Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The fireworks, pt. V
Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
In light of the our celebration of our country this week, I found this quote from my reading apropos:
People in the present-day Western world are heirs of the Enlightenment and see the world in two ways that are fundamentally different from the view of Paul and others in the first-century Mediterranean world...

Freedom is defined largely in negative terms as the absence of constraint, having the ability to choose one thing rather than another, to move and speak and write 'freely,' that is, as one chooses...

The world Paul inhabited saw things very differently... In Paul's world, one was always 'obedient' to someone and 'bound' to some authority which one 'served.' The only question was which higher power did one serve...

Freedom in this view is defined not so much in terms of freedom of choice as in terms of the degree of authority/value/power offered by the one served. Freedom of spirit mattered more than freedom of choice. Thus, philophers called the freedom to engage in vice no freedom at all, but a kind of bondage. Persons so obsessed with pleaseure or possessions or power that they are driven to the compulsive indulgence of such passions are obviously controlled by their addictions and are not free in any meaningful sense. In contrast, a person might be the slave of the emperor, or merely the house servant of a merchant, yet because of virtue and self-control might be regarded as fully human and genuinely free (Johnson 107, 108).

Happy Independence Day.

posted by Peter at 7:28 PM
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