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4 Hellenistic Moralists and the New Testament

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Chapter Summary

The affinity between Christian ethical teaching and that of the Hellenistic moralists was recognized by the early church. Some of them were heavily indebted to Hellenistic moral teaching, especially to that of the Stoics, without making explicit reference to their sources, while others openly acknowledged their debt. A considerable amount of work has been done to clarify the relationship between the New Testament (NT) (especially the Pauline letters and the Epistle of James) and the moral philosophers. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth, great interest was shown in post-Aristotelian philosophy. One type of material that appears frequently in moral propaganda and is also found in the NT is the topos, the stock treatment of subjects of interest to the moralist.

Keywords: Hellenistic moralists; New Testament (NT); Pauline letters



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