Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
What, if anything, does Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of the Christian movement, have to do with philosophy? This question motivates this book and its essays. Even though Jesus has had a profound impact on many philosophers and on many philosophies, no substantial scholarly book has been devoted to the topic of Jesus and philosophy. Perhaps philosophers have been unwilling, for some unclear reason or other, to take up the philosophical relevance of Jesus. In any case, this book fills this gap in the literature of philosophy. Of course, no single book could be altogether comprehensive on the topic of Jesus and philosophy, but the present book offers wide-ranging substantial coverage that will be of interest to philosophers and to other readers, including scholars and students in theology, religious studies, and history.
The book is divided into three main parts: I. Jesus in His First-Century Thought Context; II. Jesus in Medieval Philosophy; and III. Jesus in Contemporary Philosophy. Part I portrays Jesus in his first-century context, attending to intellectual influences and contributions and contemporaneous similar patterns of thought. It sets an intellectual and historical context for examining the book's subsequent reflections on Jesus. Part II examines how Jesus influenced some of the most prominent medieval philosophers. It attends to what seems to be a conceptual shift from largely Hebraic categories of thought in Jesus to distinctively Greco-Roman categories in later Christian philosophers.