North African theologians Tertullian and Clement critique Greek philosophy, battle cultists, and respond to Montanism. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 7A – Chapter 5 “North African Thinkers Examine Philosophy” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger Olson
1. Roger Olson points out that “the relationship between philosophy and Christian theology has been a major point of controversy within Christian thought throughout its history.” Why did this happen? What was the main impetus for the ongoing debate?
2. What was Clement’s (Clement of Alexandria of course) position on the place of philosophy in the development of Christian theology?
3. How did Tertullian differ from Clement in his response to this controversy?
4. Olson refers to a “generic Greek philosophy” that was “pervasive and influential” in Alexandria. What were the main tenets of this philosophy?
5. Why do you think Greek philosophy was so appealing to some Christian theologians?
6. How did Tertullian employ the concept of the Logos? What did it mean for him?
7. What did Tertullian present in his Against Praxeasas the weaknesses in this opponent’s Trinitarian doctrine?
8. How and why do you think Tertullian strayed (see Montanism) from othodoxy later in his career?
See Lesson 7B for Correlated Readings
Selections from 2 Clement and Tertullian’s Prescription Against Heretics
Bible Verses for Reflection