Mikhailov Petr

A Conception of Hellenisation of Christianity in the History of Theology

Mikhailov Petr (2017) "A Conception of Hellenisation of Christianity in the History of Theology ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 71, pp. 50-68 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201771.50-68


This article offers an analytical outline of historical and theological conception of “Hellenisation of Christianity”. It covers the period from the 16th to the 21st centuries and discusses the following: 1) establishment of the conception during confessional controversy between Catholics and Protestants (from the beginning of the Reformation till the beginning of the 19th century); 2) conceptualisation of the problem in German Protestant theology of the 19th century; 3) attempts of its solution in confessional studies of the 20th century. The paper proposes some generalisations as to the division into periods, which are polemical, critical and apologetical; it also proposes the typology of the main versions of the conception in question, namely the “theory of convergence”, “theory of dеsintegration”, “theory of accommodation”, “theory of succession”. The main figures in the history of the conception are J. L. Moscheim, F. Baur, A. Harnack, R. Seeberg, G. Florovsky. The Hellenisation of Christianity as a historical phenomenon is considered from different points of view. These are: 1) the language and formation of the basic corpus of Christian texts; 2) ancient metaphysics and use of its philosophical tools for theological work; 3) classical culture, i. e. Paideia. The main question is the following: has the Christian tradition of late Antiquity, of Byzantine and Medieval periods as well as that of Modernity saved the identity with the fi rst Christian community, or has it been lost as a result of the all-pervading synthesis with the Greek culture and civilisation that took place during late Antiquity? The paper attempts to suggest an answer to these questions.


hellenism, hellenisation of Christianity, history of theology, metaphysics, Greek Paideia, liberal theology, historical theology, A. Harnack, G. Florovsky, neopatristic synthesis


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Information about the author

Mikhailov Petr

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities 6/1 Likhov pereulok, 127051 Moscow, Russian Federation;
Email: email: locuspetri@rambler.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.