Monday, 17 July 2006
ΠΕΡΙ ΦΙΛΙΑ (On Friendship)
A good chunk of my doctoral thesis was spent exploring Paul's use of the topos of friendship in his letter to the Philippians. Since then, I have continued my interest in the theme of friendship, both historically as a central part of social relations in the wider environment of early Christianity, and theologically as a potential resource for construing social relations today and the implications this might have for ethics, politics and our understanding of church.
So, I was delighted to find that Mark Vernon, author of a very important book on the topic, also has a blog devoted to the theme. And Mark has begun a first-rate project of podcasting 20 short lectures which summarise the main themes of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Books VIII and IX. The first is an excellent example of a podcast - short, interesting and informative. Maybe someone should start to do the same with, say, one of Paul's letters.
Anyone wanting to explore the theme in more detail should get Mark's book. I would also recommend:
DERRIDA, JACQUES, Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins (London / New York: Verso, 1997) - for contemporary ethical reflection
CARMICHAEL, E. D. H., Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love (London / New York: T & T Clark International, 2004) - on history of friendship within Christian thought and writing
'Assorted Articles on Friendship', Interpretation, 58 (2004) - an issue of the journal devoted to the theme
FOWL, STEPHEN E., Philippians (Two Horizons New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2005). - concluding with a theology of friendship emerging from a study of the letter
There are a number of more technical articles on the theme in Philippians. Friendship is also a major theme in the work of Stanley Hauerwas.