Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community


Author: Justin Allison
In Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community Justin Reid Allison compares how the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus and the Christian apostle Paul envisioned the members of their communities helping one another to grow into moral maturity. Allison establishes that Philodemus and Paul are more similar than previously noticed in their conception and practice of moral formation in community, and that these similarities offer a critical opportunity to consider important differences between the two as well. By deepening the comparison to include differences alongside similarities, and to include theological and socio-economic facets of communal moral formation, Allison shows that Philodemus and Paul uniquely shed fresh light on one another’s texts when understood in comparative perspective.

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Justin Reid Allison, Ph.D. (2019), Durham University, is Associate Professor of New Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta.
1 Introduction
 1.1  Context, Rationale, and Goals
 1.2  Malherbe and Glad on “Psychagogy” in Paul
 1.3  Methodological Framework
 1.4  Overview
2 Economic Interdependence among Epicurean Friends on the Bay of Naples
 2.1  Historical Overview of Philodemus
 2.2  The Socio-Economic Location of Philodemus and His Friends
 2.3  Economic Interdependence among Friends
3 Philodemus’s Theology of Moral Formation
 3.1  Introduction to On Gods and On Piety
 3.2  The Epicurean Gods and Their Role in Moral Formation
 3.3  Assimilation to the Gods
 3.4  Excursus: Realist and Idealist Interpretations of Epicurean Gods
4 Communal Moral Formation in Philodemus
 4.1  Introduction to On Frank Criticism (PHerc. 1471)
 4.2  Communal Moral Formation as Shared Inquiry (συζήτησις)
 4.3  Core Evidence for the Communal Practice of Frank Criticism
 4.4  The Conception and Practice of Reciprocal Frank Criticism
5 Economic Interdependence among Christians in Corinth
 5.1  The Impoverished Socio-Economic Location of Paul and His Communities
 5.2  Interdependent Economic Reciprocity among Poor Believers
 5.3  Summary
6 Communal Moral Formation in Paul (1 Corinthians 8:1–11:1)
 6.1  The Subject and Situations of 1 Cor 8:1–11:1
 6.2  Adaptation to the Weak
 6.3  Constructing the Weak
 6.4  The Weak’s Construction of the Knowers
 6.5  Constructive Reciprocity and Interdependence
7 Communal Moral Formation in Paul (1 Corinthians 12:1–14:40)
 7.1  Overview of 1 Corinthians 12–14
 7.2  1 Corinthians 12: Divine and Human Involvement in Construction
 7.3  The Content and Character of Constructive Speech
 7.4  The Effects and Reception of Constructive Speech
 7.5  Interdependence in Moral Construction
 7.6  Summary
8 Paul and Philodemus in Comparative Perspective
 8.1  Socio-Economic Interdependence
 8.2  Theology of Moral Formation
 8.3  Formative Practice
 8.4  Interdependence in Moral Formation
 8.5  Concluding Summary
 8.6  Pathways for Further Research
Those interested in the lived realities of Philodemus's Epicurean philosophy, of the apostle Paul's Christian theology/philosophy, and the similarities and differences between them.