What if we saw speculative wisdom as the height of wisdom, as opposed to practical wisdom and power over nature, what would our account of history look like?
Pre-History- Judaism begins to incorporate Greek wisdom into it’s canonical understanding of itself. Greeks who encounter the Jews are struck by how they have believed in “Greek” ideas for so long. The Jews, for whatever reason, lose this vibrancy they drew from Greek thought, and eventually corrupt into ritualism- and then lost even their rituals. The Greeks themselves become hesitant in their own philosophy after a strong start- the philosophy, which was at its best a daring and muscular knowledge of God, science, and the immortality of the soul, degrades into skepticism.
Christianity comes on to the scene. From the very beginning the religion is by nature philosophical- it calls its God “the logos” or “the logos of God”. It writes in Greek, and uses Greek modes of discourse. The first formally trained philosopher dates from the Apostolic age. Appeals to the order of nature and the universe are commonplaces from the very beginning of the religion. Its first leader calls the aim of the religion to make its faithful “partakers in the divine nature”. Evangelization to Athens is almost immediate. The religion sees itself as “a wisdom”, as opposed to a mere religion. The authorities agree, who see the new group not as a religion, but as atheism. This is because Christianity does not worship the “gods of religion” but rather the God of the philosophers.
Christianity later fractures and loses its cultural strength. The speculative height of the wisdom takes one step down and becomes a practical wisdom that seeks to understand nature only that it might control it. Instead of participating in the good of speculative thought, culture now sees its greatest perfection as participating in the good of practical wisdom.