Der Mensch zwischen Weltflucht und Weltverantwortung: Lebensmodelle der paganen und der jüdisch-christlichen Antike

In Heinz-Günther Nesselrath & Meike Rühl (eds.), Der Mensch zwischen Weltflucht und Weltverantwortung: Lebensmodelle der paganen und der jüdisch-christlichen Antike. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 85-109 (2014)
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Abstract
Considers the paradox of demonstrative retreat from public life, as illustrated by scenes like Sen. Ep. 78.20f. and Epict. 3.22.23 with ailing philosophers almost scurrilously eager to display their heroism. Why would a philosopher want to withdraw and, at the same time, make a show of his withdrawal? How can this kind of exemplarity fulfill its therapeutic function? And how is this kind of communication, with one’s back turned to the audience, as it were, supposed to work? Tacitus’ narrative of Thrasea Paetus’ end in the Annales (16.22ff.) is analyzed as illustrating this form of communication and compared with a similar communication strategy of Seneca’s Epistulae morales as a document of exemplary withdrawal. Concentric circles of audiences and interactors are layered around the role model, and he reader is pulled into the center of the circle, into direct contact with the exemplum. The way in which this happens determines the reader’s role in the story and thus the import the role model.
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