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The Bible and the Pursuit of HappinessWhat the Old and New Testaments Teach Us about the Good Life$
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Brent A. Strawn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199795734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795734.001.0001

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A Happy Blend

A Happy Blend

Isaiah’s Vision of Happiness (and Beyond)

Chapter:
(p.75) 3 A Happy Blend
Source:
The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness
Author(s):

Jacqueline Lapsley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795734.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the book of Isaiah as one example of how the prophets treat the theme of happiness. She discerns an overall emphasis on flourishing—what Aristotle called eudaimonia—as opposed to pure hedonism. That said, the line is blurred insofar as human flourishing includes many of the “little things” that are of only secondary importance in Aristotle’s understanding. The blurring of hedonic and eudaimonic visions has significant ethical payoff. The eudaimonic aspects—especially the notions that the truly good human life is one of obedience to God’s torah and that it inescapably involves the life of the other/neighbor—means that life is not to be lived according to the nihilistic, market-driving worldview that is so familiar in our culture. The presence of hedonic aspects, however, means that the happy life isn’t solely one of self-sacrifice or self-emptying. Instead, happiness is a happy blend of eudaimonic and hedonic aspects of the life well-lived with God and others.

Keywords:   happiness, prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Nihilism, self-sacrifice, hedonism, eudaimonism

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