lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2009

Some serious enemies of Christianity in times of the Roman Empire


[...] it is remarkable that among the emperors it was not the willful tyrants of the Nero type or the fanatical reactionaries of the Julian type that were a serious danger to Christianity but the righteous Stoics of the type of Marcus Aurelius. The reason for this is that Courage and Wisdom: The Stoics n the Stoic has a social and personal courage which is a real alternative to Christian courage.

Stoic courage is not an invention of the Stoic philosophers. They gave it classical expression in rational terms; but its roots go back to mythological stories, legends of heroic deeds, words of early wisdom, poetry and tragedy, and to centuries of philosophy preceding the rise of Stoicism. One event especially gave the Stoics' courage lasting power the death of Socrates. That became for the whole ancient world both a fact and a symbol. It showed the human situation in the face of fate and death. It showed a courage which could affirm life because it could affirm death. And it brought a profound change in the traditional meaning of courage. In Socrates the heroic courage of the past was made rational and universal. A democratic idea of courage was created as against the aristocratic idea of it. Soldierly fortitude was transcended by the courage of wisdom. In this form it gave "philosophical consolation" to many people in all sections of the ancient world throughout a period of catastrophes and transformations.

Paul Tillich
The Courage to Be
1. Being and Courage
Courage and Wisdom: The Stoics

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