Page:The Mediaeval Mind Vol 1.djvu/55
GREEK PHILOSOPHY AS THE ANTECEDENT OF THE PATRISTIC APPREHENSION OF FACT
The Latin West afforded the milieu in which the thoughts and sentiments of the antique and partly Christian world were held in Latin forms and preserved from obliteration during the fifth and succeeding centuries, until taken up by the currents of mingled decrepitude and callowness which marked the coming of the mediaeval time. Latin Christianity survived, and made its way across those stormy centuries, to its mediaeval harbourage. The antique also was carried over, either in the ship of Latin Christianity, or in tenders freighted by certain Latin Christians who dealt in secular learning, though not in "unbroken packages." Those unbroken packages, to wit, the Latin classics, and after many centuries the Greek, also floated over. But in the early mediaeval times, men preferred the pagan matter rehashed, as in the Etymologies of Isidore.
The great ship of Christian doctrine not only bore bits of the pagan antique stowed here and there, but itself was built with many a plank of antique timber, and there was antique adulteration in its Christian freight; or, in other words, the theology of the Church Fathers was partly made of Greek philosophy, and was put together in modes of Greek philosophic reasoning. The Fathers lived in the Roman Empire, or in what was left of it in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. Many of them were born of pagan parents, and all received the common education in grammar, rhetoric, and literature, which were pagan and permeated with pagan philosophy. For philosophy did not then stand apart from life and education; but had become a source of