Brother AACOOLDRE : Hot & Cold: Stoics/Socrates influence in the NT

AACOOLDRE

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Hot & Cold: The New Testament relationship with Stoicism

By Andre Austin

What did St Paul mean when he quoted (Acts 17:1-31) the poetry from Stoics in Athens that slaves should stay in their place and we are of the same offspring?

Stoics were to be indifferent to the Hot passions of Pleasure.

Stoics were to be indifferent to others peoples Cold (evil, pains of mistreatment and distress).

See the Webster’s dictionary or Wikipedia on Stoicism for verification, or Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations book 8 to “be superior to pleasure and pain”=Hot & Cold which is close in style to the Egyptians Negative Confession=Saying you have not been Cold in Love or Hot in passion towards evil. The glue to all of this DNA of Stoicism and the NT with respect to Hot & Cold is to be found in Aurelius Book 6 “Let it make no difference to you whether you are cold or warm, whether you are drowsy or satisfied with sleep”. The sleep part would apply to the Church @ Sardis.

This was the same balanced (Lukewarm) behavior of some Church members in Laodicea who were neither Hot or Cold (Rev 3:1-21). The people at Laodicea had “Overcome” see verse 21.

Overcome: What does it mean to “Overcome”=defeat, triumph/victory over evil by Enduring it.

Endure=to carry on through despite hardship, sweating out, to put up with suffering.

St Paul reminds me of Proverbs 26:1-3

“An undeserved curse does not come to rest:

A whip for the Horse

A Halter (strap/restraint) for the Donkey

A rod for the backs of fools

There are citations in the NT to back this all up in Horse whipping in Acts 16:22, Donkey restrains in James 1:26 & 3:1-7 and brutal treatment for fools for Christ in 1 Corinthians 4:10-13 and later on Domitian will use his Iron scepter (Rev 2:27) against Paul and his mutual Epaphroditus friend with Flavius Josephus, Flavius Clemens etal.

In Matthew 24:12 it states “because of the increase of wickedness the Love of most will grow Cold”. Your Love is to stay “Lukewarm”

Paul and Peter wants you to endure mistreatment and avoid getting cold in response to it. I will make two quotes from Paul and Peter to prove their relationship with Stoicism.

Paul talks about wicked people and wicked mistreatments by being in danger from bandits, false brothers, beaten three times with a rod toiled without food, water, cold and naked facing daily pressure from all his branch churches. He then says “who is weak, I do not feel weak? Who is led to sin, and I do not inwardly burn” (2 Corinthians 11:21-29) Paul endures it and doesn’t get Hot.

Lets go to Romans 12:15-21 see more about this Hot & Cold binary application to life.

Paul wants people to Live in harmony with others and not to seek revenge on those doing you evil but be hospitable towards them to the point that the evil person will be upset with a hot head with coals burning on top. Paul then ends it with saying: “do not be Overcome by evil, but Overcome evil with good”. This is how you stay indifferent to Cold sin is Love in response to evil that Matthew 24:12 talked about. For a long time Christians have misunderstood the Laodicea church not being neither Hot or Cold but balanced “Lukewarm” towards Righteousness (Law/Maat) highest is Love (see Galatians 5:14).

In 1 Peter 2:18-21 Slaves are to submit themselves with all respect just like Paul said in Titus 2:9. Peter then goes on to say if you receive a beating for doing wrong endure it and if you receive a beating for doing good endure it because Christ suffered without retaliation to Sin. You see the theme of Love not being cold in return to evil? In other words have a warm heart “lukewarm”.

Tim Whitmarsh a professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge. I will quote what he has to say about Stoicism and then you can compare it with Paul and Peter view on how a slave should behave. “Stoicism was a comprehensive theory of life…In terms of ethics, however, it has always been associated with fortitude and endurance…The famous teacher Epictetus (55-110AD) was born in slavery. In one account he was crippled when his master (Epaphroditus , Nero’s secretary latter killed by Domitian) broke his legs and smiled during the torture…Epictetus’s influential example has resonated of modern day Stoic behavior in the face of adversity” (Battling the Gods p.158). Do we have the same DNA here?

Some of the Christians don’t understand because they are intolerant to listen or read things they find contrary to them but made a great influence on Christian writing. They find themselves being left behind the eight-ball and become bedazzled when people like me lowers the boom on them. Now on the flip side the USA has set up this serfdom of Stoicism on black and poor peoples living in the wilderness of North America. They don’t care about the rich and powerful inflicting injustice on us. Their police state just want to make sure you don’t return evil for evil. They don’t care if you are mistreated they just worry about how you gonna respond to it.

