Today we begin Chapter Three of the Read Along with Apologetics 315 project. This is a chapter-by-chapter study through the book The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World by Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak. (Hear the introductory interview about the book here.) Below you will find an audio intro for Chapter Three, a brief summary of the chapter, a PDF workbook with questions for the chapter, and some notable quotes. You’re also encouraged to share your comments and feedback for each chapter in the comment section below. Feel free to interact on the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook page here.
Chapter Three: Paul’s Athens
Chapter 3 explores the the intellectual, cultural and historical status of Athens at the time it was visited by the Apostle Paul. The authors look at some historical background of Athens, followed by philosophical and religious influences. Certain notable philosophies are described, such as Platonism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism.
While Athens was a very religious city, it was of course most well known as the center of Greek philosophy. (407)
Many people in the Roman Empire, of course, would have gotten a superficial understanding of these various philosophical perspectives through popular culture. Although they would not necessarily know the finer points, many would be familiar with the basic tenets of the Epicureans, Platonists, Stoics and other philosophical movements, even if they did not have the leisure to sit around debating the latest philosophical ideas. (Kindle 491-494)
- Can you briefly describe the religious and philosophical picture of Paul’s Athens?
- What do you think the average Athenian would have believed?
- Do you notice any similarities between Paul’s Athens and our culture today?