Brother AACOOLDRE : Stoics & Christians are Kin?

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  1. AACOOLDRE

    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Stoics and the Christians are Kin?

    By Andre Austin

    In the autobiography of Josephus he states that “the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics”. (Vita 2), Paul, formerly a Pharisee himself, states a similar line but a new twist of agreeing with the Stoics that “We are his (God’s) offspring” (Acts 17:1-29).

    I’m working on a new essay citing more evidence of Laodicea having a large Jewish population that had Stoic influence on Christians there.

    The Stoics taught that virtue alone was happiness

    St. Augustine says that the stoics are wretched and pitiful (unhappy) because they had faith in their resources and not faith in God (City of God Book 19:4 & Confessions Book 6:6). If we read Rev chapter 3 these same issues of the Laodicea were they were wretched and pitiful and neither hot or cold and they had their own resources. The city of Laodicea was part of the roman province of Phrygia which had many Jewish residents (Antiquities of the Jews 12.3:4 & 14.10:20). We should consider the Lukewarm city of Laodicea as being flavored with Stoic philosophy. Pharisees and Lukewarm do have a strange link with look or appearances from which they were concerned about.

    The Stoic Epictetus in his Discourses Book 4:6 wrote an entire small chapter titled Against those who lament over being pitied . Epictetus told his followers that it was in their power to stop the pity. You should read the entire chapter and I will quote small samples from him. “Let them look to it who pity me; but I’am neither hungry nor thirsty nor do I suffer cold”. Epictetus further went on to say “What do I want in order to be free from passion, and free from perturbation (a disturbance of equilibrium or balance”. The stoic Marcus Aurelius describe this imbalance as yielding to pain (Cold) and yielding to anger (Hot) see Book 11:18 of Meditations. The Stoics were indifferent or unmoved by the passion of Joy or grief. When Rev talked about neither Hot or Cold this was the context from which they were discussing. We know from the time period that health was consider a balance between the Hot and the Cold and good eyesight (behavior) was a protection from the Hot and the Cold. Lukewarm wasn’t about drinking warm water because Lukewarm is classified as a deed. Lukewarm was a pun and metaphor for the condition of the eye

    Epictetus also stated: “But Iam rich and I want nothing”. Why, then, do you pretend to be a philosopher? (Discourses Book 3: 7). The Laodicea’s say the same thing “Iam rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing” (Rev 3:17). They were independent but they were still called Wretched and pitiful and needed to repent not from God but the Emperor Domitian who had a dislike for Stoicism.
     
  2. AACOOLDRE

    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Notes:

    Stoic terminology and phrases often consisted of using the words Cold & heat and this gave me the idea that Rev chapter 3 was in reference to those being influenced by Stoics. For example Epictetus states:

    “Know you not that in the course of a long time many various kinds of things must happen; that a fever shall overpower one, a robber another, and a third a tyrant? Such is the condition of things around us, such are those who live with us in the world: cold and heat, and unsuitable ways of living, and journeys by land, and voyages by sea and winds, and various circumstances which surround us, destroy one man, and banish another, and throw one upon an embassy and another an army. Sit down, then, in a flutter at all these things, lamenting, unhappy, unfortunate, dependent on another…” (Discourses Book 3). Rev 3 flips these same issues of independently rich with own resources as wretched and miserable (pitiful or unhappy) although not being Hot or Cold. They were certainly looking out for others running their famous school dealing with eye-care. Augustine felt they (Stoics) didn’t have faith in the unseen.
     
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