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Faith And Reason In Late Antiquity: The Perishability Axiom And Its Impact On Christian Views About The Origin And Nature Of The Soul

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Chapter Summary

When Christianity became a mainstream religion in Late Antiquity it was already confronted with a set of concepts that were considered to be incontrovertible scientific facts. One of these concepts was the so-called perishability axiom, derived from the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, which stated that whatever comes into existence in time must also perish in time. This chapter investigates how Christian authors dealt with this axiom when they set out their views on created being and in particular how they applied it to the human soul, which according to Scripture had been infused into Adam on the sixth day of creation. It defines the parameters within which the discussion took place through analysis of selected passages by authors from the late fourth and early fifth centuries.

Keywords: Aristotle; Christianity; human soul; Late antiquity; perishability axiom; Plato

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