Friday, 3 April 2015

Carmen Palomo Pinel: The survival of the classical idea of justice in Lactantius´work

Lactantius describes justice as pietas et aequitas. At first, man starts from the search and contemplation of God, a contemplation that refers him to the need to worship Him because God, as a father, has the right to be honoured. In a second stage, to give to God the worship due to him and he desires to be given, man must adhere to the divine commands. Classical justice is thus reformulated and provided with a new content. The narrow limits of legal debt overflow, giving space to Christian caritas - which does not deny justice, since it is a direct result of it, but rather completes it and renders it whole. This second horizontal movement of man towards his brethren is what Lactantius called aequitas and is seamlessly derived from the first (pietas). Lactantius is very aware of the conception of justice that Roman Law shows in D. 1. 1. 1. 1, but in his work he redefines its terms. Thus, justice cannot be complete if it is not understood in the light of the true religion. Otherwise, it will be doomed to be a sham philosophy, unable to make men good and righteous. On the other hand, the real prize is immortality and the true punishment is the deprivation of it. Lactantian thinking points out the insufficiency of justice understood the way the Roman jurists do.

No comments:

Post a Comment