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Social Justice and the Legitimacy of SlaveryThe Role of Philosophical Asceticism from Ancient Judaism to Late Antiquity$
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Ilaria L.E. Ramelli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777274.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

The Question at Stake, Methodological Guidelines, and Contribution to Research

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Social Justice and the Legitimacy of Slavery
Author(s):

Ilaria L. E. Ramelli

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777274.003.0001

The substantial Introduction sets the theoretical and methodological stage for the subsequent seven chapters. It is concerned with, among other things, whether the concept of social justice is simply a modern notion, illegitimately projected back onto antiquity. It suggests that, on the contrary, some ancient and late antique thinkers singled it out, and that these thinkers belong to a tradition of philosophical asceticism. The case is made that the rejection of slavery and social injustice came principally from philosophical asceticism. Based on an accurate discussion of definitions of asceticism in ancient and late antique sources, it is offered that asceticism has to do not only with renunciation, but also with justice. The link between philosophical asceticism and justice arguably goes back to Plato. It is suggested that philosophical asceticism played a role in the continuity that is here argued to have existed between asceticism in Greek ‘pagan’ philosophy and Christian asceticism.

Keywords:   social justice, philosophical asceticism, definitions of asceticism, asceticism and justice, slavery and social injustice

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