Essay on daydreaming

Thus the Pauline revolution. Paul severed culture from religion, setting aside both Greek paideia and the Jewish halakhah. Under his care, the Torah under­went a severe slimming cure. Of the 613 commandments, Paul kept only the Decalogue in its literal sense and interpreted the others largely as allegories and spiritual anticipations of Christ. As a consequence, faced with questions about how to live a good and full life, the Christian believer was left with very general moral principles. He had to look elsewhere for precise guidelines. This “elsewhere” turned out to be the Roman polity, together with the law that regulated it, along with the various sects of Greek philosophy. What is important about these sources is that, for the Christian, they were shorn of their religious underpinnings. For those who lived under Christ’s lordship, pagan culture became what we today speak of as “culture,” something to be admired, even cherished, but inessential, which is to say superfluous. Thus pagan material entered into the Christian framework without losing its specificity. This is quite remarkable. As historians we know that all civilizations retain ­earlier layers and foreign ­influences. But they are usually ­reshaped, ­reinterpreted, and disguised to appear indigenous. The Pauline revolution allowed Christianity to adopt what it found useful and inspiring in a much more straightforward way. Pagan culture was not digested, but included.

Essay on daydreaming

essay on daydreaming

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