By Carolinne White
This examine provides the proof, derived from letters and theological works, for theories of Christian friendship as they have been constructed by way of the best fourth-century Church Fathers, either in East and West. the writer makes an attempt to determine how constant and confident is the image of friendship among Christians on the time, and considers friendship within the context of the relation among pagan idea and Christian rules. the entire writers thought of had a profound impact on later a long time in addition to all alone interval.
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Additional info for Christian Friendship in the Fourth Century
Another important idea contained in this paragraph is the popular one that a true friend is of benefit both in good and ill fortune: with this may be compared for example what Aristotle had written at Rhet. 1381a 4, namely that a friend must be someone who shares our happiness in what is good and our pain in what is unpleasant for no other reason than for our sake. 67 If Cicero regarded true friendship as pertaining between only a few people, perhaps at its best between only two, this is not to deny that he was also influenced by the Stoic belief that all men are united by nature by virtue of their common humanity nor that he at times regarded amicitia in political rather than personal terms as a network of alliances.
2^ During the next century or so, down to the end of the fifth century, many of these ideas were developed, appearing in different forms and contexts in the writings of dramatists and philosophers. Professor Blundell has shown, for example, how prominent the idea of helping one's friends was in the tragedies of Sophocles, particularly in the Philoctetes, but it is Euripides who appears to have made the most significant contribution to the picture of valuable friendships,26 offering instances of 20 Christian friendship in the fourth century exemplary relationships between those who were brought together not by blood ties but by mutual sympathy, affection and benevolence.
Although Plutarch's discussions of different aspects of friendship, enlivened by imagery and illustrations, bear the imprint of certain Greek philosophical attitudes to the subject, especially those of Aristotle, yet they are more concerned with Classical theories of friendship 39 practical problems than with any theory of the nature of friendship. In his role as popular, if scholarly, moralist he discusses, for example, the problem of distinguishing the flatterer from a friend, saying that a degree of frankness is a sine qua non for true friendship, but difficult for the flatterer to practise.
Christian Friendship in the Fourth Century by Carolinne White