Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Jesus vs Seneca, oh, my...

As a contrast between the Stoic pagans and the Christians, let's see these quotes:


Pagans
" 'They are slaves,' people declare. NO, rather they are men.
'Slaves! NO, comrades.
'Slaves! NO, they are unpretentious friends.
'Slaves! NO, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike. That is why I smile at those who think it degrading for a man to dine with his slave.
But why should they think it degrading? It is only purse-proud etiquette ... All night long they must stand about hungry and dumb ... They are not enemies when we acquire them; we make them enemies ... This is the kernel of my advice: Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your betters.
'He is a slave.' His soul, however, may be that of a free man."
– Seneca the Younger, Epistulae Morales, 47.

Jesus
"Which of you, having a slave plowing or feeding cattle, will say to him at the end of the day, when he comes in from the field, 'Go and sit down to eat?' And would not rather say to him, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that, you may eat and drink'?
Would you thank that slave because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise, when you have done all those things which are commanded, you should say, 'We are unprofitable slaves: we have done only that which was our duty to do.' "
– Luke 17.7,10.

"Jesus" endorses passive acceptance of slavery and an unquestioned authoritarianism. In contrast, Seneca anticipates the emancipation of slaves and the equality of men. "Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated" I don't take from Jesus, I take it from Confucius.

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