Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

The Genealogy of a Metaphor

In On Obligations 3.21-2, Cicero says: If a person deprives his neighbour of something, and furthers his own advantage by another’s loss, such behaviour flies in the face of nature more than death or poverty or pain or anything which can affect our persons or our external possessions; for first and foremost it undermines the fellowship […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy

Seneca on the Danger of Self-Deception and Self-Flattery

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9) At the beginning of his dialogue De tranquillitate animi (“On Tranquility of Mind”), Seneca the Younger has his interlocutor Serenus, in discussing his weakness of will in doing what is good and right, comment on the dangers we face through […]

Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene

Prosperity and Brutality

Seneca the Younger, in De brevitate vitae (“On the Shortness of Life”), claims that, as the Romans became more prosperous, they refined their public displays of violence to greater and greater degrees of brutality. He speaks in particular here of the methods of Pompey the Great. The Romans would of course continue on this path […]