CLASSICAL GREECE AND THE ORIGINS OF HUMANISM
The World as a Greek Colony
Another part of Greek culture which dominates us is the system of higher education, the university. The Greeks divided disciplines of study into categories we are familiar with, like philosophy, ethics, medicine, mathematics and science. If one were to visit a university in any part of the world today, he would find that the disciplines of study and the viewpoints set forth are Greek in nature. So we may conclude that the Greek intellectual viewpoint has been established throughout the world.
Physical education is also an aspect of the Greek legacy, because the Greeks strongly emphasized physical fitness. That Greek symbol of universalism, the Olympic Games, was halted in 394 A.D. by the Roman emperor Theodosius I (he thought the games were too pagan), but today the games are back and just about every nation participates. Here in our country, sports dominate our interests and many pursue physical fitness with great passion. In yet another way Greek culture and lifestyle has encompassed the globe.
In fact, Greek culture shows many remarkable similarities to our own. Besides the educational system and preoccupation with sports, one could also point out: (1) our democratic government, (2) concern for human rights, (3) capitalism, (4) acceptance of classical art and architecture, (5) widespread belief that moral absolutes do not exist, and (6) a liberal attitude toward deviant behavior. In that sense, we can claim that the United States is a (cultural) colony of ancient Greece, and because the rest of the world has accepted our pop culture, it is a Greek colony too. The author ventures to say that if Socrates came back to life and visited us today, he would love it here!
6TH Century B.C. – Greek philosophy sprang up after the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. Aim of Greeks was to relieve man of the burden of gods.
4th Century B.C. – Alexander the Great conquered the civilized world of his day. Greek lifestyle established throughout the empire.
2nd Century B.C. – Conflict with God’s people in Israel, Antiochus Epiphanies defiled the Temple, the Maccabees resisted and overcame. This is the first victory over humanism (a rare one).
1st Century B.C. – Roman Empire enveloped the Greek Empire and continued to propagate Greek philosophy and lifestyle.
1st Century A.D. – Disassociation of God’s people and God’s Land: Titus destroyed Jerusalem, and an effort is made to totally destroy all reference to Israel and the Holy One.
2nd Century A.D. – Greek thought and practice embraced by the Church: The Church lost its Jewish roots; Jewish thought much less affected by the Greeks while the Talmud is written.
4th Century A.D. – Constantinian Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
5th – 14 Century A.D. – Europe recovers from the fall of Rome (the “Dark Ages”).
12th – 13th Century A.D. – Averroes, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas popularized Aristotle.
13th Century A.D. – Magna Charta (1215) limited the rights of the King of England.
15th Century A.D. – The Renaissance; a rediscovery and adoption of Greek philosophy and lifestyle of Europe.
17th Century A.D. – Establishment of the first major people’s (popular) government in Europe (Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth in England).
18th Century A.D. – Popular governments established in U.S. and France.
20th Century A.D. – Popular governments throughout the world.
15th – 20th Century A.D. – Europeans strongly influence the entire world, and humanism becomes basic religion of the world. People’s governments universally accepted and world economy rapidly expands. Acceptance of this society constitutes acceptance of the mark of Beast in Revelation 13 (see the final Chapter of this work for a discussion of that topic).
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