Now back to STOICISM:

Joe Atwill, the maverick history buff on Christianity wrote the ground breaking Caesar’s Messiah said this about Stoicism & Christianity:

“Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as struggling against a privileged establishment, whose representatives are both “lovers of money” and highly trained in intellectual matters-like the syllogists and rhetoricians denounced by the Stoic philosophers Seneca and Epictetus. Jesus attacks on wealth and hypocrisy are generally reminiscent of the Stoic philosophy that popular in Rome at this time”. Atwill goes on

In the following passage John the Baptist advocates a position close to Stoicism. Of particular interest is Luke 3:14, where John advises soldiers to be content with their wages. This is not a subject that comes to mind as essential for a wandering prophet, but is obviously something always in the minds of the imperial family”. Atwill’s most important point of linking Stoicism with slavery helps advance my above statements:

“The relationship between Stoicism and slavery is interesting. For a master of slaves, Stoicism seems the ideal philosophy because it advocates acceptance of ‘what kind of man god ordered you to be and where as a man you are placed”-[Persius description matches Paul in Acts 17:1-28]

Jesus advocacy of principles similar to those of the Stoics led Bruno Bauer in the nineteenth century to conclude that Christianity was simply an attempt by the imperial family to implement Stoicism on a large scale. Bauer’s suspicion regarding Christianity seems especially logical when one considers the degree to which the Roman Empire relied upon slavery in the 1st century where perhaps 40% of the population were slaves” (Caesar’s Messiah p.346-347).

The Roman Emperor (121-180AD) Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations which was a book on Stoic precepts. In Book 1 he states he was fond of his adoptive father’s mildness of temper, without envy, not fond of change nor unsteady, but he loved to stay in the same place (see Acts 17:26) for staying in your place. He also states his father wasn’t harsh, “nor violent, nor as one may say, anything carried to the sweating point”. In other words he wasn’t a “Hot head” from which I already quoted Paul talking about Hot coal on top of head and that he didn’t “inwardly burn”. Marcus says he “Lived according to Nature” was “cured of passions” in like manner of “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24)


Notes:

Socrates in the Republic when speaking about Justice he uses the antidotes of Horsemanship, music and Hot & Cold to explain. This links him up with the Stoics.

The Stoic doctrine which proclaimed that a good man is totally good and a bad man totally evil

Abelard Reuchlin wrote The True Authorship of the New Testament stated: that Arius Piso pen name was Flavius Josephus. Joe Atwill contends Josephus book War of the Jews set up the basic format of Christ ministry as a satire and parody of Titus war against the Jews.

Reuchlin goes on to state “Piso, his family and friends were Stoics-until they created Christianity. Stoics believed that people are motivated by, and controllable through fear and hope Piso’s creation continued that method” p22.

Stoicism goes back to Zeno and that from Socrates who stole it from the Egyptian branch lodges into its now perverted form. Check out Stolen Legacy from George G.M. James.

In book 2 of Meditations it speaks against the “ignorance of what is good and evil”. That Tree was symbolic of the Egyptian Maat (Justice).

In book 8 of Meditations Marcus says something very similar to Paul in Romans 12:1-8 of staying in the place of your gifts. First Marcus talks about every nature to be contented, when it direct its movements. Then examine different parts of society and how they work together by comparing all the parts of another. Paul says almost the same thing saying don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world, renew your mind. Then test and approve what God’s will is-his good pleasing will. This will is in conjunction with the many members and many function form one body in Christ by peoples different gifts. Not to think more of yourself in these gifts.

Lets try another comparison lets take the Republic book 6 (486b-488A) where Plato/Socrates make the famous quote “That philosophers are not honored in a city” this is said on the same page in conjunction of talk with a Ship, pilot, good navigator and about “one party kills the other, or throws them overboard, and the good, honest Captain they bind hand and foot”. As we slide, move and lay in Matthew 13:57 Jesus states: “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house”. Now if we back up to verse 47 we can see a mirror to Plato again. “Heaven is like a Net that was let down into the Lake and caught all kinds of fish…they collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away”. I can say nothing but “WOW”.
 
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AACOOLDRE

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The Stoic doctrine which proclaimed that a good man is totally good and a bad man totally evil
 
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