Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [Synoptic-L] Virtue and Poverty

Expand Messages
  • David Mealand
    The passage Bruce cites: We possess in common the riches of Heaven: the brightness of the sun is equal for rich and poor; likewise the moon and the stars, the
    Message 1 of 35 , Apr 5, 2010
      The passage Bruce cites:

      "We possess in common the riches of Heaven:
      the brightness of the sun
      is equal for rich and poor;
      likewise the moon and the stars,
      the softness of the air and the drops of rain . . ."

      sounds like a Cynic commonplace, such as those
      that say that the roadsides produce vegetables
      springs provide water, the earth a bed,
      and leaves offer a mattress (Teles 7.1-6 Hense).

      The Synoptics present a picture of a group
      of people who follow a wandering charismatic
      prophet and healer, who asks them to give
      up possessions in order to travel with
      him. The issue is not really discussed in terms
      of poverty being a virtue. There is not a
      debate about whether everyone should practice
      renunciation in all circumstances, the Synoptics
      aren't that kind of text. They offer parables,
      stories of encounters between people during which
      demands may be made, macarisms
      on the poor and the hungry and so forth, but
      philosophical ethics is not really what
      the Synoptics attempt.

      Acts does at least allude to Plato's
      ideal of "everything in common" (Critias 110D
      hapanta...koina cf. Rep.5.464D ta d' alla koina,
      and 8.543B koinas de pasi) though at the same
      time echoing Deut.15.4 (LXX) or is it saying
      something similar to Seneca Ep.90.38
      (in quo pauperem invenire non posses)? But all
      this is in fact the idealizing of a community
      which needed those of its members who had property
      to sell it to keep the community afloat in
      very troubled circumstances.

      This is not to say that was could not draw
      general recommendations from the host of
      passages in the NT highly critical of wealth.
      We can, but the journey from aphorism,
      parable, and description of a community,
      to general truths is not a hasty one.

      David M.


      ---------
      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


      --
      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
    • Chuck Jones
      Jack, There was no personal income tax back then.  The owner of the land was taxed on the harvest, not the workers on the land.  The more you tax the owner,
      Message 35 of 35 , Apr 10, 2010
        Jack,


        There was no personal income tax back then.  The owner of the land was taxed on the harvest, not the workers on the land.  The more you tax the owner, the less is left for wages.  This was far from the only dynamic in play in the poverty of peasants, but that's the way it worked.


        Chuck


        --- On Fri, 4/9/10, Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:

        I have to admit that by modern example killing the geese that lay the golden

        eggs seems just as stupid now as it was then.



        Jack








        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.