Philosophy Kata Christon:
Audio interviews, primary texts, and more at
(under the Columns tab)
featuring interviews with my DOXOLOGY colleague, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller
Philosophy and The Metaphors
Very early in the century of the Reformation, just a few years before 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses for Debate on Wittenberg’s church door, Raphael created two adjacent paintings in the Vatican Art Museum: On the viewers’ right, his work The School of Athens showing all the philosophers of the West as if they were doing philosophy together at one place and in one time. To the viewers’ left,
Concerning the Sacrament.
These frescoes have a common theme: the revealed truth of the origin of all things, in other words the Trinity. This truth cannot be apprehended by intellect alone (philosophy), but is made manifest in the Eucharist (the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper). Is there a relationship between reason and biblical faith? If so, how does it work in our lives and in our shared existence as human beings?
In Tertullian’s phrase from a millennium before the Reformation, “What
does Jerusalem (the Lord’s church with its means of grace) have to do with
Athens (philosophy)?” Well, one way to explore this relationship – in which we
Lutheran thinkers distinguish between two uses of reason, namely a ministerial use of reasoning that
submits to God’s Word over and against a magisterial
use of reasoning by which we presume to employ our reasoning as if it could
be God’s teacher and override His own words of Scripture – is to explore these
modes of seeking wisdom by means of an extended reading and study of Ten Master
Metaphors of Western Philosophy.
We will first read them as philosophical texts and only then by compare and contrast them to Christ and His Word. Can we do philosophy, can we be true to the best aspirations of philosophy from the view of the Lord who gives us His body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine of the Eucharist? Let’s see if we can practice a philosophy KATA CHRISTON or philosophy based on Christ Himself (Colossians 2:8ff) as participants in this great conversation.
Greek and Medieval Metaphors
Plato's Cave (Republic, Book 7)
Aristotle’s Cross Examination of Natures (Physics, Book 2, section 3)
of the Pears (Confessions, Book 2)
Aquinas’s Phoenix (On Being and Essence,
Modern and Contemporary Metaphors
Demon (Meditations on First Philosophy,
Berkeley’s Table (Principles of Human Knowledge, 1, 3).
Principle for Relationships (Groundwork
for the Metaphysics of Morals, 222)
Nietzsche’s Madman (The Joyful Science, Book 3, entry 125)
Wittgenstein’s Rule for When to Speak and When to Be Silent (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 7)
Searle’s Chinese Room (Minds, Brains and Programs in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1980, Vol 3, 417–57)