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Why do you suppose Jesus never condemned slavery?

 
 
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 10:30 am
This is a question I asked over in Abuzz a couple years back. Thought I'd give it a try over here.

No need for an extensive preliminary discussion of why I ask the question. In fact, no need to clarify or justify the question any more than simply to ask it.

Why do you suppose Jesus didn't condemned slavery?

Why do you suppose he never spoke out against it?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 40 • Views: 85,079 • Replies: 1,692

 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 11:22 am
Very likely because slavery was not an issue in those portions of the Roman empire east of Illyria (think: Yugoslavia). Slavery brought down the economy of the empire in the west, just as it had sunk the Laconian hegemony (think: Sparta). But in the eastern portion of the empire, slavery was almost non-existant. Most slaves in the Roman empire east of the Balkan penninsula were brought there by those who had owned them first in the west.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 11:31 am
Even if all the information you shared is correct, Set, I don't see that it even touches on the question of why Jesus never condemned slavery.

Certainly slavery was extant in the area in which Jesus lived.

He saw it -- and apparently never thought it worthwhile to comment on it.

My question is aimed at trying to get some ideas of why people in A2K SUPPOSE Jesus did not.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 11:34 am
It was only speculation, and the information is correct. I really rather doubt the slaves were commonly seen in Palestine at that time, although they may have turned up occassionally. It's really a non-issue for me, though, so think what you like.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 11:40 am
I don't know the Bible well, and so don't really feel qualified to comment, but I think that assuming Jesus was a real person, what he said and what made it into the Bible and stayed in the Bible are separate things.

In other words, I think he may well have said as much, but in the recording and sifting and winnowing that happened, the same political forces that shaped the Bible in various ways excised it (or failed to record it in the first place.)

I just read something interesting about how those changes happened, I think in the newsweek article about "The Da Vinci Code", lemme check...

This is all sidestepping whether there is actually no record of his having condemned slavery, though. I believe it, but wouldn't be terribly surprised if someone who knows far more about the Bible than I steps in and says, "He DID condemn it, right here..."
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 11:44 am
This isn't quite what I had in mind, but is along the same lines:

Quote:
Yet Brooten, now a professor of Christian studies at Brandeis University, made the remarkable discovery by reading older versions of the Bible that Junius, one of the many Christian "Apostles" mentioned by Saint Paul, was in fact a woman, Junia, whose name was masculinized over the centuries by translators with their own agenda. Brooten's discovery became "official" when Junia's real name was incorporated into the New Standard Revised Version of the Bible, which came out in 1989.


http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3606274/
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Laptoploon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 12:14 pm
Because he was either (a) misreported or (b) the bible was written by men(sic) of the time and slavery was no big deal
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 12:44 pm
Perhaps because slaves weren't treated as badly at that point in time as they were afterwards?

My understanding is that there was a large slave revolt somewhere around 70 BC and after that point slaves were treated much better then they had been. Even prior to that the Romans had pretty well established rules for maintaining slaves that included housing, food and clothing requirements. For example, slave owners were required to provide tunics and shoes for their slaves and keep them in good repair, slaves were to be given bread, wine, olives, olive oil, salt, bacon, etc..

I'm not sure how much of this carried into other regions though.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:03 pm
Jesus spoke to a specific audience -- i.e. Jews (mainly working class) living under Roman occupation in Palestine some 2000 years ago. He occasionally addressed the Jewish religious class.

I doubt any of his audience owned slaves or had anything to do with the slave trade which the ruling Roman classes would have been a part of.

Jesus taught the universal themes of "love of God", "love of man", "forgiveness" and faithfulness.

The specific themes were addressed to a very specific audience that lived in Palestine 2000 years ago. They included paying taxes and forgiving capital offenses.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:09 pm
Why do you suppose George Washington never condemned slavery?
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:24 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
Jesus spoke to a specific audience -- i.e. Jews (mainly working class) living under Roman occupation in Palestine some 2000 years ago. He occasionally addressed the Jewish religious class.

I doubt any of his audience owned slaves or had anything to do with the slave trade which the ruling Roman classes would have been a part of.

Jesus taught the universal themes of "love of God", "love of man", "forgiveness" and faithfulness.

The specific themes were addressed to a very specific audience that lived in Palestine 2000 years ago. They included paying taxes and forgiving capital offenses.


