Think of the ancient world as Classical music.
Think of Greek Philosophy as Rock n' Roll.
There is still Classical music, but, Rock and Roll overtook and dominanted popular tastes and changed the marketplace.
Now, think of Hip Hop in relation to Rock and Roll.
Rock and Roll begins to fade and a whole new cultural ethos begins to dominate popular tastes. Fashions change, speech changes, attitudes change.
Plato is Hip Hop and Aristotle is Rock and Roll. Both co-exist. But, those who prefer one to the other break down into definite groups of a certain age, ethnicity and cultural bias.
So too with Philosophy and Religion as Alexander the Great's conquest introduced a new beat to an old generation and an exciting way of thinking to younger people among them. (Mysticism yielded to Rationalism).
Alexander the Great conquered nations, tribes and peoples leaving a backwash of Greek Philosophy in his wake.
Greek ideas about "the beginning" demonstrate how Greek ideas penetrated Semitic thinking.
I'll focus on just one main idea: THE LOGOS.
Realize the ancient Greeks believed that there was always something instead of nothing.
All things were made out of this something. There was never a time in which there was first, nothing.
The idea of nothing or zero is a fairly modern idea!
[A latter-day philosopher in the Catholic Church first introduced the idea that God created out of nothing (EX NIHILO)]
What was this something out of which everything is made and how did it get to be something?
Plato and other Greeks separated the something (called LOGOS) into two categories: Form and Matter.
Science today likes to use the terms: GENUS and DIFFERENTIA. (example:BIRDS: ROBIN)
Whatever organized the something into specific animals, vegetables and minerals was thought of as an all-encompassing metaphor of rational intelligence.
Plato's LOGOS was a personified intelligence; a poetic way of referring to the way things seemed to work together beautifully.
Plato developed a theory. THE FORMS were the ideal somethings which already pre-existed without actually existing. If this sounds stupid think of it like this.
A carpenter holds in his mind the idea of a chair he wants to make. The carpenter uses materials which already exist to build that idea into an actual chair. The idea is a potential chair and what the carpenter builds is the actual chair.
Except.....Plato sees no need of a carpenter! Just the "idea" or FORM of the chair. This elusive intelligence...this LOGOS is behind the possibility and allows men to capture the idea in order to think and build and create.
Like a dream catcher catches your dream.
This was a HUGE idea. It rocked the world. It laid down a new beat and had people's minds dancing to a new way of thinking.
Everything that was possible was already out there in this....this....ideal form and all you had to do was tune in to the right frequency and BLAM! You could dance to this new beat and be a really cool dude!
The craze was learning to tune-in to the right FM station and let this LOGOS inform your thinking!
Greeks thought all creative ideas came from this ....this....insubstantial IDEAL world of FORMS.....if they were Platonists.
But, what were the call letters of this station?
How did you tune in?
A set of secret society's protected the idea of LOGOS and FORMS and how you tune in.
Mystery cults with secret initiation ceremonies were very popular!
It was turned into a kind of exclusive nightclub where only the cool people were allowed in to participate in the greatest entertainment in the universe.
You had to walk the walk and talk the talk and be totally cool with the rituals. Just like today, you have to wear the chains and the baggy clothes and the bling bling or you aren't hip to the hop.
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS community was one of these groups who kept to themselves. They were very....um....pure, you see and preserved their
"truth" by hiding the writings in old jars and hiding them in caves!
Judaism (which later produced christianity) was highly susceptible once Greek thinking became Hipster!
Judaism bonded with Greek thought in the time of the Maccabees.
In the time of JESUS, most Jews had changed. The ancient old-fashioned "Moses-style" Jew was out of fashion! It was the newer cool-dude Greek-thinking Jew that was hip to the newest trends. Not all of them--oh no! There were fuddy-duddy Jews that dressed the old way and spoke the old language, but, they weren't cool.
Today, we read in the Book of John the Greek word LOGOS and wonder if John simply meant a literal: "Word" or did he mean the Greek metaphor of Logos: personified intelligence in perfect Form?
Some scholars of the Bible have suggested that John made creative use of double meaning in the word "Logos" to communicate to both Jews, who were familiar with the Wisdom tradition in Judaism, and Hellenic polytheism, especially followers of Philo. Each of these two groups had its own history associated with the concept of the Logos, and each could understand John's use of the term from one or both of those contexts.
Was John representing Greek thinking? Was John simply saying what Plato and Heraclitus had been saying and adapting it to Hebrew religious modality?
Especially for the Hellenists, [Greek-influened people) however, John turns the concept of the Logos on its head when he claimed "the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us"
Is John toying with the metaphor or changing it from personification into actual Person?
Keep in mind that public debate was a national pastime among the Romans and Greeks alike. No man was held in higher esteem than the one who used Rhetoric impeccably to persuade with logic.
Old-fashioned Jews argued by making the appeal to emotion and Authority! rather than logic.
New-fashioned Greek-influenced Jews learned a better way: rational persuasion! You know, like Jesus did in Q & A!
Then the appeal to Authority (Ethos) and emotion (Pathos) would have to take a back seat to Logos (rational intelligent FORM) in the person of--not just a Rabbi, not just a Messiah, not just a son of a god, not just a demi-god, but, THE ORIGINAL SOMETHING that Plato and Heraclitus and Aristotle spoke of in ancient times.
If you were Hipster enough to "get it".