Monday, November 28, 2005

Seneca, Derrida and the young Thessalonian church

"for the living voice and the intimacy of a common life will help you more than written word. You must go to the scene of the action, first, because men put more faith in their eyes than in their ears, and second, because they way is long if one follows precepts, but short and helpful if one follow examples"

-- Seneca, Epistle 6.5-6 (cited in Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians, p.83)

Derrida: That just sounds like the metaphysics of presence, Chris.

Chris: The young church in Thessalonica (in AD late 40's early 50's, it was probably only a few months old) had been formed through the missionary work of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. Yet Paul and his team had to leave earlier than they would have liked, and the small community had to endure distress and tribulation (Gk: thlipsis) probably from the pagan, patron-client world of Empire that the small community was so utterly subverting and contradicting. And so try telling the Apostle Paul that his desire to reunite with the Thessalonians was merely the metaphysics of presence. This isn't about metaphysics, but about the tangible power of relationships.


Post a Comment

<< Home