Physikos kai Theologikos Logos


Thomas F. Torrance, "Physikos kai Theologikos Logos: St Paul and Athenagoras at Athens," Scottish Journal of Theology 41 (1988): 11-26; #1988-502


Torrance, Thomas F. "Physikos Kai Theologikos Logos: St Paul and Athenagoras at Athens." Scottish Journal of Theology 41, no. 1 (1988): 11-26; #1988-502

Publication life cycle / General notes

Later published as Chapter 2 in Divine Meaning, #1995-588d.


In the early Christian treatise Peri tes anastaseos ton nekron, written in the last quarter of the second century, Athenagoras of Athens drew a distinction between two kinds of theological discourse or argument (logos), ‘on behalf of the truth’ (huper tes aletheias) and ‘concerning the truth’ (peri tes aletheias), in which he clearly had in mind St Paul's missionary address to the Athenians on Mars' Hill. Owing to its nature discourse concerning the truth is of primary importance for it provides necessary knowledge of the actual subject-matter, while discourse on behalf of the truth is of secondary importance for it does not establish the truth but is useful in opening the way for it by removing the undergrowth of false and hostile opinion. It is in this light that Athenagoras' two extant works are to be appreciated, Presbeia ton Christianon which is admittedly of an apologetic nature, and Peri tes anastaseos ton nekron in which he offered a reasoned account of the truth of the resurrection.

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