Xenocrates of Chalcedon was a Greek philosopher and leader of the Platonic Academy from 339/8 to 314/3 BC. His teachings followed those of Plato, which he attempted to define more often with mathematical elements, he distinguished three forms of being: the sensible, the intelligible, a third compounded of the two, to which correspond sense and opinion. He considered unity and duality to be gods which rule the universe, the soul a self-moving number. God pervades all things, there are daemonical powers, intermediate between the divine and the mortal, which consist in conditions of the soul, he held that mathematical objects and the Platonic Ideas are identical, unlike Plato who distinguished them. In ethics, he taught that virtue produces happiness, but external goods can minister to it and enable it to effect its purpose. Xenocrates was a native of Chalcedon. By the most probable calculation he was born 396/5 BC, died 314/3 BC at the age of 82. Moving to Athens in early youth, he became the pupil of Aeschines Socraticus, but subsequently joined himself to Plato, whom he accompanied to Sicily in 361.
Upon his master's death, he paid a visit with Aristotle to Hermias of Atarneus. In 339/8 BC, Xenocrates succeeded Speusippus in the presidency of the school, defeating his competitors Menedemus of Pyrrha and Heraclides Ponticus by a few votes. On three occasions he was member of an Athenian legation, once to Philip, twice to Antipater. Xenocrates resented the Macedonian influence dominant at Athens. Soon after the death of Demosthenes, he declined the citizenship offered to him at the insistence of Phocion as a reward for his services in negotiating peace with Antipater after Athens' unsuccessful rebellion; the settlement was reached "at the price of a constitutional change: thousands of poor Athenians were disenfranchised," and Xenocrates said "that he did not want to become a citizen within a constitution he had struggled to prevent". Being unable to pay the tax levied upon resident aliens, he is said to have been saved only by the courage of the orator Lycurgus, or to have been bought by Demetrius Phalereus, emancipated.
In 314/3, he died after tripping over a bronze pot in his house. Xenocrates was succeeded as scholarch by Polemon. Besides Polemon, the statesman Phocion, the academic Crantor, the Stoic Zeno and Epicurus are said to have frequented his lectures. Wanting in quickness of apprehension and natural grace he compensated by persevering and thorough-going industry, pure benevolence, purity of morals, a moral earnestness, which compelled esteem and trust from the Athenians of his own age. Xenocrates adhered to the Platonist doctrine, he is accounted the typical representative of the Old Academy. In his writings, which were numerous, he seems to have covered nearly the whole of the Academic program, he is said to have made more explicit the division of philosophy into the three parts of Physics and Ethics. With a comprehensive work on Dialectic there were separate treatises On Knowledge, On Knowledgibility, On Divisions, On Genera and Species, On Ideas, On the Opposite, others, to which the work On Mediate Thought belonged.
Two works by Xenocrates on Physics are mentioned, as are books On the Gods, On the Existent, On the One, On the Indefinite, On the Soul, On the Emotions On Memory, etc. In like manner, with the more general Ethical treatises On Happiness, On Virtue there were connected separate books on individual Virtues, on the Voluntary, etc, his four books on Royalty he had addressed to Alexander. Besides these he had written treatises On the State, On the Power of Law, etc. as well as upon Geometry and Astrology. Besides philosophical treatises, he paraenesis. Xenocrates made a more definite division between the three departments of philosophy, than Speusippus, but at the same time abandoned Plato's heuristic method of conducting through doubts, adopted instead a mode of bringing forward his doctrines in which they were developed dogmatically. Xenocrates recognized three grades of cognition, each appropriated to a region of its own: knowledge and opinion, he referred knowledge to that essence, the object of pure thought, is not included in the phenomenal world.
All three modes of apprehension partake of truth. Here Xenocrates's preference for symbolic modes of sensualising or denoting appears: he connected the above three stages of knowledge with the three Fates: Atropos and Lachesis. We know
Speusippus was an ancient Greek philosopher. Speusippus was Plato's nephew by his sister Potone. After Plato's death, c.348 BC, Speusippus inherited the Academy, near age 60, remained its head for the next eight years. However, following a stroke, he passed the chair to Xenocrates. Although the successor to Plato in the Academy, Speusippus diverged from Plato's teachings, he rejected Plato's Theory of Forms, whereas Plato had identified the Good with the ultimate principle, Speusippus maintained that the Good was secondary. He argued that it is impossible to have satisfactory knowledge of any thing without knowing all the differences by which it is separated from everything else; the standard edition of the surviving fragments and testimonies is Leonardo Tarán's Speusippus of Athens: A Critical Study with a Collection of the Related Texts and Commentary. Speusippus was a native of Athens, the son of Eurymedon and Potone, a sister of Plato; the pseudonymous Thirteenth Letter of Plato claims. We hear nothing of his life until the time when he accompanied his uncle Plato on his third journey to Syracuse, where he displayed considerable ability and prudence in his amicable relations with Dion.
