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Greek vs Hebrew Thought

What we now consider “The Church” is almost nothing like the Early New Testament Church. Think of an archeologist digging through layers to find out what life was like in ancient times.

To understand the Early Church we must dig through layers of a mountain of man’s influences shoveling off and discarding man’s traditions, theories, interpretations, and philosophies from Greek and Roman civilizations, Aristotle, Constantine, Marcion, etc., to be able to examine the Early Church.

During the Reformation, men such as Wycliffe and Calvin were digging in the right spot. They dug up and discarded many theological errors and found a view of God’s plan of salvation by grace, but anti-Semitic layers remain and now there are new layers of tradition, interpretations, western thought (a return to the Greek and Roman philosophy) and conditioning that need removal. Only then can we have a clear view of the Early Church.

Historians concur that the Greeks were destroyed by moral decay. Pursuing knowledge without God is a recipe for disaster. We simply cannot survive without clear moral direction. Look at the differences in education goals:


Ancient Greek Education

Ancient Hebrew Education

Goal

Prepare individuals to serve the state. Prepare individuals to serve God.
How
Accomplished

1) Memorize the laws of Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver.2) Memorize selections from Homer.

3) Develop physical excellence through games, exercises, and the pentathlon (running, jumping, throwing the discus, casting the javelin, and wrestling)

1) Transmit knowledge and skills from generation to generation.

2) Increase knowledge and skills.

3) Concretize cultural values into accepted behavior

Teach students to trust the state.
Teach children to trust God in everything.
Prepare for the state. Prepare for eternity.
Examine the world by classifying whole things into parts by removing them from the Creator. Redefine knowledge: Final reality is impersonal matter or energy, shaped into its present form by impersonal chance.
Look at God’s world as a whole—interconnecting—revealing God in every area. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmaments sheweth his handywork (Psalm 19:1).
Immerse students in literature written by ancient Greek philosophers. Teach children to love learning so they will become self-motivated, lifelong learners.
Focus on self-esteem, emotional adjustment, and external training of the body. Develop endurance, resourcefulness, and physical prowess. Discover a child’s God-given gifts and talents, and develop them to their fullest potential. Focus on spiritual training.
Result

Self-centered: “My will be done.” Violence, corruption, pornography, racial tension, promiscuity, abortion, infanticide, etc.
God-centered: “Thy will be done.” Authority with responsibility. Literacy, strong family ties, love of learning, security, independent thinking, high morals and values.
Curriculum
Subjects

Humanism
Evolution
Social Studies
Bible
Creation Science
“His Story” (true history)
Character
Self-government (internal obedience to God)
Curriculum
Content

Trivium, the three stages:

  1. Grammar
  2. Logic (Dialectic)
  3. Rhetoric

The three main orders of study in ancient Israel consisted of:

  1. Religious education
  2. Occupational skills
  3. Military training

with the basis of all knowledge being the fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7).

Curriculum Text

Books by Homer, Aristotle, Virgil, Pliny, Cicero.
God’s Word. Orthodox schools did not study subjects derived from Classical tradition.
Heroes

Homer, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, Zeno
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua and David (Old Testament)
Philosophy

Lawlessness:
To each his own.
Look out for Number One.
There are no absolutes.
Lawfulness:
Love one another.
The last shall be first.
Deny thyself.
Obey God’s Commandments.
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord (Isaiah 30:9).
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well (1 Peter 2:13–14).

Greek philosophy between Aristotle and Augustine is the foundation of Western thought (Aristotle tried to merge the Bible and Plato = Hellenistic Philosophy). This is the reason for so much Greek philosophy in the church. Explore the differences between Eastern and Western thinking and how it affects each culture with this Interactive data file at FollowtheRabbi.com – Jesus, our Rabbi and Savior.

Want to Learn More?

Assumptions That Affect Our Lives takes the reader back to the roots of the modern conflict between Christianity and secular humanism through a comparison of ancient Greek and Hebrew culture. What the reader will discover is that the current tension between evangelical Christians and the non-biblical ideas with which they are surrounded is an age-old conflict. By viewing the current situation in the context of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews, contemporary Christians can be better equipped to deal with the challenges of living in today’s predominantly Greek-based culture.

Also see My Big Fat Greek Mindset by Tim Hegg, homeschooler speaking on Worldviews.

I’ve been studying the views of Church Fathers, specifically Athanasius vs Augustine.  I hope to blog more about this soon.

 

 

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20 comments

  1. Boy oh boy! The left column reads like a classical christian school/curriculum summary.

    to boot, the classical mindset, IMO, is the quickest route for “christian education” to go Christ-less!
    Christ is all but eclipsed in Classical education.
    NOW OF COURSE proponents say, we want to “take EVERY thought captive to the obedience of Christ” But you can’t take The Odyssey and The Red Badge of Courage captive to the obedience of Christ if the authors didn’t!
    We don’t learn contrary to the paradigms of some in order to “influence” We proclaim Jesus to Drs, lawyers, philosophers, laymen, garbage men, plumbers, and atheists, all while being regular old people, (fisherman even like the apostles).
    People aren’t “influenced” into Christ, they are birthed by The Holy Spirit into Christ, via the Gospel. Our Gospel, The Gospel we, whoever we are, share.
    We don’t need to be like a pretentious academic or professional in order to bring the good news unto salvation. I say this because behind a lot of Classical Education is this inaccurate thought and theology that in order to reach leaders “In our culture” we need to understand how they think or have the same high position or else they won’t listen. In other words, “we could never reach an impacting leader (mover and shaker) if we are just regular joes/Joannas. Sorry, but that thinking is not pleasing to our Lord. It takes faith away from him and puts it into achieving an intellectual height.

    Solo Christo/ Sola Scriptura,
    Jo!

  2. Oh Robin,
    You know I’m right with you there! Is it alright if I repost this one day? As usual, giving full credit and link-love back here?

  3. Robin,
    You have once again “said it right.” Thank you for confirming that the way we educate our own children at home is the Hebrew way, through God’s Grace.
    He is using you, Robin, to greatly encourage my heart! Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been learning is true, Robin! You are a gem in The Lord’s crown!
    Kathy A. in northeast TN

  4. And He worshiped on the seventh day sabbath. As did His followers for 300 years after His death. What then?

    Carols last blog post..My Christmas Lights are Up

  5. I find it hard to break out of the more Greek style of education because it’s so much more like what I grew up with, but I know the Hebrew style is what I really want to be doing with my daughter, and I’m getting there gradually. Thanks for this great post.

    Jamies last blog post..Eighties Flashback

  6. Barbara

    excellent, as always Robin! i can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the Church Fathers

  7. Good stuff. I just wish it were easy. I see God taking me more and more down the path of Hebrew thinking, and yet it is such a long and slow road… Will I ever get it figured out before my kids are grown?!

  8. I wonder what kind of impact the Hebrew Roots movement is going to have on the future? Is this a “reformation” of amazing proportions like that of Calvin’s day?

  9. Thank you for the time you’ve taken to prepare this post. I have been seeking more information on the earliest Church’s history, especially up to 1000A.D. I look forward to reading your future posts with regard to the same subject.

  10. I have enjoyed this post, Robin, and appreciate the effort that went into presenting it. I am not certain that the Greek Philosophy was lawlessness unless your reference is to God’s law since the “Goal” was to serve the state. I did resonate with the quote from Isaiah 30:9. I am also reminded of Isaiah 3:5 “And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” also 2Timothy 3; & 2Timothy 4:3.

  11. Robin,
    I understand the Hebrew model and approach to education versus the Greek model and approach. I was wondering if you’d be willing to give me your input on an issue. We are very careful of what our children read, watch, and listen to. I know that there are certain “classics” that are read at the high school level and are probably expected to have been read when entering college. I have a problem with reading a classic with inappropriate content simply because it is a “classic.” Shakespeare is my current author I’m working on with my high-schooler. I did read some of the typical high school literature when I was in high school. Now, years (many years) later, I sat down with “Romeo and Juliet” to prepare lesson plans for him to read it this term. The first scene opens up with what I feel is some inappropriate talk. I didn’t have my son read “Hamlet” because of some pervading themes that are not what I feel is appropriate for him to read. I know they are expected to have been exposed to Shakespeare and to probably have read certain plays. But I can’t get past the questionable content in some of these plays. I feel it is not right of me as a parent to require my child to read material with such questionable things in it. Are there any alternatives? How do you see this issue? I’d really like some thoughts from others and I know that you are really big on the Hebrew model of education. I have ditched other books that were recommended in the curriculum I am using for the very same reason. I just did a post on my homeschool blog about this. BTW, my son has read “Twelfth Night” and has therefore had some exposure to Shakespeare.

    Sincerely,
    Karen

  12. Jeff Elohim

    “What we now consider “The Church” is almost nothing like the Early New Testament Church. Think of an archeologist digging through layers to find out what life was like in ancient times.”

