The term Hellenism refers to the unofficial and official promotion of the ideals of Greece in the personal lives and civics of accomplishment. Hellenistic philosophy consists of a number of philosophical opinions that flourished during the period beginning from the life of the Great Alexander to the late 2nd century CE. Roots of Greek culture had spread through the region of the Mediterranean even prior to the conquest of Alexander in the year of 336 BCE. Alexander was a Macedonian in the real sense of the term as he belonged to a nationality that was primarily related to the Greek culture but was detached from it by self-consciousness. Alexander was a Hellenized person, as well, unlike Aristotle, his tutor. According to Alexander, Hellenism was quite a desirable policy from the imperialistic angle. The primary reason behind this was that he believed that the culture of Greece was the best type of culture, and secondly, he supported Hellenism to build cohesion in the quickly growing dynasty of his.
However, after the death of Alexander, colonization was not settled. There was immense division in the aspect of society and economics. The prevailing Hellenistic culture failed to capture the previous splendor of Greece that was idealized. The only positive side was that the Hellenistic culture helped to work as a denominator among the varied population of people belonging to Greece as well as the conquered cities to build peace.
One thing that should be noticed here is that in the Hellenistic world, religion existed in a mix and match state like that of philosophy. For example, when Jesus was born, the Jewish culture was already modified by the ideals of Hellenism. Thus, it can be said that the Hellenistic world belonged to the first of the Christians. This does not necessarily mean that the Christians were completed motivated to think about all aspects of life in terms of Hellenism. However, their thinking process, including their understanding of any kind of problem or situation, was primarily influenced by the principles of Hellenistic philosophy.
The ideal of beauty in Hellenism:
Beauty is one of the primary concerns of Hellenistic philosophy. The model of beauty is quite unique in this philosophy. The word ‘kallos’ stands for beauty, according to classical Greek. This also means good. Aristotle noticed a relation existing between virtue and beauty, and the philosophy of Greece also encourages to create a harmonious relationship between the soul and the body. The gods had shown a secure connection between physical beauty and spirituality by idealizing the human body. Given the fact that both aesthetic and spiritual experiences take us towards transcendence, they are fundamentally linked. This is why the places made for worship generally hold great artistic value, as well. Thus, it can be said that at no age, the zeal to find beauty should be considered immoral.
When a person is trying to preserve his Nature given body, then he is mainly following a spiritual path. This is in no way immoral as by staying healthy, we might be of good use to the society, and by visiting beautiful, we are pledging our loyalty to the creator of ours. Moreover, when you are putting an effort behind preserving ourselves, we are permanently preserving a healthy sense of our own self that equals to the act of self-respecting.
The various effects of Hellenism on Christianity:
As mentioned before, Hellenism had shaped up Christianity. The multiple impacts of Hellenism ideals on Christianity are discussed below.
- Hellenism helped in shaping the view of the world in a way that made the New Testament writers preach the Christian revelation.
- The ideals of Hellenism also explain the reason behind the spread of Christianity. This religion started off as a phenomenon that was limited to a small geographical area. However, it gradually spread to the entire world and became one of the leading religions. It can be said with conviction that Hellenism played a significant role in the shift of the importance of Christianity.
- Hellenism also provided the means of communicating the revelations of Christianity amid the Greco-Roman world.
- The use of allegory of Origen was the direct result of the influence of the allegorization project of Plato. Moreover, the statement provided by the early apologists, which the philosophers of Greece borrowed from Moses, was a move of Philo.
- The ideals of Hellenism introduced concepts that are almost tailor-made to explain the relation of God to the workings of the world.
Convictions of the Hellenistic ideals:
The convictions on which the Hellenistic ideals depend are:
- An explanation is needed for the existence of the world.
- There has to be a bigger reality that will help us to find such explanations.
- The reasons behind the existence of the earth can prove to be unreliable and also sensational.
- The reason will be a key element that will help in understanding what precisely humans are.
- The reason will also help in determining a good life and society.
Some of the key terms related to Hellenism:
- Logos: This word is full of the potential for identifying the essentials of the cosmos and human life.
- Theos: This term refers to God and ponders on the question of whether there is anything worthy of being worshipped.
- Physis: This term refers to Nature and the root of words like ‘physics’ or physiology.’ This word throws the question related to the ways the world works. It makes us wonder if the driving force behind the universe is spiritual or mechanical.
- Ethos: This term is related to the habit or character of an individual and ponders on what makes a person good or how can one achieve to be good.
These are the primary facts related to Hellenism. According to Hellenism, the habits of mind should consist of rotational argumentations, to look up the past philosophical heroes, and to test the proposed explanations behind the cosmos and compare it against the found evidence for completeness and adequacy.
Nov 27, 2019