His moral worth is recognised by Timon, though only that he may heap the more unsparing ridicule on his intellect. The report about his sudden fits of anger, his greed, his debauchery, are derived from a impure source: Athenaeus and Diogenes Laërtius can adduce as authority for them scarcely anything more than the abuse in some spurious letters of Dionysius the Younger, banished by Dion, with the cooperation of Speusippus. Having been selected by Plato as his successor as the leader of the Academy, he was at the head of the school for only eight years, he died, it appears, of a lingering paralytic illness a stroke. He was succeeded as the head of the school by Xenocrates. Diogenes Laërtius gives us a list of some of the titles of the many dialogues and commentaries of Speusippus, of little help in determining their contents, the fragments provided by other writers provide us with only a little extra. Speusippus was interested in bringing together those things which were similar in their philosophical treatment, to the derivation, laying down, of the ideas of genera and species: for he was interested in what the various sciences had in common, how they might be connected.
Thus he furthered the threefold division of philosophy into Dialectics and Physics, for which Plato had laid the foundation, without losing sight of the mutual connection of these three branches of philosophy. For he maintained that no one could arrive at a complete definition who did not know all the differences by which a thing, to be defined was separated from the rest. With Plato, moreover, he distinguished between that, the object of thought, that, the object of sensuous perception, between the cognition of the reason and sensuous perception, he tried, however, to show how perception can be taken up and transformed into knowledge, by the assumption of a perception, which, by participation in rational truth, raises itself to the rank of knowledge. By this he seems to have understood an immediate, mode of conception. Speusippus rejected Plato's Theory of Forms, he tried to determine the idea of substance more distinctly by separating its types, the difference between which he considered would result from the difference between the principles on which they are based.
Thus he distinguished substances of number, of size, of soul, while Plato had referred them, as separate entities, to the ideal numbers. Speusippus made still more kinds of substance, beginning with the One, assuming principles for each kind of substance, one for numbers, another for spatial magnitudes, another for the soul. Speusippus must have recognised something common in those different kinds of substances, inasmuch as, firstly, he set out from the absolute One, regarded it as a formal principle which they had in common, secondly, he appears to have assumed that multitude and multiformity was a common primary element in their composition, but it is only the difficulties which led him to make this and similar deviations from the Platonist doctrine, of which we can get any clear idea, not the way in which he thought he had avoided those difficulties by distinguishing different kinds of principles. The criticism of Aristotle, directed against Speusippus, shows how little satisfied he was with the modification of the original Platonist doctrine.
With this deviation from Plato's doctrine is connected another which takes a wider range. As the ultimate principle, Speusippus would not, with Plato, recognise the Good, with others, going back to the older Theologi, maintained that the principles of the universe were to be set down as causes of the good and perfect, but were not the good and perfect itself, which must rather be regarded as the result of generated existence, or development, just as the seeds of plants and animals are not the formed plants or animals t
Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
Thomas Taylor (neoplatonist)
Thomas Taylor was an English translator and Neoplatonist, the first to translate into English the complete works of Aristotle and of Plato, as well as the Orphic fragments. Thomas Taylor was born in the City of London on 15 May 1758, the son of a staymaker Joseph Taylor and his wife Mary, he was educated at St. Paul's School, devoted himself to the study of the classics and of mathematics. After first working as a clerk in Lubbock's Bank, he was appointed Assistant Secretary to the Society for the Encouragement of Art, in which capacity he made many influential friends, who furnished the means for publishing his various translations, which besides Plato and Aristotle, include Proclus, Apuleius, Ocellus Lucanus and other Neoplatonists and Pythagoreans, his aim was the translation of all the untranslated writings of the ancient Greek philosophers. Taylor was an admirer of Hellenism, most in the philosophical framework furnished by Plato and the Neoplatonists Proclus and the "most divine" Iamblichus, whose works he translated into English.
So enamoured was he of the ancients, that he and his wife talked to one another only in classical Greek. He was an outspoken voice against corruption in the Christianity of his day, what he viewed as its shallowness. Taylor was ridiculed and acquired many enemies. Among his friends was the eccentric traveller and philosopher John "Walking" Stewart, whose gatherings Taylor was in the habit of attending. Taylor married his childhood sweetheart Mary Morton, daughter of John Morton, in 1777, they had children George Burrow Taylor, John Buller Taylor, William Grainger Taylor, Mary Joseph Taylor and Thomas Taylor, their eldest daughter, Mary Meredith Taylor, was named after his generous patron William Meredith and married a haberdasher, Samuel Beverly Jones. His wife Mary died in 1809, he married again, his second wife Susannah died in 1823. From his second marriage he had Thomas Proclus Taylor. Thomas Taylor died in Walworth; the texts that he used were interrupted by lacunae. His translations were influential on William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth.
In American editions they were read by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, G. R. S. Mead, secretary to Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society. Taylor published several original works on philosophy and mathematics; these works have been republished by the Prometheus Trust. It appears that he and his wife were landlords at Walworth in the late 1770s to a family that included the 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft. Consideration of Wollstonecraft's 1792 magnum opus, together with Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" inspired Taylor in his A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes: if men and women have rights, why not animals too? 1780 The Elements of a New Method of Reasoning in Geometry, applied to the Rectification of the Circle 1782 Ocellus Lucanus on the Nature of the Universe 1787 The Mystical Initiations or Hymns of Orpheus, with a preliminary Dissertation on the Life and Theology of Orpheus Concerning the Beautiful. Book VI. 1788-89 The Philosophical and Mathematical Commentaries of Proclus on the First Book of Euclid's Elements, his Life by Marinus.
