Tuesday, March 02, 2010


On slavery, slaveholders and the human ethic:

" For Aristotle, it is precisely knowledge of what human nature is that allows us to judge that some human beings are deficient specimens of the kind and therefore suited only to serve as the "living tools" of other men (which is how he defines slaves in both the Nicomachean and the Eudemian Ethics). Human nature, understood in this sense, is simply the ideal index of the species, one which allows us to arrange our understanding of human existence into exact and obvious divisions of authority: the superiority of reason over appetite, of course but also of city over nature, man over woman, Greek over barbarian, and master over slave. For Gregory [of Nyssa], by contrast, the entire idea of human nature has been thoroughly suffused with the light of Easter, "contaminated" by the Christian inversion of social order; our nature is, for him, first and foremost our community in the humanity of Christ, who by descending into the most abject of conditions, even dying the death of a criminal, only to be raised up as Lord of history, in the very glory of God, has become forever the face of the faceless, the persona by which each of us has been raised to the dignity of a "co-heir of the Kingdom." "

- David Bentley Hart

(bolding added by me)

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