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The Philosophers of Athens
by Wayne Blank
"Even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed His offspring"
It's very ironic that the Epicurean (founded by Epicurus, 341-270 B.C.) and Stoic (founded by Zeno, 333-264 B.C.) philosophers called the apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) a "babbler" - their lives were wasted on idle, and idol (considering that "the city was full of idols") talk.
"Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new." (Acts 17:21 RSV)
Fortunately for them however, they were at least willing to listen to something new to them, something that was not merely invented by the mind of man.
"So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
Some mocked, but others had the true wisdom to listen.
"Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead [see Resurrections], some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them." (Acts 17:32-34 RSV)
Fact Finder: By the time of the New Testament, the Roman Empire had risen (see Ancient Empires - Rome). Before that however, the Greeks had a profound effect on the world of the Mediterranean and the Middle East - and Bible History. How?