RSS

Daily Archives: July 6, 2015

Love for enemies — it’s so BC

The most radical aspect of Jesus’ teaching is supposedly his instruction to love one’s enemies. But compare the explicit teaching of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus . . .

Epictetus . . . calls for a sort of “love of enemies”: the sage (i.e., the ideal philosopher and human being) “must needs be flogged like an ass, and while he is being flogged he must love [φιλεῖν] the men who flog him, as though he were the father or brother of them all.”

(2010-11-01). Stoicism in Early Christianity (Kindle Locations 875-877). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Not that the Stoics were the first to conceive of the idea, either.

Avalos takes us farther yet, however. The concept of loving enemies is found in Near Eastern and other texts long before the Roman era. In the Akkadian Counsels of Wisdom we find

Requite with kindness your evil doer. Maintain justice to your enemy. Smile on your adversary.

Avalos further cites similar a passage in ancient Egyptian wisdom literature, and finds the comparable ethic expounded at length by the Jewish philosopher Philo. In fact, Philo extrapolates a “wider human kinship” from passages in the Pentateuch that require kindness towards animals owned by enemies. This gives the lie to those who have tried to make Jesus’ teachings unique by insisting that the Old Testament was not so understood by Jewish interpreters of the day.

Read more at Vridar

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 6, 2015 in early Christianity

 
 
NeuroLogica Blog

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

Slate Star Codex

SELF-RECOMMENDING!

Κέλσος

Matthew Ferguson Blogs

The Wandering Scientist

What a lovely world it is

NT Blog

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

PsyBlog

Understand your mind with the science of psychology -

Vridar

Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature, tidbits from science

Maximum Entropy

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

Skepticism, Properly Applied

Criticism is not uncivil

Say..

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

Research Digest

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

Disrupting Dinner Parties

Feminism is for everyone!

My ὑπομνήματα about religion

The New Oxonian

Religion and Culture for the Intellectually Impatient

The Musings of Thomas Verenna

A Biblioblog about imitation, the Biblical Narratives, and the figure of Jesus

The Syncretic Soubrette

Snarky musings from an everyday woman