What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? My perspective

How we answer this question depends upon where we stand, though this doesn't make it a "relative" answer.

If my task is to reconstruct history, than Athens can have nothing to do with Jerusalem. If we allow our faith issues to cloud the historical process, we cannot do the job of a historian. Why? Because faith agendas will control our history, even to the point of creating a history that looks like or supports whatever our faith is.

The question of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus is a fine example of this as we have discussed on this blog and others in the past. As a historian, this is not a historical event because dead bodies don't rise. It is a faith event. Even the second century Valentinians seem to have understood this. What did the Valentinian teacher tell Rheginus about this? He said quite bluntly, "For, my child, 'the dead shall rise!' belongs to the domain of faith, not of argument."

If my task is to understand whether or not Athens has anything to do with Jerusalem as a believer, this is quite a different thing. Here each person must decide whether faith needs reason. This means that one must decide what "faith" is. I think that certain forms of Christianity have usurped the meaning of faith over the centuries so that today it is often tauted as believing doctrines that go against science or logic. When I study the ancient sources, however, "pistis" is something quite different from this modern definition. It is a person's relationship with "the holy," a relationship that is lived through imitation of saintly people and piety.

My own feeling on this issue is that faith without reason is futile, that a reasoned faith is necessary. This is not to say that reason is the entire realm of our knowledge. There is knowledge other than reason. But even this is supported by reason which is necessary in order to grasp and translate this kind of knowledge into something recognizable.