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HISTORY of Christian Theology

Alexander The GreatAlexander the Great’s father, Philip, united all of the various Greek states under his rule. He invited the most renowned thinker in Greece, Aristotle, to instruct Alexander when he was thirteen years old. Aristotle likely instilled in Alexander a vision of extending the blessings of classic Greek culture to the whole world. At a very young age Alexander conquered the Mediterranean world as far east as India and set about a concerted effort to assimilate each nation into Greek culture. His dream was to create a Pan-Hellenic world where there would no longer be Greeks and Barbarians. He encouraged his soldiers to intermarry and he established institutions like the gymnasium to infuse Greek culture into the conquered societies. He assimilated the religions of the conquered people by asserting that all of the gods were the same but they were simply called by different names in different cultures. Alexander established a great city bearing his name in Egypt on the mouth of the Nile that became a great center of learning. Here Platonist philosophers, especially the Stoics, promoted an allegorical interpretation of Classic Greek literature, which approach was then applied to Jewish and Christian scriptures. The dispute between the Alexandrian allegorical approach and the Antioch literal approach to interpreting scripture became a central issue in Christian doctrinal disputes that prompted and shaped the creeds. Greek became the universal language throughout the conquered world. With all this, Greece left its imprint on the Mediterranean world for nearly two thousand years. Library in Alexandria Egypt

The impact of Alexander the Great on Christianity is greater than most persons realize. Some scholars argue that he is the source of the myth of Jesus’ divinity, while some religious persons see in Alexander a type or precursor for Christ. Regardless, at a minimum, he provided a bridge between the monotheistic culture of the Jews and the quasi-polytheistic doctrine of Christianity (trinity) facilitating the conversion of Jews and Gentiles to Christianity. What am I referring to?

There are a number of parallels between Jesus and Alexander. They both died when they were 33 years old. They both claimed divine sonship and dual paternity (Heracles for Alexander) and as human beings with flesh and blood they broke the barrier between humanity and the divine. Virgin births are attributed to both and world rule were their destiny, yet they both died before they fully realized their missions to bless all humanity. The popular ancient myths surrounding Alexander certainly contributed to the acceptance of the Christian message, even if its influence was subliminal.

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