Friday, March 24, 2023


Paul rescues a “prophetic” slave girl by exorcising the spirit that made her fortune telling possible. In so doing he simultaneously destroys the economically exploitative work of her owners. Seeing the destruction of their business, the girl’s savvy masters carefully rephrase their worries in dangerous political terms. Going before the Philippian magistrates, they accuse Paul and Silas: “These men are Jews and are disrupting the city, and they advocate practices that are unlawful for us Romans to accept or to do” (Acts 16:21). Given the gravity of the accusations against the Christian missionaries, it is no great wonder that the magistrates “tore their clothes off, gave orders to beat them with rods," and “after they had inflicted many blows upon them," threw them into prison (16:22-23). Of course the two men are freed from prison, but the businessmen and magistrates have rightly intuited the potential for cultural wreckage in Philippi.—One True Life: The Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions, 135–36

<idle musing>
He develops these ideas of the accusation of stasis ("rebellion, sedition") much more in his previous book, World Upside Down, which is definitely worth your time reading. I excerpted from it a few years back; you can search for it to see them.
</idle musing>

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