With a preliminary Dissertation on the Platonic Doctrine of Ideas. To which are added A History of the Restoration of the Platonic Theology by the Platonists, 2 vols. 1790 A Dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries 1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes The Phædrus of Plato: A Dialogue Concerning Beauty and Love An Essay on the Beautiful, from the Greek of Plotinus The Philosophical and Mathematical Commentaries of Proclus on the First Book of Euclid's Elements, his Life by Marinus. With a preliminary Dissertation on the Platonic Doctrine of Ideas. To which are added A History of the Restoration of the Platonic Theology by the Platonists, 2 vols. 1793 Sallust on the Gods and the World, the Pythagoric Sentences of Demophilus, Five Hymns by Proclus. Two Orations of the Emperor Julian, one to the Sovereign Sun, the other to the Mother of the Gods. 1794 Pausanias's Description of Greece Five Books of Plotinus, viz. On Felicity. 1795 The Fable of Cupid and Psyche. 1801 Aristotle's Metaphysics, to, added a Dissertation on Nullities and Diverging Series 1803 Hedric's Greek Lexicon 1804 Four letters from Thomas Taylor, the Platonist, to Charles Taylor, Secretary of the Society of Arts, 1800-1804.
An Answer to Dr. Gillies's Supplement to his New Analysis of Aristotle's Works The Dissertations of Maximus Tyrius, 2 vols; the Works of Plato, viz. His Fifty-Five Dialogues and Twelve Ep
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered derived from it. In narrower usage, rendered as a common noun, refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, is the opposite of nominalism. Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato. In a narrower sense, the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism; the central concept of Platonism, a distinction essential to the Theory of Forms, is the distinction between the reality, perceptible but unintelligible, the reality, imperceptible but intelligible. The forms are described in dialogues such as the Phaedo and Republic as transcendent perfect archetypes of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason.
In the Sophist, a work, the forms being and difference are listed among the primordial "Great Kinds". In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejected skepticism, began a period known as Middle Platonism. In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Plato's forms as God's thoughts, while Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were influenced by Plotinus' Enneads, in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought; the primary concept is the Theory of Forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, perfect types, of which particular objects of moral and responsible sense are imperfect copies.
The multitude of objects of sense, being involved in perpetual change, are thereby deprived of all genuine existence. The number of the forms is defined by the number of universal concepts which can be derived from the particular objects of sense; the following excerpt may be representative of Plato's middle period metaphysics and epistemology: "Since the beautiful is opposite of the ugly, they are two." "Of course." "And since they are two, each is one?" "I grant that also." "And the same account is true of the just and unjust, the good and the bad, all the forms. Each of them is itself one, but because they manifest themselves everywhere in association with actions and one another, each of them appears to be many." "That's right." "So, I draw this distinction: On one side are those you just now called lovers of sights, lovers of crafts, practical people. "How do you mean?" "The lovers of sights and sounds like beautiful sounds, colors and everything fashioned out of them, but their thought is unable to see and embrace the nature of the beautiful itself."
"That's for sure." "In fact, there are few people who would be able to reach the beautiful itself and see it by itself. Isn't that so?" "Certainly." "What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn't believe in the beautiful itself and isn't able to follow anyone who could lead him to the knowledge of it? Don't you think he is living in a dream rather than a wakened state? Isn't this dreaming: whether asleep or awake, to think that a likeness is not a likeness but rather the thing itself that it is like?" "I think that someone who does, dreaming." "But someone who, to take the opposite case, believes in the beautiful itself, can see both it and the things that participate in it and doesn't believe that the participants are it or that it itself is the participants--is he living in a dream or is he awake? "He's much awake." Book VI of the Republic identifies the highest form as the Form of the Good, the cause of all other Ideas, that on which the being and knowing of all other Forms is contingent.
Conceptions derived from the impressions of sense can never give us the knowledge of true being. It can only be obtained by the soul's activity within itself, apart from the troubles and disturbances of sense. Dialectic, as the instrument in this process, leading us to knowledge of the forms, to the highest form of the Good, is the first of sciences. Neoplatonism, beginning with Plotinus, identified the Good of the Republic with the so-called transcendent, absolute One of the first hypothesis of the Parmenides. Platonist ethics is based on the Form of the Good. Virtue is the recognition of the supreme form of the good. And, since in this cognition, the three parts of the soul, which are reason and appetite, all have their share, we get the three virtues, Wisdom and Moderation; the bond which unites the other virtues is the virtue of Justice, by which each part of the soul is confined to the performance of its proper function. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought. In many interpretations of the Timaeus Platonism, like Aristotelianism, poses an eternal universe, as opposed to the nearby Judaic tradition that the universe had bee
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding