The Platonic Influence on Early Christian Anthropology: Its Implication on the Theology of the Resurrection of the Dead

Philosophia: International Journal of Philosophy (Philippine e-journal) 23 (1):48-63 (2022)
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The objective of this work is to investigate the philosophical anthropology that underpins the anthropology of the Early Christians. It is curious to know why Christian anthropology is intellectually and practically inclined towards the philosophical anthropology of the Platonic tradition rather than the theological-philosophical tradition of the biblical Hebrew people in the Old Testament. Today the emphasis on Christian anthropology is that the human person is an integration of body and soul. Contrary to this position, the writer maintains that the Christian anthropology, especially during the period of the early Christians (here understood as the period within the first five centuries C.E.), fundamentally conceives the human person as a composite of soul and body, which is a conscious employment of Platonic anthropology. This article observes that, as regards the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, there is a dichotomy between theological coherency and the actual Christian practice on the Christian conception of the human person. Hence, this work argues that the Platonic influence on the philosophical anthropology of the Early Christian was a deliberate act to give a more rational foundation to the theological problematic on the resurrection of the dead and on the resurrected body. It explains why Aquinas’s theological cum philosophical thinking, though overwhelmingly an Aristotelian ground, could not “Aristotelize” his philosophical anthropology.

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Justin Nnaemeka Onyeukaziri
Fu Jen Catholic University


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