Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
How are Jesus and philosophy related? How should they be related? Such questions about the relevance of Jesus to philosophy take us back and forth between philosophy and theology in a way suggesting that the two disciplines are importantly related, at least regarding various topics of interest to philosophers and theologians. Contemporary philosophers seldom tread on theological ground, perhaps owing to general uneasiness with things theological. In any case, inquirers about the relevance of Jesus to philosophy shouldn't hesitate to cross disciplinary boundaries when explanation, knowledge, and truth are served. We shall proceed accordingly.
FROM ATHENS TO JERUSALEM
We may begin, for the sake of adequate context, with a question broader than that of the relevance of Jesus himself to philosophy: what, if anything, does Jerusalem, as the center of the earliest Jewish-Christian movement of Jesus's disciples, have to do with Athens, as the center of Western philosophy in its inception? Do they share intellectual goals, and if so, do they share means to achieving their common intellectual goals? The two questions demand yes answers, because Jerusalem and Athens both aim to achieve truth (perhaps among other things), and they aim to achieve truth via knowledge of truth. These two factors play a significant role in what defines Jerusalem and Athens, and thus Jerusalem and Athens share something significant, however much they differ and even avoid or fear each other.