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The pre-Christian concept of human dignity in Greek and Roman antiquity

Lossl, Josef 2019. The pre-Christian concept of human dignity in Greek and Roman antiquity. In: Loughlin, John ed. Human Dignity in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Orthodox Perspectives, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 37-56.

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Abstract

In this second chapter of the book 'Human Dignity in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition' the case is made that human dignity is a concept which is also rooted outside this tradition, namely in the philosophical and educational tradition of Greek and Roman Antiquity. It was to this tradition that the Renaissance and the Enlightenment appealed with their concept of human dignity, and the commitment to the concept in modern human rights and constitutional legislation too is indebted to it. The chapter traces the concept from early Greek legal sources via early philosophical documents (Presocratics) to Plato and Aristotle and the Hellenistic philosophical schools (especially Stoics and Epicureans) down to Cicero, where it finds its most philosophical and idealistic expression. The presence of the concept in classical Greek and Roman thought calls in question the view, frequently heard today, that human dignity is a faith-based concept without any basis in philosophical reflection. Instead it demonstrates that even a materialistic philosophy such as Epicureanism was unable to speak adequately of the human being and its place in the universe without raising the question of its unique nature and destiny.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: In Press
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 9781350073692
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 10:45
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/120879

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