Why didn't he condemn Roman slavery then?
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:26 pm
Steve (as 41oo) wrote:
Why do you suppose George Washington never condemned slavery?



My guess is because George Washington didn't think there was anything wrong with it.


Now, any chance you'd like to respond to the question I asked, Steve? I'd love to hear your opinion.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:38 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:

Why didn't he condemn Roman slavery then?


Because he wasn't speaking to Romans.

A good leader (religious or not) says the things that his followers need to hear. It is a bad leader who spends his time speaking about the sins of others.

Hearing about how bad other people are doesn't help me live a good life - and actually tends to make me have less than godly emotions.

It is better to hear about the things I can change to live a better life and to help my neighbors.

In this, I think what Jesus chose to talk about (as recorded in the Bible) was right on.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:49 pm
Frank's point is that slavery was clearly an issue during Jesus time, and has continued to be a problem since. As the supposed moral leader of all humanity why would Jesus not speak out against such a widespread and immoral practice?

Setanta's defense that 'there was no slavery in Jesus area during his life' is irrelevent. Christianity is supposed to be a universal, all-encompassing, and eternal belief system. If Jesus is humanities moral leader, why would only address the moral issues of his time, his place? It seems rather myopic for a all-encompassing and timeless religion.

I think that is Frank's basic argument. But, of course, I am IronLionZion not Frank Apisa so I don't know.
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Laptoploon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:54 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:


Why didn't he condemn Roman slavery then?


Why didn't/don't (insert political/social leader of your choice) condemn the fact that most working people didn't/don't get free at the point of delivery health care?

I've always thought "morally" wrong is subjective.
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Laptoploon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:56 pm
IronLionZion wrote:
Frank's point is that slavery was clearly an issue during Jesus time, .


Actually I think it demonstrably wasn't an issue. It's merely an issue from a 21st century perspective.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:56 pm
Laptoploon wrote:

Why didn't/don't (insert political/social leader of your choice) condemn the fact that most working people didn't/don't get free at the point of delivery health care?


To be fair, most political/social leaders do not claim to be the eternal moral leader of humanity.

Laptoploon wrote:

Actually I think it demonstrably wasn't an issue. It's merely an issue from a 21st century perspective.


The fact is that there was slavery in Jesus time. Another fact is that slavery has existed throughout the ages and throughout the world.

The question of why it wasn't an issue to Jesus is the whole point of this thread, Lap. Read my last post. Clearly, in our modern age and culture most people and most Christians consider the concept of slavery wrong. Which begs the question: if Jesus is the eternal moral leader of all humanity why didn't he speak out against slavery if it was wrong, and keeping in mind the fact that it has been such a ubiquitous problem throughout the ages?
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Laptoploon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 01:58 pm
Never mind most, try any.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 02:05 pm
There is no reason to assume that Yeshuwah the Rabbi considered himself to be the eternal moral leader of humanity, if in fact, such an individual ever existed. Laptoploon has provided the most cogent response so far: "Actually I think it demonstrably wasn't an issue. It's merely an issue from a 21st century perspective."

Appeals to what the moral responsibilities of "Jesus" ought to be, or have been, are meaningless, and out of context for a discussion of Palastine two thousand years ago.

A pointless, but interesting discussion.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2004 02:07 pm
Laptoploon wrote:
Never mind most, try any.


Question

Setanta wrote:
There is no reason to assume that Yeshuwah the Rabbi considered himself to be the eternal moral leader of humanity, if in fact, such an individual ever existed.


Jesus was the son of God, the perfect moral being, and the person whom every human should strive to be like. According to thr Christian religion, at least.

Quote:
Appeals to what the moral responsibilities of "Jesus" ought to be, or have been, are meaningless, and out of context for a discussion of Palastine two thousand years ago.

A pointless, but interesting discussion.


Questioning the morality of someone who is considered by millions to be the perfect moral being is a 'pointless discussion?'

I think Frank is trying to demonstarte the myopia of a religion that claims to be eternal and all-encompassing. It also makes a statement about the subjectivity of morality. I think this has been the point all along.

Ie- If the concept of slavery is wrong today, then it was wrong in Jesus time as well. If Jesus thought otherwise, then his morality cannot be eternal and all-encompassing. On the other hand, even if Jesus did think slavery was wrong but chose not to speak out against it, it goes to show the myopia of his supposed all-encompassing morality.
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