The Relationship Between Neoplatonism and Christianity 

Thomas Finan, Vincent Twomey (ed,), Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1995


This book is devoted to the papers read at the first patristic conference held in Ireland. The theme was the relationship between Neoplatonism and Christianity, a topic that in recent scholarship has been the centre of controversy. The main lines of that controversy are discussed by James McEvoy, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy in Louvain, in a refreshingly new way that throws unexpected light on the complex topic and shows its relevance for today. John Dillon, Professor of Greek, Trinity College Dublin, examines the influence of Platonism on Plotinus and Origen in order to demonstrate the originality of the Christian philosopher. One of the foremost experts on Eriugina, Dermot Moran, Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin, discusses the influence of Origen on the great Irish mediaeval scholar. The difficulty of speaking about God is explored by Fran O’Rourke, Lecturer in Philosophy, University College Dublin, on the basis of the speculations of Pseudo-Dionysius. The incomprehensibility of God in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa is discussed with great originality by the Newman Scholar, Deirdre Carabine. Original also is the contribution of Thomas O’Loughlin who examines the little known interest of St Augustine in astrology and the part it played in his conversion. Augustine is likewise the subject of the noteworthy contribution by Eoin Cassidy, lecturer, Mater Dei Iinstitute, Dublin, to the debate about the nature of friendship and the recovery of classical themes in the writings of the Bishop of Hippo.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

John J. O’Meara – Foreword

Thomas Finan, Vincent Twomey – Introduction

John Dillon – Origen and Plotinus: The Platonic Influence on Early Christianity

Dermot Moran – Origen and Eriugena: Aspects of Christian Gnosis

Fran O’Rourke – Being and Non-Being in the Pseudo-Dionysius

Deirdre Carabine – Gregory of Nyssa on the Incompreensibility of God

Thomas O’Loughlin – The Libri Philosophorum and Augustine’s Conversions

Eoin Cassidy – The Recovery of the Classical Ideal of Friendship in Augustine’s Portrayal of Caritas

Thomas Finan – Modes of Vision in St. Augustine: De Genesi ad litteram XII

James J. McEvoy – Neoplatonism and Christianity: Influence, Syncretism or discernment?


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