- I just received an e-mail marked [stoics] from Sue Caroll, with the text of
my last post to the group, plus the reply: take a look at the attachment.
The attachment is "hamster ZIP.scr" and contains the dangerous
It is a worm virus that sends itself to all the senders of mail that is
opened on an infected computer. Norton detects it and the Norton site
provides disinfection procedures. I didn't open the attachement, just
scanned it and deleted it.
- Thank you for informing me about the virus. I am so sorry that I sent
you an attachment which was infected, I was however unaware that it
had been sent to you - I think an effect of the virus.
Could you help me with my coursework? The title is how Stoicism
influenced early Christianity and I am having real difficulties
producing the coursework as I have had various difficulties in
finding information on how Stoicism influenced early Christianity,
and why it did. Stoicism as I understand it was a key part of the
Roman education System, which later spread Chrisitianity. The
two 'philosophies' are supposed to be linked with Stoicism
influencing the foundations that formed Christianity. However, it
appears to me that the Stoic beliefs often conflict with that of
Christianity. So, I was wondering whether the influence that Stoicism
had on Christianity in the beginning are less apparent today.
Hopefully others will be able to help me reach a conclusion on that
Thank you for your reponses they were all greatly recieved.
- I hope you successfully removed the virus. The Britannica CD-Rom has
this article, that shows a quite profound influence. /Thomas
"Stoic elements in Pauline and patristic thought:
There is much disagreement as to the measure of Stoic influence on
the writings of St. Paul, the Apostle of Christ. At Tarsus, Paul
certainly had opportunities for hearing Stoic lectures on philosophy.
And it may be that his discussion of nature and the teaching of it (I
Cor. 11:14) is Stoic in origin, for it has a parallel in the Manual
of Epictetus 1.16, 10. Although not a Stoic technical term,
syneidesis, which Paul used as "conscience," was generally employed
by Stoic philosophers. In I Cor. 13 and in the report of Paul's
speech at Athens (Acts 17), there is much that is Hellenistic, more
than a little tinged by Stoic elements--e.g., the arguments
concerning man's natural belief in God and the belief that man's
existence is in God.
The assimilation of Stoic elements by the Church Fathers was
generally better understood by the 4th century. Stoic influence can
be seen, for example, in the relation between reason and the passions
in the works of St. Ambrose, one of the great scholars of the church,
and of Marcus Minucius Felix, a Christian Apologist. Each took a
wealth of ideas from Stoic morality as Cicero had interpreted it in
De officiis. In general, whereas the emerging Christian morality
affirmed its originality, it also assimilated much of the pagan
literature, the more congenial elements of which were essentially
Earlier, in the 3rd century, Quintus Tertullian, often called the
father of Latin Christian literature, seems to have been versed in
Stoic philosophy; e.g., in his theory of the agreement between the
supernatural and the human soul, in his use of the Stoic tenet that
from a truth there follow truths, and in his employment of the idea
of universal consent. Even in his polemical writings, which reveal an
unrelenting hostility to pagan philosophy, Tertullian showed a
fundamental grasp and appreciation of such Stoic themes as the world
logos and the relation of body to soul. This is well illustrated in
his argument against the Stoics, particularly on their theme that God
is a corporeal being and identified with reason as inherent in matter-
-also to be found in his polemics against Marcion, father of a
heretical Christian sect, and against Hermogenes of Tarsus, author of
an important digest of rhetoric. Yet in his doctrine of the Word, he
appealed directly to Zeno and Cleanthes of the Early Stoa. Another
important polemic against the Stoics is found in the treatise Contra
Celsum, by Origen, the most influential Greek theologian of the 3rd
century, in which he argued at some length against Stoic doctrines
linking God to matter.
Also, St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage in the 3rd century, revealed
the currency of Stoic views; e.g., in his Ad Demetrianum, a
denunciation of an enemy to Christianity, in which Cyprian castigates
the ill treatment of slaves, who, no less than their masters, are
formed of the same matter and endowed with the same soul and live
according to the same law. The beliefs in the brotherhood of man and
in the world as a great city, commonly found in early Christian
literature, were current Stoic themes. The Christian attitude appears
in what St. Paul said of Baptism: "You are all sons of God through
Faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on
Christ" (Gal. 3:26-27)."
Jason Lewis Saunders: Former Professor of Philosophy, City College,
City University of New York. Author of Early Stoic Philosophy.
Copyright © 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.