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Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery – The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery: The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity

Ilaria L.E. Ramelli


Were slavery and social injustice leading to dire poverty in antiquity and late antiquity only regarded as normal, ‘natural’ (Aristotle), or at best morally ‘indifferent’ (the Stoics), or, in the Christian milieu, a sad but inevitable consequence of the Fall, or even an expression of God’s unquestionable will? This monograph shows that there were also condemnations of slavery and social injustice as iniquitous and even impious, and that these came especially from ascetics, in Judaism, Christianity, and occasionally also in Graeco-Roman (‘pagan’) philosophy. It is argued that this depends on a ... More

Keywords: slavery in antiquity, social injustice, philosophical asceticism, Gregory Nyssen, ancient philosophy, ancient to rabbinic Judaism, Essenes and Therapeutae, New Testament, Paul, patristics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198777274
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777274.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, author
Professor of Theology & K. Britt Endowed Chair, Graduate School of Theology, SHMS, Angelicum University; Senior Fellow in Ancient Philosophy, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart; Visiting Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Senior Visiting Professor of Church History, Columbia University