Two Mediterranean Church Mothers: Their Presence and Importance in Patristic Philosophy

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Kaynak Iltar E., Akçoru R., Atmaca E., Kubilay Pınar N., Öztürk A. B.

Religions, vol.14, no.10, 2023 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/rel14101220
  • Journal Name: Religions
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ATLA Religion Database, Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Church mothers, early Christian philosophy, Middle Ages, women Christian philosophers
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


There are many debates concerning the existence and possibility of Christian philosophy, as well as Jewish and Islamic philosophy. Starting from the debates in France in the 1930s, some philosophers, such as Bréhier, have argued that Christian philosophy, especially in the patristic era, did not operate through reason, as philosophy requires, for religion is a system full of dogmas, interpretations based on strict approaches and alleged facts. However, patristic philosophers, especially some pro-philosophy apologetic writers, suggested that pagan philosophy, which is assumed to operate through reason, took its doctrines from Christianity and distorted them. Thus, for them, Christianity was the true philosophy. If one takes the patristic philosophers’ view and considers Christianity a philosophy through their writings, one should acknowledge that, at the basis of their views, lies the meaning of φιλοσοφία, that is, the love of wisdom. Our consideration of early Christian philosophy as a way of life is best understood through the lens of the Church mothers since they are portrayed as the best examples among Christians. In this study, we aim to discuss patristic philosophy as the basic form of philosophizing and then go on to specify prominent female Christian philosophers from the Mediterranean Region, the crucible for many long-lasting civilizations, and finally examine the ways they were philosophizing. Our method of research is mainly based on document and content analysis since it is qualitative research in the philosophical literature. Based on the findings of this research, we demonstrate the core endeavor of philosophy as the love of wisdom through the ideas of two of the prominent women in early Christian philosophy.