Saturday, May 10, 2008

"We are born for fellowship"

In Josephus's panegyric on the Law which concludes his apologetic work Against Apion, the Jewish historian has this to say on Temple worship:
"Our sacrifices are not occasions for drunken self-indulgence--such practices are abhorrent to God--but for sobriety (σωφροσύνην). At these sacrifices prayers for the welfare of the community must take precedence of those for ourselves; for we are born for fellowship (κοινωνίᾳ), and he who sets its claims above his private interests is specially acceptable to God" (Josephus, Against Apion, 2.195-6; Thackeray LCL vol. 1).
Josephus's description is a salutary reminder of such NT passages as Acts 2:42-47 and Phil 2:1-4, contrasting as it does with the solitary individualism still so pervasive among academics, for whom "libraries are our natural habitat" (James Dunn as quoted by Mark Goodacre).

No comments: