Aristotlenism – What is it and How Does it Relate to Orthodox Church Theology?


Aristotlenism is the belief and teaching that there is a ra­tional correlation between nature and grace. Aristotle founded metaphysics. He believed that God is not transcendental. He can be known by experiences, though these are in the realms of ethics and philosophy. Ethics is the only just guide to man’s behavior. To Aristotle, God is no more than we can experi­ence Him to be (a very pronounced theme in Karl Barth). Therefore, these things being true, it makes no difference what a man believes as long as he is sincere. Sincerity is the sign of an ethical man and, since reality is not an abstract essence but an individual substance that is a combination of matter and form, what a man’s ethics lead him to do is what reality is, thus what truth is and therefore what God is. Though Aristotlenism was introduced into the Church by Thomas Aquinas and gave rise to natural theology that is with us to this day, and though it was thought by many religious philosophers to have Christian elements, it has always been denounced by Historic Christian Orthodoxy as pagan heresy. In the final analysis, Aristotlenism is a clever but undisciplined combina­tion of reason and philosophy, and nothing more.


In the Roman Catholicism, St. Thomas’ teachings of Aristotle evolved into a doctrine of the Church known as Thomism. In some priestly orders it was more popular and vital than others but the onset of Age of Reason Theology eventually led to the demise of Thomism as a major doctrinal force. Due largely to the work of the very influential and highly regarded Dominican Cardinal and philosopher Tommaso de Vio Gateani Cajetan (1469-1534) a new approach to Thomas and Aristotle known as Neo-Thomism sprang up and flourished for a while. But that has largely lost favor with the Gregorian in the twentieth century when most of the intellectual and liberal Catholic Scholars became involved with Liberation Theology.


Source by Earl Cripe