Comparative Civilizations Review
Hellenization, Western Civilization, freedom, Aquinas, philosophy, democracy, aesthetics, globalization, history, wellbeing
In this paper, I assert that currently the world has been experiencing the Third Hellenization Period that started with the Italian Renaissance, instigated by the teachings of the theologian and philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE). Unlike philosophers in previous periods (First and Second Hellenization as well as Medieval), St. Thomas preached that Truth is a function of both Natural Revelation and Supernatural Revelation. This resulted in, simultaneously, Christianizing Aristotle (St. Thomas’ most referenced philosopher) and Aristotleizing Christianity, thus opening up the doors to human reason that had been muted during the Medieval centuries.
I also assert that the basic constituent of Hellenization is freedom: the freedom to think or reason, the freedom to seek gratification from aesthetics, and the freedom to undertake a spiritual journey towards a less restraining life through empowerment and metamorphosis. Ancient Greeks realized that freedom to pursue their desires, subject to constraints (geographical, cultural and legal) as well as balance of mind and body, would give them the capability to excel in whatever they set their minds to, a freedom that sparked an unyielding endeavor for truth, perfection and excellence that made them achieve phenomenal accomplishments which astound us to this day. It appears that, despite obstacles, this kind of freedom drives the current Hellenization period on a path to higher levels of wellbeing for all.
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Kantarelis, Demetri (2020) "St. Thomas Aquinas and the Third Hellenization Period," Comparative Civilizations Review: Vol. 83 : No. 83 , Article 16. Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/ccr/vol83/iss83/16