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Lecture 6 Ambrose and the Powerful Wealthy. Dr. Ann T. Orlando 14 March 2013. Outline. Economic and Political Power and Corruption Biblical background on Naboth Earlier Patristic Understanding of Naboth Ambrose and Roman Power Structure Background of “On Naboth ” Assignments.

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lecture 6 ambrose and the powerful wealthy

Lecture 6 Ambrose and the Powerful Wealthy

Dr. Ann T. Orlando

14 March 2013

  • Economic and Political Power and Corruption
  • Biblical background on Naboth
  • Earlier Patristic Understanding of Naboth
  • Ambrose and Roman Power Structure
  • Background of “On Naboth”
  • Assignments
modern political power and legitimacy
Modern Political Power and Legitimacy
  • According to John Locke (Two Treatises on Government)
    • Political power is the right of making laws with penalty of death and consequently all lessor penalties
    • Government’s primary purpose by enacting laws is to protect individual life, liberty and property
    • Another purpose of Government is to secure (defend) the common good of those governed
  • But which government has the right to rule (legitimacy) and by what authority
    • For Locke, free individuals (in their natural state) give Government its power to rule (social contract)
    • In the U.S., Constitution is source of legitimacy and authority (in other words, the Constitution is our social contract)
  • Government’s legitimate role can be undermined by corruption and exploitation
political corruption
Political Corruption
  • Corruption is an abuse of the authority, legitimacy and/or purpose of political system. Types of corruption:
    • Bribery
    • Nepotism
    • Simony
  • A definition of corruption: An act is corrupt if it is performed by an agent of an institution if and only if:
    • The act an effect, of undermining, or contributing to the undermining of, some institutional process and/or purpose of some institution, and/or an effect of contributing to the despoiling of the moral character of some role occupant of the institution because they are an agent of the institution
    • And at least one of (a) or (b) is true:
      • (a) In performing the act, the agent of the institution foresaw or expected a morally wrong effect
      • (b) The agent did not have to perform the act
  • See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/corruption/
  • Definition: to take unfair advantage, usually associated with labor, commerce and money
  • More formal philosophical considerations, types of exploitation:
    • No benefit at all to expoitee (free riders)
    • Some benefit, but not sufficient (sweatshops)
    • Benefit is not authentic (drug dealers)
  • See Robert Mayer, “What’s Wrong with Exploitation?,” Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2007, available at http://www.luc.edu/faculty/rmayer/mayer22.pdf
historical setting of 1 kings
Historical Setting of 1 Kings
  • NB, in the LXX, this is 3 Kings; 1 and 2 Samuel are referred to as 1 and 2 Kings
  • The story of the rise of the kings of Israel and their destruction, leading to Babylonian captivity
    • Corruption of power given to them by God
    • Exploitation of poor
  • Ahab was worse of all the kings of Israel
ahab naboth jezebel 1 kings 21 a story of corruption and exploitation
Ahab, Naboth, Jezebel (1 Kings 21)A Story of Corruption and Exploitation
  • Read 1 Kings 21
  • Who is exploiting
    • What kind of exploitation?
  • Who is corrupt
st ambrose 340 397
St. Ambrose (340-397)
  • Civil administrator in Northern Italy
  • Milan now military capital of Western Empire to counter Goths
  • When orthodox bishop of Milan died in 373, people acclaimed Ambrose bishop
    • Ambrose tried to flee, but was stopped
    • Baptized, ordained priest, then bishop within a week
  • Friends with Basil and Gregory Nazianzus
  • Wrote a very influential Duties of Clergy
  • Also wrote many hymns
life of ambrose
Life of Ambrose
  • Written by St. Paulinus, at the urging of St. Augustine
  • Tells the story of the bees and the infant Ambrose
  • Gives some insights into the imperial and ecclesial conflicts during Ambrose tenure as bishop of Milan
    • Milan, not Rome, capital of Western Roman Empire in late 4th C
    • Conflict between Arian and Orthodox members of imperial families
the complex political religious milieu of late 4 th c milan
The Complex Political-Religious Milieu of Late 4th C Milan
  • Ambrose wrote On Naboth c. 385 - 388
  • Emperor Valentinian II was a child, age 4, when proclaimed emperor in East, succeeding his father Valentinian I, in 375
  • Real power was with his uncle, Valarian and his mother, Justina; both of whom were Arians
  • In 385 Justina ‘ordered’ Ambrose to turn over his Orthodox basilica for Arian use by the Arian bishop Auxentius
  • Ambrose refused and his congregation joined him in barricading the basilica
    • To prevent a wide-spread riot, Justina rescinded the order
  • In 389 Theodosius the Great assumed control of all Roman Empire;
    • Very orthodox, further enhancing Ambrose political stature
    • End of any Arian Imperial leaders
structure of on naboth
Structure of On Naboth
  • Themes
    • Avarice of rich destroys rich and poor
    • Almsgiving benefits rich and poor
  • Outline
  • 1.1 – 2.4 Introduction addressed to rich
  • 2.5 – 3.14 Ahab offers Naboth money for vineyard
  • 4.15 – 5.19 Fasting of Rich and Poor
  • 5.20 – 5.26 Plight of Poor
  • 6.27 – 8.39 Abundance of Rich Does Not Help Them
  • 8.40 – 10.46 Why Rich Should Help Poor and Return to Naboth and Jezebel
  • 11.47 – 12.51 Ahab Takes Vineyard and is Cursed by Elijah
  • 12.52 – 16.66 What Rich Should Do
  • 16.67 – 17.73 Conclusion