Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery: The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity (Oxford Early Christian Studies)

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9780198777274: Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery: The Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity (Oxford Early Christian Studies)
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Were slavery and social injustice leading to dire poverty in antiquity and late antiquity only regarded as normal, "natural" (Aristotle), or at best something 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? Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery shows that there were also definitive condemnations of slavery and social injustice as iniquitous and even impious, and that these came especially from ascetics, both in Judaism and in Christianity, and occasionally also in Greco-Roman ("pagan") philosophy. Ilaria L. E. Ramelli argues that this depends on a link not only between asceticism and renunciation, but also between asceticism and justice, at least in ancient and late antique philosophical asceticism.

Ramelli provides a careful investigation through all of Ancient Philosophy (not only Aristotle and the Stoics, but also the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, the Neoplatonists, and much more), Ancient to Rabbinic Judaism, Hellenistic Jewish ascetic groups such as the Essenes and the Therapeutae, all of the New Testament, with special focus on Paul and Jesus, and Greek, Latin, and Syriac Patristic, from Clement and Origen to the Cappadocians, from John Chrysostom to Theodoret to Byzantine monastics, from Ambrose to Augustine, from Bardaisan to Aphrahat, without neglecting the Christianized Sentences of Sextus. In particular, Ramelli considers Gregory of Nyssa and the interrelation between theory and practice in all of these ancient and patristic philosophers, as well as to the parallels that emerge in their arguments against slavery and against social injustice.

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About the Author:


Ilaria L. E. Ramelli is Professor of Theology and K. Britt endowed Chair at the Graduate School of Theology, SHMS, Thomas Aquinas University (Angelicum), the Director of International Research Projects, Senior Visiting Professor of Church History at Columbia University, Senior Research Fellow in Religion at Erfurt University, and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her publications include, Evagrius's Kephalaia Gnostika: A New Translation of the Unreformed Text from the Syriac (SBL, 2015), Hierocles the Stoic: Elements of Ethics, Fragments, and Excerpts (SBL, 2009), and Bardaisan of Edessa: A Reassessment of the Evidence and a New Interpretation (Gorgias Press, 2009).

Review:


"The perspective [Ramelli] brings into the fray of writing the history of ancient slavery is original and welcome. It is recommended for those engaged with the topic of slavery in antiquity and late antiquity. It has very important contributions to said topic." --Anders Martinsen, Journal of Early Christian Studies


"With this book Ramelli presents a wide-ranging, well-written and overall very convincing contribution to our understanding of slavery in the ancient world." --Martijn Stoutjesdijk, NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion


"The book offers a fascinating overview, in full breadth and depth, of the ancient positions on slavery and the criticism of property, and deserves the closest attention... Nobody should treat any of these issues in the future without resorting to this monograph. The ancient thought of slavery in all its ramifications will never be found in a more compact or complete investigation than in this work. Moreover, Ramelli analyses many authors whose views in these matters are usually overlooked. Highly successful are her remarks on Patristic authorities who rejected Aristotle's justification of slavery through theologico-philosophical arguments Ramelli assesses this substantial body of sources with superior command, and can thus point out very subtle lines of connection between various Patristic positions."--Richard Gamauf, BMCR


"An exact and well-organised work [Ramelli] shows perfect mastery of all ancient sources, in matter of philology as well as of ancient languages and contents Readers will realise the accuracy of Ramelli's research method Ramelli demonstrates, in this case as in all other cases, her exceptional professional prowess; she has achieved the treatment of such difficult questions using the lens of a classical scholar."--Gianluca Mandatori, Augustinianum


"Ramelli's contribution offers an important and distinct link between ascetic practice and the social results of that practice Ramelli is to be commended for a careful, thoughtful, and accurate analysis of the previously understudied links between ascetic life, social justice in general, and the emancipation of slaves in particular, not to mention the significant contribution to the study of Gregory of Nyssa. Detailed in its exploration of the primary texts and the social and historical contexts, Ramelli's beautifully written research will assuredly enrich future academic conversations about asceticism, social ethics, and the contributions and results of its practice."--Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen, The Journal of Theological Studies


"In this learned and wide-ranging book, Ramelli documents with an impeccable mastery of the relevant texts composed in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac the philosophical and theological arguments on slavery from the Bible down through late classical antiquity The enormous bibliography testifies to her command of the secondary literature and provides a guide for following up the various topics. Ramelli's book will be indispensable to anyone interested in ancient views of slavery and Christian and non-Christian attitudes toward wealth and property in the ancient Greco-Roman world."--David Konstan, The Classical World


"Ilaria Ramelli fills with Social Justice an important research gap in the field of ancient slavery: namely, a comprehensive investigation of the influence of asceticism on the philosophy and theology of slavery That in these circles philosophical asceticism was predominant and connected with the condemnation of social injustice is the great discovery contributed by Social Justice."--Daniel Vaucher, H-Soz-Kult


"[T]his is as interesting book. It increases understanding of slavery in the late Roman Empire and early Byzantine Empire, how Gregory of Nyssa constructed his theological claims, the connections between classical thought and Christian theology, and the influence of Origen. That is a solid contribution by any standard."--Reading Religion


"Ramelli contributes a helpful study of connections between philosophical asceticism and the advocacy of social justice, especially as exemplified in reservations about or repudiation of slaveholding. Sweeping in its scope, Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery moves historically from the Sophists and texts from the Hebrew Bible to monasticism and other late ancient ascetic practices, with particular emphasis given to the remarkable Gregory Nyssen and his family ... [readers] will find much to commend in Ramelli's ambitious volume." --Jennifer Glancy, International Journal of the Classical Tradition


"This book's central theme is the relation between asceticism... and the rejection of slavery and social injustice... the book provides rich documentation for the articulation of ideas from classical antiquity to ancient and late antique Judaism, and all the way to the Christian thinkers of the fifth century. This approach of wide chronological scope, that deliberately bridges the gap between classical and late antiquity, and between pagan, Jewish, and Christian writers, is the hallmark of the scholarship of Ilaria Ramelli, who is widely recognised for her many excellent publications in this vein." --Claudia Rapp, Journal of Roman Studies


"This monograph, written by an expert in church history, is a valuable contribution to the discussion of slavery in ancient Judaism and Christianity ... The author succeeds in linking the antislavery argument to asceticism with its acceptance of poverty and humility ... The book can be highly recommended to scholars and students." -- Catherine Hezser, SOAS, University of London, JournalÂof Religion


"[Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery] provides rich documentation for the articulation of ideas about slavery from Classical antiquity, through ancient and late antique Judaism, and all the way to the Christian thinkers of the fifth century. This approach of wide chronological scope, that deliberately bridges the gap between Classical and Late Antiquity, and between pagan, Jewish and Christian writers, is the hallmark of the scholarship of Ilaria Ramelli, who is widely recognised for her many publications in this vein." -- Claudia Rapp, Journal of Roman Studies


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Book Description Condition: New. Oxford University Press, 2016. 310p. Hardback. Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies. The perspective [Ramelli] brings into the fray of writing the history of ancient slavery is original and welcome. It is recommended for those engaged with the topic of slavery in antiquity and late antiquity. It has very important contributions to said topic. Anders Martinsen, Journal of Early Christian Studies |a 06/12/2018 (Publisher's information). Condition: New. 1. Seller Inventory # 48666

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