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Paul's Self-Sufficiency (Philippians 4:11)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with Philippians 4: 11, specifically, with Paul's statement that he was a αύτάρκης in all things. It argues that the statement should be understood in the context of ancient discussions of friendship and not the technical Stoic idea of a αύτάρκεια. Basic to ancient friendship was the notion of sharing, including sharing the adversity encountered by a friend. Before examining Philippians 4 more closely, the chapter draws attention to the idea of self-sufficiency, particularly in its non-technical meaning. Self-sufficiency in its most uncompromising form continued to be the ideal of many Cynics. According to Seneca, Demetrius used to scorn theory and scientific speculation because they served no practical purpose. Paul's deft use of the language of friendship shows that he was fully aware of how the subject was being discussed and was able to use the language for his own purpose.

Keywords: Cynics; Demetrius; Paul; Philippians 4: 11; Seneca

10.1163/9789004267282_008
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