Unit Weighting                       

9 cps

Type of Unit                




Academic Staff            

Very Rev. Dr Doru Costache, PhD (Bucharest 2000) BTh (Bucharest 1993), Senior Lecturer 

Curriculum Objectives

This graduate course unit explores trends in classical Hellenic philosophy and the various attitudes toward them as recorded in the Christian tradition, up to the end of the Byzantine era. It enables students to appreciate, first, the complexity of Christian Hellenism as paradigmatic for the successful encounter between gospel and culture, and second, the cultural and specifically philosophical aspect of Greek patristic tradition.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Show deep awareness of the main trends in classical philosophy and Byzantine patristic tradition
  2. Display a profound familiarity with the relevant literature
  3. Critically analyse patristic texts as illustrative for the interactions of Christian tradition and classical philosophy
  4. Evaluate the various trends in Byzantine patristic tradition from the viewpoint of their successfulness in terms of the Christianisation of classical philosophy
  5. Assess the significance of Byzantine patristic tradition as paradigmatic for other encounters of gospel and culture


  1. Philosophical trends in classical antiquity (the Pre-Socratics; Plato; Aristotle)
  2. Philosophical trends in late antiquity (Stoics; Neo-Platonism)
  3. Early Christian approaches to philosophy (first to seventh century)
  4. Byzantine approaches to philosophy (eighth to fifteenth century)
  5. Lessons for future encounters of gospel and culture

Assessment Profile

  1. Show the capacity to critically assess the relevant literature (e.g. summaries or reviews)
  2. Demonstrate an awareness of the relevant trends and themes in patristic tradition (e.g. essay)
  3. Assess the relevance of the early Christian and Byzantine patristic traditions to later encounters of gospel and culture (e.g. take home exam)


Distance education only, with compulsory residential school (21-24 September 2015) where lectures will be delivered by visiting scholar, Professor David Bradshaw, University of Kentucky, USA.