Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine

Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine

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This study, unique of its kind, asks how slavery was viewed by the leading spokesmen of Greece and Rome. There was no movement for abolition in these societies, nor a vigorous debate, such as occurred in antebellum America, but this does not imply that slavery was accepted without question. Dr Garnsey draws on a wide range of sources, pagan, Jewish and Christian, over ten centuries, to challenge the common assumption of passive acquiescence in slavery, and the associated view that, Aristotle apart, there was no systematic thought on slavery. The work contains both a typology of attitudes to slavery ranging from critiques to justifications, and paired case-studies of leading theorists of slavery, Aristotle and the Stoics, Philo and Paul, Ambrose and Augustine. A final chapter considers the use of slavery as a metaphor in the Church Fathers.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 140 x 220 x 22mm | 399.16g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0521574331
  • 9780521574334
  • 796,538

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Review quote

'This is a very professional book on a topic of perennial concern ... Bright sixth-formers would benefit from exposure to this book, which shows how much can be gained by tackling ancient history and philosophy together.' JACT Review 'Garnsey gives a fascinating discussion of the history of ideas about slavery, varying from the positive to the doubtful but rarely to the outrightly abolitionist. He also provides the key texts (in translation only), making the book remarkably useful since it gives easy access to some of the patristic passages not otherwise readily available in English.' Journal of Theological Studies 'This book is a fascinating and fundamental statement on its subject ... The evident passion of the work and material referenced in the bibliography and the notes ensure that it is a must not just for students and teachers of ancient social, philosophical and church history, but also for anyone interested in the underpinnings of modern slavery too.' Slavery & Abolition

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