Beholden, but Not as Grateful Perhaps as They Ought to Have Been

A picture begins to emerge of the relationship between Christianity and the pagan culture in which it made its early way. Osborn, Edwards and Rand (scholars in the field) attest to it, and so can others. It is one in which Christians thoroughly assimilate ancient learning, and having done so, with the benefit of all it confers declare it unnecessary.

Christianity did not become platonic, Christianity picked up where Platonism left off, discarding its dead ends and enjoying its achievements and insights. Of course there were some false starts, some wrong influences and dead ends reached, but on the whole, Christians were able to deal as sensibly with pagan learning as the pagans who bequeathed to them had, and assimilated from it what they could, preserving what was useful for future use. The only thing they were loath to do was to cite their sources and give them credit.

As pagan civilization collapsed, and with it the ancient world, anything with pagan associations was increasingly disdained, but not before much that had originally been part of pagan civilization was so assimilated as to cause no qualms.


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