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Roman Christianity and Roman StoicismA Comparative Study of Ancient Morality$
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Runar M. Thorsteinsson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199578641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578641.001.0001

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Ethical Scope Compared

Ethical Scope Compared

(p.190) 10 Ethical Scope Compared
Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism

Runar M. Thorsteinsson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter of the study discusses the ethical scope of the Christian and Stoic texts, that is, the question of whether the texts teach unqualified universal humanity or not. It is concluded that, contrary to common opinion, the Stoic texts teach precisely such universal humanity, while the Christian texts do not. The latter reserve the application of their primary virtue to fellow believers, and thus set an important condition in terms of religious adherence. This condition, in turn, reveals a fundamental distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ in Christian moral teaching. Such a distinction is not found in Roman Stoic ethics, for which unconditional universal humanity is absolutely basic.

Keywords:   christianity, stoicism, morality, ethics, scope, universal humanity, distinction, religion

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