Epicurus, Plutarch, and Paul: The Philosophical Discourse on Public Life and the Transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Timothy

The Ethics of the Pastoral Epistles is often characterized by the label “good citizenship” (“bürgerliches Christentum”). According to 1 Tim 2:2, the ultimate goal of a good Christian life is to pray for the political class “so that we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all piety and decency.” Commentators usually explain this verse by referring to common ideas particularly developed in Hellenistic Judaism (Josephus or Philo). More significant, however, seems to be the discourse on the political dimension of the philosopher’s life. It is represented, for instance, in a particular reception of Epicurus’ idea of a “living in concealment” by Plutarch. The paper compares basic positions of this discourse with the reception and transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Tim which results in a concept of a socially accommodated Christianity.