the “Golden Age” of Patristics.

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Published
2019-08-28
How to Cite
Верланов, Д. (2019). “The Golden Age of Patristics”: Hellenophonic Patristic Discourse in the 4th–6th Centuries. Grani, 22(6), 22-30. https://doi.org/10.15421/171960
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