When Athens Met Jerusalem: An Introduction to Classical and Christian Thought, By John Mark Reynolds

When Athens Met Jerusalem

An Introduction to Classical and Christian Thought

by John Mark Reynolds

When Athens Met Jerusalem
  • Length: 266 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: April 21, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2923
  • ISBN: 9780830829231

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Christian theology shaped and is shaping many places in the world, but it was the Greeks who originally gave a philosophic language to Christianity. John Mark Reynolds's book When Athens Met Jerusalem provides students a well-informed introduction to the intellectual underpinnings (Greek, Roman and Christian) of Western civilization and highlights how certain current intellectual trends are now eroding those very foundations. This work makes a powerful contribution to the ongoing faith versus reason debate, showing that these two dimensions of human knowing are not diametrically opposed, but work together under the direction of revelation.

"John Mark Reynolds writes with the artistry of a true poet and the insight of a true scholar. His passion for teaching shines through the pages of this book."

Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity

"John Mark Reynolds is the most stimulating lecturer on the interplay of classical and Christian thought I have ever heard. I have been longing for him to write a book capturing his brilliant ideas on the topic. It is a great blessing that this book has finally arrived--and When Athens Met Jerusalem does not disappoint. It is one of the finest and yet most readable treatments ever in print."

Craig J. Hazen, Ph.D., founder and director of the Christian Apologetics Program, Biola University, and editor of Philosophia Christi

"It must be a treat to sit in John Mark Reynolds's classroom. In its verve and intelligence, When Athens Met Jerusalem is the next best thing. I wish I had read a book like this when I was a student. The need is even greater today, when even the teachers turn against reason, and every day makes clearer that Jerusalem is Athens's best friend."

J. Budziszewski, University of Texas at Austin, and author of The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction

"This is a bold, original, salutary book, written with great passion, wonderful wit and deep love. Reynolds argues, convincingly I think, that Athens and Jerusalem, the classical and the Christian cultures, cannot live apart and are both in danger of perishing unless they are brought together in creative harmony. What is so unusual and so compelling about this appeal is that equal weight and equal appreciation are given to both classical learning and Christian faith. Reynolds has indeed accomplished the truly remarkable feat of replacing the ages-old deadlock between reason and revelation, or faith and reason, with a loving and respectful marriage between the two, and thus foretells of and foresees a new beginning for classical civilization and a revitalization of Christian teaching."

Alfred Geier, University of Rochester

"'Close to the truth,' ah, so close, writes John Mark Reynolds about one of the best ancient Athenian philosophers. That's what Athens has to do with Jerusalem. That's what Plato has to do with Christendom and eventually with Christianity today. The story of the origins of Christian thinking that Reynolds tells is not the one we often hear from the pulpit. There is no bashing of intellectuals, no rejection of the machinations of the mind in favor of the intuitions of the heart, no substitution of faith for the role of thinking. Reynolds himself was brought back to Christ through the reading of Plato's Republic. Astonishing? Yes, but read Plato as Reynolds does and it all makes sense. Written with the passion of a lover of truth and the Word of Truth found finally in Christ, this book will challenge any student of either the ancient Greek philosophers or the beliefs of the early church."

James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and, with scientist Carl Peraino, Deepest Differences: A Christian-Atheist Dialogue

"To create the great civilization of Christendom, of which we are all the heirs, it was necessary to fuse the divine revelation given to the Hebrews (Jerusalem) with the philosophical brilliance of the Greeks (Athens). Now, in order to save the best elements of that civilization, those two great traditions must be united again. In this charming book, one of today's leading Christian educators explains how Christian thought has again become an exciting intellectual adventure."

Phillip E. Johnson, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of California--Berkeley, and author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance

"In the providence of God, Greek philosophy was available precisely at a time when the early church thought carefully about the Trinity, incarnation and other important topics. For centuries, Jerusalem and Athens have been friends. But today there is suspicion and outright rejection of Greek thought in the church. In my view, this attitude rests on confusion about Greek philosophy and its relationship to Christian teaching. With the publication of When Athens Met Jerusalem, we finally have an authoritative guide to these themes. Reynolds's work is an interesting read, accessible to a nonspecialist, and teeming with content. This book should be required reading for all undergraduates in Christian colleges, laypeople and pastors who need to be reacquainted with the important relationship between Jerusalem and Athens."

J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University, and coauthor of Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

"An excellent book. . .I recommend this resource for all who are in need of a resfresher on the importance of philosophical praxis in our Christian faith."

Aaron Hebberd, Christian Scholar's Review, 2009

"A biblically solid introduction to the sometimes-deceptive thought of ancient Greece."

Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, March 13, 2010

"It's one thing to read an introductory text which gives you the raw description or definition of a particular text or figure, but it's another task entirely to do a good job taking these bits of ancient history, and provide a description that makes ideas, figures, and texts come alive in their original conext; Dr. Reynolds does the latter. Ultimately, in developing this narrative, Dr. Reynolds not only seeks to provide a narrative description of the development of these ideas, but he also wants to highlight the influence of classical thought on the development of Christianity, while also arguing that the loss of this classical influence in modern Christianity has been detrimental. Definitely an intriguing read; check it out!"

Norman Jeune III, Christian in Context (christiansincontext.org), July 6, 2009

"Philosophy of religion specialist and ancient cosmology expert presents the "intellectual underpinnings of Western civilization" and highlights current intellectual trends."

Forword, June 24, 2009

Listed in the article Ten Theology Books for Your Beach Bag.

Collin Hansen, Christianity Today Online (christianitytoday.com), June 15, 2009

"Reynolds has taught hundreds and hundreds (more than a thousand!) of three-hour discussion sessions on the great books since founding Torrey about thirteen years ago, and it must have been a monumental task for him to boil all that discourse down into a concise, focused volume like this one. But now the book for Normal People is here, and it is a zippy, compelling, witty, and accessible book written in common English instead of technical language."

Fred Sanders, Scriptorium Daily (scriptoriumdaily.com), May 25, 2009


Introduction: Athens and Jerusalem
1 Building Athens: Philosophy Before Socrates
2 The Death of a Good Man
3 The Ideal Philosopher: Plato and His Teachings
4 Follow the Logos Wherever It Leads: What Is a Dialogue?
5 In Love with the Good
6 The City in Words: On Justice
7 The Likely Story: The Timaeus
8 Breaking with the Master: Aristotle and the "Other" Path
9 The Middle Way: Aristotle's Ethics
10 Preparing the Way for Christ: Hellenistic Philosophy
11 A Postscript: Where Do We Go from Here?
Reading List


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John Mark Reynolds

John Mark Reynolds (PhD, University of Rochester) is the provost at Houston Baptist University and the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute. Reynolds lectures frequently on ancient philosophy, philosophy of science, home schooling, and cultural trends.

He has taught philosophy at several colleges and universities, and he completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the philosophy of science at Biola University. He regularly appears on radio talk shows, such as the Hugh Hewitt Show, and actively blogs on cultural issues at patheos.com and for the Washington Post's online column On Faith.

His books include Three Views on Creation and Evolution(Zondervan) and The Great Books Reader (Bethany House).

Visit the Discovery Institute for more information about intelligent design and other recent scienctific research.