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Marcus Aurelius vs. the NT on the topic of spite

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by ideogenous_mover, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    "6. It is natural that these things should be done by such persons, it is a matter of necessity ; and if a man will not have it so, he will not allow the fig-tree to have juice. But by all means bear this in mind, that within a very short time both thou and he will be dead ; and soon not even your names will be left behind." (1.)

    Mark 11:12 - And on the morrow, when they had come from Bethany, He was hungry; 13 and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He might find any thing thereon. But when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time for figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus spoke and said unto it, “Let no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.” And His disciples heard it. - KJV

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    "22. It is peculiar to man to love even those who do wrong. And this happens, if when they do wrong it occurs to thee that they are kinsmen, and that they do wrong through ignorance and unintentionally, and that soon both of you will die ; and above all, that the wrong-doer has done thee no harm, for he has not made thy ruling faculty worse than it was before." (2.)

    Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. - KJV

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    1. Aurelius, Marcus. The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Translated by George Long M.A., A.L. Burt , 1896, p. 164.

    2. Aurelius, Marcus. The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Translated by George Long M.A., A.L. Burt , 1896, p. 211.

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    Being halfway through "The Meditations," it seems to be worthy of threads of one kind or another. Here , we clearly see how the Pre-Christian worldview might actually subdue spite in some cases. For if you believe in the pagan version of the Logos, which is roughly something like a fate framework, then how can there be room to maintain spite, seeing as a subjective quality is merely a puzzle piece in the whole. So the fig tree did not produce figs : and if it was fated to have that quality, of not making them , how does it become worthy of a curse ? Likewise , 'thine enemy' is not worth the passive aggressiveness in the Romans passage, or of any sort of vengeful attitude. For you see that they are merely mistaken, and that you and he are of the same fleeting substance , on the same river of fate
     
    #1 ideogenous_mover, Mar 7, 2021
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  2. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    The Roman Philosophy of the first and second century (Seneca too, for example), are very rich in elements that reveal the crisis of the pagan world.
    There was the necessity of a spiritual renewal that the traditional polytheism could not provide.
    So therefore, new Soteric religions began to spread. Not only Christianity, but also Mithraism and others. These two were the most successful, though.
    As for spite, I can assure you that in Christianity, it is not something allowed.
    To love anyone is an imperative. To desire everyone's happiness and prosperity.
     
    #2 Estro Felino, Mar 7, 2021
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  3. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Yeah but , what I posted here seems to pop out at me as a difference. The point is, that I think 'the meditations' seem characterized by this idea, that there's really nothing to fuel Marcus's spite. Add an afterlife into the picture, and then there's stuff that happens to people in heaven or hell
     
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  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Yes, enjoy the Meditations! If you're not reading it in Greek, I hope you've got Gregory Hays' translation ─ easily the best, in my view.

    Of course, Marcus Aurelius was writing in the mid second century CE, and his education, like that of many upper class Romans, had taught him stoicism, which had been around in Greece for something like five centuries by then.

    So it's not too surprising (though it's interesting) that Greek philosophy influenced the writers of the NT, such as the Cynic philosophy in eg the Sermon on the Mount, and the idea of taking to the roads, relying on God to provide, talking to those you meet, and trusting like-minded people will give you food and shelter; or the Gnostic elements in Paul and John.

    Good luck with your adventures in ancient wisdom! Ecclesiastes has some good bits too.
     
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  5. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    And yet, the writing that is put forth as the words of Jesus, only would amount to a few pages. Why would that be, when it would take days to read the words of contemporary philosophers, who often talked about similar problems (how to live)? Sure, the authors I've been reading could write with a wavering agnosticism at times, but they could write with a kind of eloquent conviction as well, and would explain the dynamics of life in a much more voluminous fashion. What exactly was missing? Sure, they had doubt at times.. well , the human condition is seasoned by both doubt and surety.
     
    #5 ideogenous_mover, Mar 8, 2021
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  6. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Well I'm finding that stoicism did form one parallel to it.. I have actually found several passages by seneca that seem to match the rhythm and content of gospel passages, but he comes to different conclusions about these themes. That shouldn't be just interesting, I think it should be a point of great concern - where did he get these ideas?

    In this thread, the connection that sort pops out at me might be this language about the fig tree. Marcus makes it clear here, that the fig tree is comparable to a person. And so the fig tree didn't have figs, or had some other 'abnormality,' so then he makes it clear that he would forgive that tree, and that he would allow it have what quality it will. Jesus does not accept any wavering quality from his fig tree, and so it may never be allowed to have juice again. And what if that fig tree was a person who did not randomly give him what he needed?
     
  7. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    It's alright, but it can be difficult .. since it is composed of what sometimes seem like half-thoughts.. he never intended anyone to see this apparently. It seems like the contents of a scratch pad at times. That might be what a lot of people find really interesting about it as well, is that this displays the thinking processes of a 2nd century person , more than it is an exposition of complete ideas
     
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  8. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    The line between Cynic and Stoic philosophy is pretty thin much of the time.
    Seneca was roughly contemporary with Jesus and Paul, but since he was in Rome, it's very unlikely there were any influences between the two groups. As for textual rhythms, that would involve preserving them as they were translated from Greek (as with the NT and most of the important Stoic writings) and Latin (as with Seneca). Or are you relying on translations into English, in which case are different translators involved?

    Of course, a common (Stoic) source for such ideas may be the place to look.
     
  9. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Well, if you're stuck, I continue to commend Hays to you ─ he's on Amazon Kindle for just a few bucks, and his translation is admirably lucid.
     
  10. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    some biblical ideas I found in seneca , though he was pre-christian

    Just look at the first seneca quote I did in this thread : it's the exact same language as the parable of the building foundations .. How in the world did that happen
     
  11. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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  12. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    bookmark at book 8 now , I think basically, I am continually reminded in the work that what would fuel attachment / spite / permanence , deals with the western quest for permanence. That is to say, Aurelius makes it very obvious that the original western challenge was to accept impermanence , and that seeking permanence was not actually in our foundational makeup. Or the part he represents here. But is easy to see how the switch was made to christianity , because dealing with the present moment only and without putting a stake in future or past , can be a bitter pill. However, it is real, and it is the tool that slakes false emotion and drives , for Marcus
     
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