Catholics/philosophy

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QUESTION: Hi!
I have been studying the Catholic tradition and I had to learn a lot of Greek philosophy. So I've been thinking that the Church has the Old Testament and New Testament but reads it with the help of Greek philosophy. In the Old Testament times I don't think they used that kind of philosophy too much since they had their own traditions. Much of Old Testament traditions has been lost so the Church must now use Greek philosophy. What does the Church say about this?

ANSWER: Tack!
When Jesus began to speak of God as his Father in a special way, that was new to the monotheism of Judaism.  The Gospel of John emphasizes Jesus as the eternal Word of God.
Then Jesus began to correct and change the Mosaic doctrines.
By what authority could he do that?
Also, Jesus promised that he would send the Spirit of God to carry on his mission with all people.
How does one put all that information into a reasonable presentation?
The mystery of the Trinity, the infinite being - something beyond the human capabilities of our finite minds to understand.  
Jesus also  promised to guard his followers from error -- God is the God of truth and right --not ignorance nor error.
From the second through the fourth centuries and beyond, Catholic thinkers/theologians wrestled with how to combine three persons [Father, Son, Spirit] into one divine being [God].
Augustine in the fifth century offered a profound insight based on the human soul with its faculties of intellect and will. [Humans are an image and likeness of of God.] God, infinite intelligence, knows himself and expresses that in one Word, who is not only an intellectual idea but exists as a separate entity.   The love of the two expresses itself in another entity, the Spirit.
So, while one can speak of Roman or Greek minds [numerous early theologians wrote in Greek in the church], I prefer to think of Human Minds trying to express in some manner the ineffable notion of an infinite God.
I hope, Andrew, that I have responded to your concern.
You are always welcome to write again for further ideas.
         

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Tack för ditt svar!
So there where no philosophy/thought on the Holy Trinity before the time of the Incarnation?
I've read somewhere that St Thomas Aquinas taught that the people in the Old Testament times actually believed in the Holy Trinity.
On a spiritual and mystical level they must have believed in it although there were no theologians who wrote about it like St Augustine did.

Answer
Before the Incarnation, there may have been "hints" that pointed to a divine Messiah, but nothing that would speak clearly of the Trinity.
The Pharisees condemned Jesus as a blasphemer even when he claimed to forgive a sin.
Augustine wrote, NT "latet" [lies hidden] in OT; OT "patet" [become clear] in NT. For example, Jesus Christ fulfills and completes the figure of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah.
I am not aware of any writing of Aquinas about knowledge of the Trinity before Christ.

So, there is no Christian thought of which I am aware about the Trinity before the NT.

Again, tack for writing.  I hope to have been of some further help.   Please write again if you have further questions/concerns/interests.          
         
May I brag that an ancestor couple of mine in Osby [1600s]are also ancestors of Olof Palme?


Ed

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Edward Bode

Expertise

Catholic dogma, especially as related to Scripture. I have a doctorate in biblical theology [University of St. Thomas, Rome]. I do not answer questions concerning personal moral situations -- ones dealing with right and wrong [sin].

Experience

I have taught Catholic thought in grade and high schools, and in college and universities.

Organizations
Catholic Biblical Association

Publications
Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Bible Today.

Education/Credentials
Graduate degrees in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, in scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas; all in Rome

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