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A Definition of the Perennial Philosophy
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The Writings of Frithjof Schuon
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  Light on the Ancient Worlds: A classic book by F. Schuon Back to the List of Slideshows
An excerpt from
the second chapter of
Light on the Ancient Worlds,
"Fall and Forfeiture,"
written by Frithjof Schuon
    
slide 3 of 10

Chapter 3:   The Dialogue between Hellenists and Christians

Schuon describes the opposition between Greeks and Christians as unreal to a great extent, since each was right on a certain plane. In a masterly way, he analyses the two points of view and deepens the reader’s understanding of both traditions:
If a simple and rather summary formulation be permissible, one could say that for the Greeks truth is that which is in conformity with the nature of things; for the Christians truth is that which leads to God. This Christian attitude, to the extent that it tended to be exclusive, was bound to appear to the Greeks as “foolishness”; in the eyes of the Christians the attitude of the Greeks consisted in taking thought for an end in itself, outside of any personal relation to God; consequently it was a “wisdom according to the flesh”, since it cannot by itself regenerate the fallen and impotent will, but on the contrary by its self-sufficiency draws men away from the thirst for God and for salvation. From the Greek point of view, things are what they are whatever we may make of them; from the Christian—to speak schematically and a priori—only our relationship to God makes sense. The Christians could be reproached for an outlook that was too much concerned with the will and too self-interested, and the Greeks on the one hand for too much liveliness of thought and on the other for too rational and too human a perfectionism; it was in some respects a dispute between a love-song and a mathematical theorem. It could also be said that the Hellenists were predominantly right in principle and the Christians in fact, at least in a particular sense that can be discerned without difficulty. (Excerpted from page 47.)

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