School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications


The Encounter of the Early Church with the Greek and Roman World: A View from Monastic Theology

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Arts and Humanities | Christianity | History of Christianity | Religion


I have been asked to use a particular perspective, that of monasticism, to look at how early Christianity understood its relation to Greco-Roman culture. In some geographical and linguistic regions the influence of Greco-Roman culture may have been attenuated, but it was never absent, particularly among the literate. The monastic writings of the fourth and fifth centuries display the full range of attitudes toward Greek and Roman understandings of the cosmos, and the place of human beings within it, that can be found in the larger pool of Christian literature.