    This is true, painfully, of medicine today also.
    The known and useful helps to prevent and cure cancer without pain and without toxic expensive means. Before 1960 over 75,000 doctors in the usa would have told you the truth. Now, you can find one only with simple, prayerful searching.
    If they go along with the ama, fda, standards,
    they are completely and utterly deceived.
    You can find out more for yourself in any of Maureen Salaman’s Books, or Dr.Jarvis, or Adelle Davis, or Max Gerson,Md, or Linus Pauling, or Dr.Shutes….. seek, and you will be surprised, shocked, relieved, and gradually healed.
    Yhvh is trustworthy. No man can be trusted.

  13. debrah

    this sounds alot like the conflict of Peter and Paul. I believe even Peter admitted that he was wrong to place Jewish traditions on gentiles. Are you saying that all the churches founded by Paul are not valid?

  14. debrah

    I apologize for my previous comment. I re-read what you were writing and see that I interpreted it incorrectly. I hope you accept my apology.

  15. Yahusaf

    You have a great webb site along with the Ancient-Hebrew with Jeff Benner has taught me a lot. Thank you.

    Here is more Hellenism to add to our Hellenistic collection.

    The word J-E-S-U-S is also Hellenized. We can look up the word – SUS – in any Latin-English dictionary or most dictionaries to find that the word really means…. SWINE. (Je, Greeko/Roman) meaning “THE” or “The Swine”.
    Now He would not be named a Latin name but a Hebrew name and it would not be swine but more like deliver.
    Another Hellenized word is Christian. Based on Titus 1:12. the Cretins (Crete)were liars and a corrupt people. Looking up the word Cretin in most dictionaries defines the word as a very stupid vulgar person, an idiot and right in the very definition it is defined with the word christian because the very root is Cretian from where it finds its root. So we’ve been dooped again. Well this may be very shocking to 99% of the people and about 99% of the people will reject it and sluff it off even though this is the real definition of those words. More proof that satan is working overtime to have Yah’s people call themselves stupid idiots and to call on the Messiah as “The Swine” Ill be a Jew any day. Blessings, Yahusaf

  16. Will Flynn

    I read the article “My Big Fat Greek Mindset” and I thought it was well done. Christianity for the most part is infested with Greek thought. If anyone does a study on the Greece vs Israel mindsets,they will find out that the Jews(at that time the remnant of Israel) held fast to the oracles of Yahovah and that any opposition to the instructions to life(Torah)is considered as a virus to the system. They are commissioned by Yahovah to be carefull to guard/do the words of the Torah, and that nothing should be added or substracted from it. The problem remains is that the Torah is being(and has been for centuries)attacked from two sides, a philosophical and a theological viewpoint. The theological in the mythological teachings of the Greeks, where gods come down from the heavens and interact with women and create demigods and so forth. Christianity(of which I once identified with) is the main carrier of this double virus and maybe …just maybe it can humble itself and awake as the prodigle son that it is and come back to the Father and join his brother Yahudah and proclaim that Yahovah is One and His Name shall be One.

  17. Martyn

    Is not the notion of “Greek vs. Hebrew” very Greek (didactic) in itself?

  18. Martyn

    PS For “didactic” read “dialectic” in my post just previous. (Never trust predictive text!)

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  20. Jeff Craig

    I am so thankful, unknowing at the time, decades ago, that the Father in Heaven ABBA YHWH did keep be from reading the “so-called” “chruch ftahers”(sic) — When He did permit to just look at, as if to start to read, those so-called “foundational” teachings/ writings/ lessons or studies,
    then
    at once it was obvious and clear with no doubt at all, that those so-called “authorities” of “religion” / “christendom” were dumb. (and wrong, and wicked, and evil, and led people astray – billions of people! for the last 17+ centuries ! )
    .
    Yes, the anti- has been active since Scripture was penned, since YHWH’S WORD was BREATHED thru the men YHWH chose and called and set apart to write HIS WORD (YHWH GUARDED HIS WORD, and has always, even today, though RARE TO FIND anyone who knows HIM) ……

    Shalom and strength and wisdom to endure this day, the most trying, most difficult times ever in history, and getting worse every day (not better, no , not better at all)….
    Jeff Craig
    oklahoma territory, today.
    heaven tomorrow AND today ! 🙂 as Y’SHUA MESSIAH SAYS. (wherever YHWH rules, is in charge, is one and only leader and Y’SHUA is one and only savior MESSIAH and KING)

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