Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Total Depravity in the Pagan World?

I've just been re-reading Luke Johnson's Writings of the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999), 28, as I set my quiz for my Historical Jesus class today and I was reminded of this wonderful quotation of A. D. Nock:
It is in any case a grave error to think of the ordinary man in the Roman Empire as a depraved and cruel fiend, dividing his hours between the brothel and intoxication, torturing a slave from time to time when he felt bored, and indifferent to the suffering and poverty of others.
Johnson does not give the precise reference, but it appears to be Arthur Darby Nock, Conversion: The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933), 218.


Mr. Mcgranor said...

What a life the Papist lives are they even living in a sense of the term? said...

So this implies that it was true for the rich and powerful Roman man (at least some of them). Even worse, a rich and powerful man could even create his own version of history. I think we completely underestimate the cleverness, craftiness and lying of such who told their historians what to write.

Anonymous said...

there were few "Romans". The vast majority of folks were slaves or members of conquered states. A "Roman Citizen" is a group that most people today don't understand. It's not like being an "American".

I encourage folks that are looking to understand Rome of the ancient world to check out The History of Rome which is an excellent podcast on the subject.

Cheers! RichGriese.NET