Aristotle on Slavery
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
"…Hence we see what is the nature and office of a slave; he who is by
nature not his own
but another's man, is by nature a slave; and he
may be said to be another's man who, being a human being, is also a
And a possession may be defined as an instrument of
action, separable from the possessor.
But is there any one thus
intended by nature to be a slave, and for
whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all
a violation of nature?
There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of
reason and of fact.
For that some should rule and others be ruled is
a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their
some are marked out for subjection, others for rule."
Christianity's Views on Slavery:
http://www.submission.org/christians/slavery.htmlKey Ideas about St. Thomas Aquinas
xvi. Like Augustine,
he holds that slavery is the result of original
http://www.a-ten.com/eh/keyideas-thomas_aquinas.htmlThe teaching authority and slavery
http://www.womenpriests.org/../teaching/slavery1.htmA Dominican Friar on Slavery:
I still think that Aristotle had
a good point whe he argued that
those who are not sufficiently liberally educated are unable to
participate in political
discussions and hence are really slaves.
Aristotle predicted that if machines could be invented to do the work
then all members of a society could be liberally educated,
and thus free. Aquinas, however, believed that the cause of
inveterate injustice in the world is original sin that has plunged
humanity into poverty and war in which the losers
became the slaves
of the conquerors. Therefore the remedy cannot be machines alone but
must be the virtue of justice.
This issue in political theory and in
political reality is no wise obsolete; although this exploitation is
named "slavery" and covered up by democratic slogans, it
continues even in our rich United States.
http://www.domlife.org/friars/ashley7.htmlTHE BIBLE TEACHING ON SLAVERY
http://www.brfwitness.org/Articles/2003v38n1.htmSlavery in the Bible:
PASSAGES FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES
in debt (and their children) were still being sold into
slavery in New Testament times:
Matthew 18:25: "But forasmuch
as he had not to pay, his lord
commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he
had, and payment
to be made."
Priests still owned slaves:
Mark 14:66: "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh
of the maids of the high priest:"
Jesus is recorded as mentioning slaves in one of his parables. It is
to realize that the term "servant" in the King James
Version of the Bible refers to slaves, not employees like a butler,
or maid. Here, a slave which did not follow his owner's will
would be beaten with many lashes of a whip. A slave who was
of his owner's will, but who did not behave properly, would also be
beaten, but with fewer stripes.
would have been a marvelous opportunity for Jesus to condemn the
institution of slavery and its abuse of slaves. But he
recorded of having taken it:
Luke 12:45-48: "The lord [owner] of that servant will come in a day
he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and
will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion
unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and
prepared not himself, neither did according
to his will, shall be
beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things
worthy of stripes, shall
be beaten with few stripes. For unto
whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom
men have committed
much, of him they will ask the more."
One of the favorite passages of slave-owning Christians was St.
instruction that slaves to obey their owners in the
same way that they obey Christ:
Ephesians 6:5-9: "Servants,
be obedient to them that are your
masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in
singleness of your heart,
as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as
menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God
from the heart;
With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not
to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same
he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye
masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening:
that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect
of persons with him."
Other passages instructing slaves
and slave owners in proper behavior
Colossians 4:1: "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just
equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."
1 Timothy 6:1-3 "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count
own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his
doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing
them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them
service, because they are faithful
and beloved, partakers of the
benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise,
and consent not to
wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;"
his defense, St. Paul incorrectly expected that Jesus would return
in the very near future. This might have demotivated
speaking out against slavery or other social evils in the Roman
Empire. Also he regarded slaves as persons
of worth whom at least God
considers of importance. St. Paul mentioned that both slaves and free
persons are sons of
God, and thus all part of the body of Christ and
1 Corinthians 12:13: "For by one Spirit are
we all baptized into one
body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and
have been all made to
drink into one Spirit."
Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither
bond nor free, there is neither
male nor female: for ye are all one
in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:11: "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision
uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is
all, and in all."
St. Paul apparently saw no evil
in the concept of one person owning
another as a piece of property. In his Letter to Philemon, he had
to discuss the immorality of slave-owning, but
declined to do so.
Deuteronomy 23:15-16, cited above, requires a
Jew to protect a
runaway slave, and to not return him/her to their owner.. However,
St. Paul violated the law. While
in prison, he met a runaway slave,
Onesimus, the slave of a Christian. He was presumably owned by
than give the slave sanctuary, he returned him to
his owner. Paul seems to hint that he would like Pheliemon to give
his freedom, but does not actually request it. See the
Letter to Philemon in the Christian Scriptures.
Jews and the Black Holocaust