Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Ethos and Logos: A Second-Century Debate Between “Pagan” and Christian Philosophers1

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Vigiliae Christianae

This essay analyses the most significant sources—some overlooked so far—on the debate on ethos and logos that was lively between “pagan” and Christian philosophers in the second century ce. Epictetus’s attribution of a behaviour based on ethos to the Christians should not be regarded as utterly negative, but should rather be connected with his teacher Musonius’s high appreciation of ethos, even over logos. Marcus Aurelius’s and Celsus’s negative attitude toward Christianity as an obstinate, irrational habit can be explained by the possible influence of Montanism, while the Syriac apology to Marcus ascribed to Melito reacts to anti-Christian accusations of irrationality by attaching logos to the Christians and a behaviour based on a bad ethos to “paganism”—the same as was done by Clement of Alexandria, one of the Christian intellectuals most committed to demonstrating the rationality of Christian belief. Literary problems related to the apology are tackled, and parallels are pointed out with both Justin and Bardaisan, two other Christian Platonists who attempted to construe Christianity as philosophy.Galen’s judgment about the Christians shows interesting parallels with, and differences from, that of Epictetus. For both intellectuals an engagement with Christian doctrines of creation is argued for (this is usually admitted in the case of Galen, but not in that of Epictetus). Another second-century anti-Christian accusation of the lack of logos is the charge of onolatry. Lucian’s attitude toward the Christians is showed to be less simplistic than generally believed: he allowed for the ascription of logos and a certain intellectual development to Christianity and its founder. But for Christians to claim that the Logos was on their side, they had to develop a theology of the Logos, which identified Jesus Christ with God’s Logos. This operation, anticipated by Philo and Hellenistic Judaism, started from the Prologue of John and was continued by Justin, most Valentinians, Clement, and especially Origen, and then by the Patristic philosophy which depended on Origen. Thanks to Origen, who was deeply respected by “pagan” philosophers too, Christianity could no longer be charged with being a religion for irrational people.

Affiliations: 1: Catholic University of the Sacred Heart & Graduate School of Theology, SHMS, Angelicum. Largo A. Gemelli 1, Philosophy Dept. Gregorianum III Piano20123


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Vigiliae Christianae — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation