2018 Volume 45

Issue 01 -- Spring 2018


The Textualization of Prophecy: The Lachish Letters in Light of Evidence from Mari, Nineveh, and Literacy in Judah: pp. 3–13

William Briggs
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

An investigation of the Lachish letters themselves in comparison with the biblical, Mariote, and Neo-Assyrian prophetic materials demonstrates three primary conclusions concerning the textualization of prophecy. First, state officials significantly concerned themselves with prophetic messages in each Mari, Assyria, and Israel/Judah. Second, there were multiple forms in which prophecy became textualized in ancient Israel/Judah, Third, the Lachish letters demonstrate that, in preexilic Israel/Judah, orality and literacy as they relate to prophecy operated side by side rather than in opposition to or replacement of one another.


The Protest of Christ and the Death within God: An Analysis of Moltmann’s Departure from Classical Theism in The Crucified God: pp. 15–26

Collin M. Smith
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

Moltmann’s unique experience as an adolescent during Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, his subsequent service as a German soldier in WWII, and eventual status as a prisoner of war in Britain acutely inform the theological sentiments of his 1974 opus, The Crucified God. After the 19th century, several war-time theologians and philosophers, such as Whitehead and Bonhoeffer, began following in the footsteps of Isaak Dorner by abandoning the classical notion of divine impassibility. Moltmann became the most prominent among these voices calling for the pathos of God. As part of the burgeoning post-Shoah German theological dialogue, Moltmann engages a Jewish Marxist as an ally and appropriates the Markan cry of dereliction to characterize Jesus as a theological revolutionary. At the heart of this theological move for Moltmann is his adaptation of Luther’s theologia crucis. For Moltmann, the crucified Christ is the criterion by which all Christian theology is to face criticism and inspires his unique methodology that starts not from above, nor from below. Moltmann argues that Christian theology has traditionally allowed existing metaphysical assumptions about God to interpret the crucifixion event instead of make the “crucified God” the absolute hermeneutic lens by which any and all theistic assertions are evaluated. The primary Christological thrust of The Crucified God is Moltmann’s postulation that Christ, the human God and eternal Son, existentially experienced the meaningful abandonment of the Father, and ultimately godforsakenness, which identifies Christ (God) in solidarity with the godless, hopeless and abandoned nonpersons, whom his death atones for. Therefore, Christ’s death on the cross was a Trinitarian event in which God is both subject and object, martyr and griever; thus, it was not a “death of God” that occurred but a “death in God.”


Where Is the Love? The Disruptive Possibilities of Women’s Friendships as Participation in the Triune God: pp. 27–36

Amy L. Chilton
Fuller Theological Seminary
Pasadena CA 91104
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa CA 91702

Although theology in general, and theology of the Trinity in particular, has turned toward relationality, there is within it a decided lack of friendship.  This paper examines Paul Fiddes’s theology of participation in the Trinity as a means of upsetting practices of dominion and the continued reliance in some Baptist theological circles on heterosexual marriage as the primary relational means by which persons image and participate in God. If women and men are to participate in the Triune God and by doing so undermine theologies and practices of domination, female friendships are an intrinsically necessary resource for doing Trinitarian theology.


What Have Baptist Professors of Religion to Do with Magisterium?: pp. 35–48

Steven R. Harmon
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

All Christian churches configure tradition by means of magisterium, even if not designated as such, for all expressions of church must teach something if they are to form faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. This article contends that in addition to the Catholic magisterium in its hierarchical and non-hierarchical dimensions, the liturgically and devotionally traditioned Orthodox magisterium, and the Magisterial Protestant pattern of magisterium featuring authoritative teachers and confessional documents, there is a Free Church practice of magisterium that localizes traditioning authority in the gathered congregation. Yet it is not the gathered congregation alone that authorizes its teaching, for the local church is interdependent with the whole church and its varied expressions of magisterium. In light of this interdependence the article identifies the diverse theological resources distributed throughout the whole church that should inform practices of Free Church magisterium and suggests how Baptist professors of religion may contribute to such practices.


Karl Barth, Confessionalism, and the Question of Baptist Identity: pp. 49–67

Kimlyn J. Bender
George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Waco TX 76798.

Karl Barth’s understanding of the nature, normativity, service, and endurance of confessions was developed in his early professorate and influenced by his rediscovery of the Scripture principle in his Reformation inheritance.  Barth’s attempt to answer the question of Reformed identity was in turn shaped in large part by doctrinal discoveries and convictions concerning Scripture and confession.  His conclusions regarding confessions and confessional identity speak beyond his context into those of all heirs of the reforming traditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Barth’s understanding of confessionalism thus provides a lens through which we might consider the question of Baptist identity today.


Inmate Ministry as Contextual Missiology: Best Practices for America’s Emerging Prison Seminary Movement: pp. 69–79

Joshua Hays
Institute for Studies of Religion
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

Michael Hallett
University of North Florida
Jacksonville FL 32224

Byron R. Johnson
Institute for Studies of Religion
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

Sung Joon Jang
Institute for Studies of Religion
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

Grant Duwe
Minnesota Department of Corrections
St. Paul MN 55108

Louisiana State Penitentiary (“Angola”) has offered degrees in Christian ministry to inmates since 1995 through New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Inmate ministers serve within Angola’s preexisting churches, and over a dozen other states have adapted the “Angola model.” This paper connects three years of field research with best practices from missiology in order to address religious freedom for inmates, state establishment of religion, and mass incarceration. Contextualization recognizes and adapts to each institution’s unique culture. Indigenization carries this contextualization further by equipping inmate leadership. Finally, policy mobilization has direct consequences for the access and efficacy of missionary efforts behind bars.


Issue 02 -- Summer 2018


Editorial Introduction: Unveiling Revelation and Jesus of Galilee: Essays in Honor of Mitchell Reddish: pp. 107–109

Jaime Clark-Soles
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University
Dallas TX 75275


A Brief Biography of Mitchell G. Reddish: pp. 111–112

Kandy Queen-Sutherland
Stetson Univeristy
DeLand FL 32723


“Jesus’ Call to Decision Implies an Ecclesiology”—The Church in the Theology of the Apocalypse: pp. 113–126

M. Eugene Boring
Brite Divinity School
Fort Worth TX 76129

This essay explores Revelation's understanding of the church from three perspectives: (1) laterally—the church in its cultural setting; (2) chronologically—the church in its historical setting; (3) vertically—the church in its transcendent setting. Much like the church of twenty-first century America, the church of Revelation carried on its mission as part of a fragmented church in a pluralistic world. In this situation, it both looked back to its origins and history, and forward to future eschatological vindication. It frames its identity with insight drawn from Scripture, as interpreted in the previous generation of the church's life. Revelation calls the church to understand itself as more than a human institution, for it already participates in the transcendent world of God.


The Sea of Glass, the Lake of Fire, and the Topography of Heaven in Revelation: pp. 127–138

Richard B. Vinson
Salem College
Winston-Salem NC 27101

The paper investigates Revelation’s use of “sea,” its descriptions of God’s throne room, and its use of temporary and permanent means of punishment to try to answer the question of why there is a sea in heaven, and why it disappears at the end of the narrative. The paper suggest that the sea of glass and the lake of fire, both located in the throne room, are the same entity viewed from different perspectives, and that the author expected both to be destroyed along with the old heaven and earth.


The Role (or Lack thereof) of Christ in the Eschaton in Paul and Revelation: pp. 139–151

Jerry L. Sumney
Lexington Theological Seminary
Lexington KY 40502

This essay compares how the early church saw the role of the risen Christ in the Parousia. It compares a tradition Paul quotes in 1 Cor 15:24-28 with Paul’s own view and the book of Revelation, finding differing views about Christ’s role. Paul’s corrections and qualifications of the tradition he cites indicate that he gives Christ a less active role than the tradition he cites. Similarly, the central section of Revelation envisions a less active role for Christ than either its introductory letters to the seven churches and epilogue or the tradition Paul cites. Both Revelation and Paul have a more theocentric scenario than the tradition Paul cites. It is only in the pre-formed tradition Paul cites that Christ, rather than God, is the one who subdues the powers of evil.


Jezebel and the Teachings of Balaam: Anti-Pauline Rhetoric in the Apocalypse of John: pp. 153–165

David L. Barr
Wright State University
Dayton OH 45435

It is impossible to ignore Paul's influence in Roman Asia Minor; yet John did. Both addressed the issues connected with eating food that had been dedicated to another god, but John seems oblivious to Paul's practices. A literary and social examination of their approaches suggests that they differed on more than menus. Their differences in both lifestyle and worldview were rooted in their attitudes toward those outside. For John, the outside world was corrupt and must be avoided. He would build a wall between his community and those outside (the dogs and idolaters—22:15). For Paul, the outside world was his mission; he sought to claim it and transform it. He would build bridges. This fundamental distrust of the world resulted in (and was supported by) John’s vision, which saw the dramatic, violent, and utter destruction of the present world and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, a vision quite unlike Paul’s portrayal of the Parousia.


Fire and Fury: Standing with John at the End of the World: pp. 167–182

Tina Pippin
Agnes Scott College
Decatur GA 30030

Prophecy belief holds to both the violent destruction of the earth in the apocalypse, and its subsequent pristine renewal in the New Jerusalem. Scholars of the Book of Revelation have traditionally read this end time text as a positive environmental statement of a God who recreates the world anew after its fiery ending. From Noah (flood) to John (fire), the earth is in the crosshairs of a wrathful deity. In this article I examine the phenomenon of biblical scholars to rehabilitate the environmental violence and destruction in Revelation. I argue that this vision of the future fuels the U.S. nuclear proliferation and policy, and is not a positive message in the context of caring for the environment in the future.


The Use of the Book of Revelation by Selected Muslim Apocalypticists: pp. 183–198

R. Scott Nash
Mercer University
Macon GA 31207

The year 1987 witnessed an innovation in Muslim apocalyptic writing when Sa’id Ayyub departed from tradition and drew from Christian sources to produce his book Al-Masīh al-Dajjāl, the anti-christ. Numerous Arabic authors began to do the same. The present study examines how three such modern Muslim apocalypticists (Ayuub, Bashir Muhammad ˁAbdallah, and Safar al-Hawali) interpret the book of Revelation. These modern writers are first placed within a stream of Muslim apocalypticism that has its roots in the Qur’an. The study also follows the growth of Muslim apocalyptic in the hadith traditions and the development of apocalyptic end-time scenarios in the middle ages. The article also examines some of the cause for the modern surge in apocalyptic writings by Muslims.


What Counts as “Resistance” in Revelation?: pp. 199–212

Greg Carey
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Lancaster PA 17603

Interpreters commonly identify Revelation as “resistance literature,” meaning that Revelation was written in part to undermine Roman hegemony. Yet we deploy the term “resistance” in diverse ways, often contradicting one another without acknowledging our implicit disagreements. This essay assesses diverse ways in which we might imagine resistance and proposes several ways in which Revelation does – and does not – embody resistance. The ancient Jewish and Christian literary apocalypses generally sympathize with violent revolt but hope instead for messianic and/or eschatological salvation. The term hypomonē figures prominently in Revelation, and we should read it in the context of martyria and nikē: the Lamb’s followers conquer the Beast through their persistent testimony. Revelation develops a multi-leveled critique of Rome: through diverse literary techniques it “unveils” the empire’s corruption, idolatry, cruelty, and exploitation, dehumanizing the empire and imagining its destruction. Revelation attributes true glory to the Lamb and the Bride, not the Beast and the Prostitute. Postcolonial critique enables our understanding that Revelation’s empire-critical literary devices do not escape Rome’s rhetoric of domination and destruction.  


The Galilee Quest: The Historical Jesus and the Historical Galilee: pp. 213–227

R. Alan Culpepper
McAfee School of Theology
Mercer University
Atlanta GA 30341

Scholarship on the historical Jesus and scholarship on Galilee in the first century have been moving on converging tracks for the last 35 to 40 years as historical Jesus studies have away moved from the criterion of dissimilarity and toward a new appreciation for the Jewishness of Jesus. At the same time, recent archaeological discoveries have changed our understanding of first-century Galilee. Mark Chancey revised our understanding of the Hellenization and Romanization of Galilee. Morton Hørning Jensen shed new light on the era of Herod Antipas in Galilee, and Mordechai Aviam documented a more nuanced view of life in the towns and villages of Galilee. The result is that the portraits of the historical Jesus advanced by John Dominic Crossan, Richard Horsley, and others must now be revised. After surveying current scholarship on first-century Galilee, this essay concludes with summaries of what seems to be settled, what is trending, and what is still open to debate.

Issue 03 -- Fall 2018


Baptists and the Interplay of Word/Spirit/Experience: pp. 239–49

C. Douglas Weaver
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

This article about Baptist identity traces various descriptions of Spirit-led experiences among Baptists in the United States. The relation of conscience to Spirit is explored. Recognizable names like John Clarke, John Leland, and Walter Rauschenbusch are mentioned, but so are holiness Baptists like A. J. Gordon and holiness turned Pentecostal, C. H. Mason. Baptist DNA is not just Word, or even Word and experience. Rather, more often than not it has been in interplay of Word/Spirit/Experience—and not necessarily in that order. Experience is defining; the paradigm of Word/Spirit/Experience is so intertwined one cannot be referred to without the other. Spirit-led experience illuminates our interpretation of the Bible and the world around us, while the Spirit-inspired Word gives us the means by which to interpret our experience. But Baptists afraid of a leading role for experience miss what has driven Baptist identity.


Helen Barrett Montgomery: Mediator in an Era of Division: pp. 251–63

Mandy E. McMichael
Baylor University
Waco TX 76798

In this essay, I examine the interplay of practice and principle in Helen Barrett Montgomery’s life to explain why she was compelled to seek a way around the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. Montgomery’s personal struggles to resolve the tension between her strong denominational identity and her desire to converse with Christians from a variety of traditions enabled her to work as a mediator between the Fundamentalists and Modernists. Her beliefs in holistic missions, ecumenism, and pragmatism also fueled her desire for unity in spite of doctrinal differences, and her confidence in Baptist freedom and democracy made her think avoiding schism was possible. Montgomery articulated a third position during the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy that derived from her particular vision of the practice of evangelism.


“The Tragedy Which Remade Him” and “The Secret of His Power”: George W. Truett’s Root Metaphorical Dream and the Accidental Shooting of J. C. Arnold: pp. 265–75

Merrill M. Hawkins
Carson-Newman University
Jefferson City TN 37760

Shortly after assuming the pastorate of Dallas’ First Baptist Church in 1897, George W. Truett killed his friend, J. C. Arnold, in a hunting accident. The tragedy plunged Truett into despair and he made immediate plans to step aside from his post in the church just months after he started. However, days after the funeral of Arnold, Truett experienced a transformative dream that provided him the ability to remain in his work as pastor of the congregation. Truett kept the dream private, informing only about a dozen people throughout most of his life. To this inner circle, however, Truett contended that the dream experience served as the most significant guiding aspect of his adult life. The article explores the content and the experience of that dream informed by the work of Kelly Buckeley on dreams that sees these experiences as root metaphors bringing aid to a person in a time of crisis.


Treading Water at the Cliff’s Edge: The Dilemma Posed by Federal Money for Southern Baptist Colleges and Universities, 1958–1969: pp. 277–97

John E. Carter
Boston College
Chestnut Hill MA 02467

Using North Carolina as a case study, this essay examines the dilemma posed for Southern Baptist colleges and universities during the period from 1958 to 1969 by the Baptist commitment to church-state separation, understood at the time as a bar against accepting the federal aid on which other colleges and universities were becoming dependent. Increased identification with church-state separation during the 1960 presidential campaign made accepting this money difficult precisely at the time the funds were most needed, laying the foundation for the schools’ future institutional independence, as well as for a changed notion of religious liberty for many Baptists.


Is There a Eucharistic Kids’ Table? Reflections on Children, Catechesis, and Baptism: pp. 299–312

Derek C. Hatch
Howard Payne University
Brownwood TX 76801

This article addresses Baptist conversations about the earliest appropriate age for someone to receive baptism. However, rather than focusing on an elusive “age of accountability,” emphasis will shift to when a child is judged to be ready to receive the bread and cup within the eucharist. To answer this question, this essay will engage Catholic sources not merely on the topic of baptism, but on the continuum of catechesis and the rituals that occur between baptism and confirmation, with particular focus on first communion. Through this discussion, Baptists can gain some theological clarity regarding their own practice of baptism as part of a robust journey of Christian beginnings.


“Were we infants among you?”—Punctuating 1 Thessalonians 2:7b Properly: pp. 313–26

Mark Proctor
Lee University
Cleveland TN 37320

Depending on the variant reading one adopts, the text of 1 Thess 2:7b describes Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica as either gentle (ἤπιοι) or infantile (νήπιοι). While New Testament textual criticism has long recognized the latter reading’s superior text-critical pedigree, the persistence on the part of modern critical editions like the UBSGNT in punctuating v. 7b as a declarative statement has left many preferring its rival on the grounds that ἤπιοι alone makes sense in light of the surrounding context. This paper seeks to resolve the text-critical and interpretive issues surrounding 1 Thess 2:7b by reading it instead as a rhetorical question that expects a negative answer. Doing so both permits the well-attested lectio difficilior νήπιοι to remain in the letter’s text and allows Paul’s readers to regard the verse’s content as a perfectly natural lead-in to his claim in the next sentence: “Indeed, were we like infants among you? Just like a nurse tenderly cares for her own children, even so we who long for you thought it appropriate to share with you not only the good news about God, but even our very own souls; for you were beloved by us” (1 Thess 2:7b–8).

Issue 04 -- Winter 2018


Editorial Introduction: Christianity and Stoicism Through the Centuries: pp. 357–59

Timothy A. Brookins
Houston Baptist University
Houston TX 77074


Does Paul Translate the Gospel in Acts 17:22–31? A Critical Engagement with C. Kavin Rowe’s One True Life: pp. 361–76

Joshua W. Jipp
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Deerfield IL 60015

In this essay I engage the important recent work of C. Kavin Rowe’s One True Life who argues that Christianity and Stoicism are “theologically incommensurate traditions” and that neither tradition can be translated into the other. I engage in a close reading of the Lukan Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus and argue that Rowe’s reading ultimately fails to convince as an explanation for the way in which Paul’s sermon functions as a piece of intercultural missionary communication. Drawing upon recent work in the study of missiology, particularly that of Kwame Bediako, I argue that missionary proclamation involves both convergence and conflict. Rowe is right to draw attention to the way in which Paul’s sermon functions as a critique of Greco-Roman polytheism. But he has not successfully accounted for the ways in which Paul’s speech draws upon some of the best features of Hellenistic philosophy, especially Stoic traditions, as a means of exalting the Christian movement as a superior philosophy.


Mode of Discourse and the “Material” Spirit in Paul and the Stoics: pp. 377–88

Timothy A. Brookins
Houston Baptist University
Houston TX 77074

Timothy Brookins evaluates Troels Engberg-Pedersen’s claim that the apostle Paul, like the Stoics, viewed the s/Spirit as a material entity. Assessing “mode” of discourse in Paul’s discussion of anthropological and s/Spirit language, Brookins suggests that Paul’s language of the s/Spirit functions within a substantially figurative/mythical/unreflective /unofficial mode, and therefore that his language of the s/Spirit was underdetermined and not definitely material in reference.


New Friends and Old Rivals in the Letters of Seneca and The Epistle of Diognetus: pp. 389–405

Joseph R. Dodson
Ouachita Baptist University
Arkadelphia AR 71998

In response to C. Kavin Rowe’s dismissal of comparing the rival thought worlds of Stoicism and Christianity based on the arguments of Wittgenstein and McIntyre, this article considers how rival traditions compared themselves with each other before Wittgenstein and McIntyre said they could not do so. It specifically examines the interaction between philosophical and religious rivalries as evidenced in Seneca’s Letters and in The Epistle to Diognetus with the hope of extrapolating implications from these ancient authors regarding how to be faithful in one true life while engaging—more or less—with other competing beliefs and opposing traditions.


Boethius, Christianity, and the Limits of Stoicism: pp. 407–25

Matthew D. Walz
University of Dallas
Dallas TX 75062

In this article I demarcate the limits of Stoicism in relation to philosophical positions consistent with Christian thinking and living. I do so primarily by considering Boethius’s ongoing engagement with Stoicism throughout his intellectual career, first in a number of his philosophical commentaries and then in his best-known work, the Consolation of Philosophy. In the course of this investigation, two additional points come to light: first, that in dealing with Stoicism, Boethius serves as a model for any philosophically inclined Christian who, in Augustinian terms, wants to plunder Egyptian gold ad usum meliorem; and, second, that Stoic modes of thinking remain with us today and, even though they may play a role in a person’s overall philosophical development, ultimately they are antithetical to Christian thinking and living.


Seneca Noster: Roger Bacon and Stoic Moral Philosophy: pp. 427–42

Mary Beth Ingham
Franciscan School of Theology
Oceanside CA 92057

This article traces the historical background and significance of Stoic influences for the Franciscan Masters, in particular for Roger Bacon (1214-1292). Seneca was particularly prized by Bacon for his moral philosophy.  Two aspects of Stoic importance are highlighted in Bacon's Moral Philosophy.  First, the central role played by Stoic values for a moral vision that could fuel the reform of Christians in Latin Europe. Second, the contribution of Stoic ideals to the broader Franciscan missionary outreach to non-believers and pagans beyond Christendom. In Bacon’s mind, Stoic texts and Seneca’s in particular, offered Franciscans a wealth of moral wisdom for both an internal and an external Christian project of reformation and evangelization. In each of these projects we discover how Christian intellectuals in Europe prized the thought of earlier Greek and Roman moral philosophers. 


Peter Abelard’s Dialogues: Negotiation is not Translation: pp. 443–56

Kevin Guilfoy
Carroll University
Waukesha WI 53186

In his Dialogue Between a Philosopher, a Jew and, a Christian, Peter Abelard (d. 1142) attempts to translate Stoic ethical concepts into a Christian moral theory. The attempt appears successful, with the fictional interlocutors mostly agreeing on many key points. However, Abelard’s Christian and his Stoic each make epistemic and metaphysical concessions that remove the barriers to the translation of ethical concepts between traditions. This paper argues that this these concessions are at the core of the Stoic and Christian traditions. The points conceded in order to arrive at agreement are those that define the ethical concepts in each tradition. Thus, agreement is only possible if the Stoic and the Christian concede views that give ethical concepts meaning in the first place. A strict adherent of either the Stoic or Christian tradition could easily reject the result as unstoic or unchristian.


Stoicism, Secularism, and Protestant Moral Thought: The Stoic-Christian Synthesis of Francis Hutcheson: pp. 457–71

Elizabeth Agnew Cochran
Duquesne University
Pittsburgh PA 15282

Two particularly influential narratives about the emergence of secular ethics, those of Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre, characterize both the Protestant Reformation and the modern recovery of the Stoics as contributing to the development of Enlightenment perspectives that reject or set aside particulars of the Christian faith. These narratives raise questions about whether Christian theology, particularly as developed by Protestants in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, is unable to sustain its convictions coherently. They also imply that the modern retrieval of the Stoics contributed to the demise of Christian thought, a conclusion that raises broader questions about the intellectual compatibility of Stoicism with Christian perspectives that emphasize doctrines distinct to the particulars of Christian faith. In light of the questions raised by Taylor and MacIntyre, this essay argues that one promising avenue through which contemporary Christian ethicists can consider the risks and potential goods of engaging Stoic thought is through exploring the work of major thinkers in the Scottish Enlightenment. I briefly consider select writings of Francis Hutcheson, who was an ordained Presbyterian minister who drew heavily on the Stoics and who is known for his influence on thinkers such as Adam Smith and David Hume. I argue that Hutcheson's thought does suggest that certain efforts to engage the Stoics can risk leading to an ethic that minimizes the work of Jesus Christ and the activity of divine grace as central to the Christian life. However, Hutcheson's thought also shows that Stoic thought can help Christian ethicists to conceive human beings' dependence on God within a framework that centers on virtue and flourishing, as a corrective to accounts of Christian ethics that characterize this dependence more exclusively in terms of sin.


Stoicism and Christianity: From Collusion to Distortion: pp. 473–90

Jacqueline Lagrée

Université de Rennes

France, F 35000 Rennes

Nicholas J. Zola, Translator

Pepperdine University

Malibu CA 90263

Roman imperial Stoicism was a Hellenistic philosophy contemporary with Christianity. The relationship between the two moral teachings has proceeded in three grand stages: first there was a spiritual collusion among the church fathers of the second century who drew upon Stoicism; then there was an apologetically-driven, anti-Aristotelian reclamation of Stoicism among the Neostoics of the Renaissance; and finally today there is a secular spirituality generally inspired by Stoicism. Lactantius and Clement of Alexandria found in Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, or Musonius the means of enriching their sermons; they hoped thereby to offer in the Gospel a wisdom sounder than what philosophy could offer. In the Renaissance, Justus Lipsius took up the main themes not only of Stoic morality but of Stoic physics and metaphysics, correcting by means of Neoplatonism the elements of Stoicism that might shock a Christian. Today the reading of Epictetus feeds a secular wisdom that has little left in common with Christianity.