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Title: Constructing one another : Philodemus and Paul on interdependence in moral formation
Author: Allison, Justin Reid
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 8712
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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In this thesis, I argue that one gains fresh perspective on Paul's understanding of believers' interdependence in 'constructing' each other in 1 Corinthians by comparison with Philodemus' vision for interdependence in reciprocal 'therapy'. Pauline construction and Philodemean therapy are analogous instances of interdependent moral formation, both in concept and practice. Beyond previous comparisons, however, such a pairing is only fruitful if it is methodologically reoriented to both similarities and differences. This reorientation requires expanding the comparison to include additional dimensions of both figures' perspectives, namely, their socio-economic locations (including their views of economic interdependence) and their theologies. In the first half (chs. two to four), I examine Philodemus' socio-economic location and theology in the course of describing interdependence in reciprocal moral therapy via frank criticism among friends (drawing from his treatise On Frank Criticism). In the second half (chs. five to seven), I examine Paul's socio-economic location and theology in the course of describing interdependence in reciprocal construction among believers in 1 Cor 8n10 and 12n14. In the final chapter (ch. 8), I bring Paul and Philodemus into comparative perspective. I argue that, alongside their similarities (esp. in the practices of reciprocal formation), the two have qualitatively different understandings of moral formation and moral interdependence among community members. For Philodemus, one grows out of one's need to receive formation from others into moral self-sufficiency. This trajectory correlates with the assumed economic self-sufficiency of Epicurean friends, and the moral self-sufficiency of the gods, which Epicureans can reach by means of perfected human character. For Paul, however, believers constantly depend on one another for moral formation, as they also do for economic support in their poverty. Paul cannot champion Philodemus' moral self-sufficiency, because the moral life of a believer is one of interactive relationship with God, who continually reveals himself through other believers for their formation, yet always transcends all human moral character.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available