Exegetical extras: Paul and Seneca

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. 

The Stoic philosopher Seneca represents possibly the height of Greek and Roman ethical idealism. Writing at about the same time as the apostle Paul, he urged people to live up to the highest ideals of virtuous behaviour. One such ideal was that of putting oneself at risk for the sake of another. He writes this:

If a man be worthy I would defend him even with my blood, and would share his perils. (On Benefits, 1.10.6)
I must help him who is perishing, yet so that I do not perish myself, unless by so doing I can save a great man or a great cause. (2.15)

Continue reading