I've been reading some topics about the influence of Neoplatonism in Christianity.

Some topics I read said that, although Neoplatonic ideas influenced Christianity a lot, there are some divergence points between the beliefs of the Catholic Church and the Neoplatonic ideas.

Since St. Augustine of Hippo abandoned some Neoplatonist concepts, I want to know which concepts he abandoned when converted into Christianity.

Could you, please, state which points do neo-platonic ideas and the beliefs from christianity diverge from each other?

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    Emanation differs from creation ( = production ex nihilo). – user37859 May 5 at 14:45
  • Great point.. Emanationism differs from Creationism. – Matheus Cirillo May 5 at 16:10

"The most fundamental of these assumptions, which the Neoplatonists shared with the majority of intellectuals of the ancient world, including most pre-Socratic thinkers as well as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and their followers, is that mindful consciousness (nous, often translated as thought, intelligence, or intellect) is in an important sense ontologically prior to the physical realm typically taken for ultimate reality (Mind over Matter)." (SEP)

This would not be an heretical idea for all Christians, but the Catholic Church has a fierce dislike of this sort of (lower-case) gnosticism. Even Meister Eckhart only just got away with it.

Given the wide variation in views among Christians and philosophers who have been branded neo-Platonists the answer will depend on who you ask.

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  • Wasn't the fact that the Gnosticism presents the distinction between the creator (Demiurge to be evil in the gnosticism concept) and the God himself, the reason why Catholic Church dislike the Gnosticism? The Neoplatonism itself disagree within the Gnostic concept of Demiurge. Also, Neoplatonism disagree with the conception from Gnostics that in 'every human there's a spark of God already' – Matheus Cirillo May 5 at 16:33
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    @MatheusCirillo - A misunderstanding. I used 'gnosticism' with a small 'c', as the term would be used to describe Classical Christianity, For a lower-case gnostic the 'Demiurge' would be Maya, a power of consciousness by which 'God' creates His playground. I'll make an edit to clear up the ambiguity. – user20253 May 5 at 16:50
  • Understood.. Maybe one divergence between neoplatonism and christanity is the fact that Neoplatonism ideas present the consciousness (maybe can be interpreted as the soul) as existing before the body, whereas the Christianity believe that the soul is created by god and infused in the body by the time of its conception. Please, correct me if i'm wrong – Matheus Cirillo May 5 at 18:22
  • @MatheusCirillo - I don't know about this since what is authentic Christian doctrine is often a matter of opinion. I'm sure what you say is correct for some Christians. . . – user20253 May 6 at 15:14

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