Saturday, 2 May 2015

Andrew Crislip: Lupē in Early Christian Emotional Discourse

Lupē is among the four cardinal pathē of Stoic ethics, and notably the only of the four without a positive counterpart (eupatheiai).  Greek and Roman moralists such as Seneca and Galen were interested in the passions of distress, sadness, and grief, and how they should be controlled and even eliminated. This paper will explore how early Christians from the period of the Second Sophistic through Constantine’s revolution responded to such widespread standards of emotional regulation. Christians, in fact, drew on a variety of emotional models, models which did not always agree with the predominant models of emotional regulation in the Second Sophistic. The Jesus of the Synoptics declares “happy” those who weep or mourn. He suffers from sadness and emotional anguish, and weeps for others. Yet in the Johannine farewell discourse Jesus predicts an imminent time in which all sorrow (lupē) will be replaced by unceasing joy.  In contrast, Paul speaks of the duality of lupē, a worldly sadness that leads to (spiritual) death, and a godly sadness that leads to repentance and salvation. Christians thus looked to various models for emotional behavior both within Greco-Roman moral philosophy and within the diverse Christian literature of the first century. I will look at how early Christians negotiated these various emotional standards with an eye to questioning whether Christian ethics offered new models for emotional regulation and display. Authors and texts to be discussed include Hermas, Clement of Alexandria, Gnostic, Valentinian, and “Jewish-Christian” texts, and Eusebius of Caesarea. 

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