Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Stealing from the Bible

Mental Models Jun 28, 2020

The timeline of development in the stoic school of thought is largely inextricable from early Christianity, and many of the early disciples read greek and would have encountered these ideas. In fact, Seneca’s brother was the judge in the case of the Apostle Paul in Corinth.

There are substantial parallels between the thoughts of Socrates, and later Marcus Aurelius, with the teachings of Jesus - although I know many of you may much more readily accept one than the other.

Throughout the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) which recount Jesus’ life, his thoughts and teachings were primarily conveyed through his parables. These stories served as philosophical devices, stimulating deeper levels of self-inquiry.

Keith Ward, in The Philosopher and the Gospels, defines Jesus' moral teaching as “participative virtue ethics”.

I’d argue that even for atheists, Jesus’ brand of “Eudaimonism”, as a system of virtue ethics, warrants consideration alongside Stoicism and Neoplatonism, and is worth study for anyone seeking to live a life guided by virtue.

So here are some useful lessons, translated through the lens of Hellenistic philosophy.


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