Honor in old Greek, Jewish and Christian Culture:

(Jennifer Steere's Notes)

Today, we generally see honor as a synonym because that pride – an feel a person feels about a positive action they have actually performed.In both ancient and Christian terms, however, honor was watched differently.

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Ancient Greek Honor

The original Greek word for honor way worth or value, but in a an extremely literal sense. Honor to be a culturally constructed evaluation the a who actions, which determined a who worth, as in their price, or value to the community.

For us, we check out honor together a feeling that starts within the person and also seen by world outside. Honor worked in the contrary direction: the community feels the emotion about the person and projects that emotion on come him.Like this:


There were two kinds that honor: ascribed or achieved.

Ascribed respect is bestowed v no action or agency of one’s own. The family members a person is in, exactly how much wealth, land, power, etc. Ascribes honor, as does the stimulate of birth. Very first born boy are generally the heir (or begotten) so they’re ascribed much more honor than a second or 3rd born child. Male kids are valued above female.

To placed this in perspective, in ancient Greek/Roman culture, a male was the physical representation of the entire estate. He to be the living breathing icon representing all the land, property, wealth, house-members, responsibilities, etc.

Women and slave could be ascribed honor by authorized an honorable household. (Note that slaves had much more agency than Pre-Civil battle U.S. Definition. Servants sold themselves for a fixed number of years – and were totally free to readjust masters at their own whim – much more like bond servants.


Honor can additionally be ascribed v the politics sphere as soon as a person of higher honor assigns a place of respect on someone. For example, Caesar appointed Pontius Pilot to his position as protectorate of Jerusalem, and Pilot acquired honor.

Achieved Honor:Citizens (adult males, not slaves) could earn respect through military conquest, publicly performances, politics action, or social behavior. Achieved honor is most comparable to our notions of reputation or fame. The was thought that honor to be a finite commodity. Honor can run out. If someone gained honor, that meant someone, somewhere had actually lost some. Consequently, hosting parties, introducing people, resources community projects, creating plays, anyway to attract positive fist to oneself were extremely competitive endeavors.

Christian Inversions that Greek honor In the Sermon ~ above the Mount, Jesus said, “Take treatment not to practice you justice publicly before men so as to be seen by them” (1156). The is directly challenging the traditional Greek (and perhaps Hebrew) conception the honor, denying, in essence, its publicly element. Deserve to you discover other snippets native Matthew and Luke that push back versus the love of respect culture?


Shame move in the contrary direction. Shame is the community removing respect (dishonor). The human being experiences an internal feeling shame and is then intended to perform according to the feeling. For example, when person loses a dispute he hangs his head in shame. When a son dies, the father would certainly pour ashes top top his head and tear his cloak.

Shame deserve to have a positive element too. When a human being behaves shamelessly, it method they space acting with full disregard because that the community. Therefore in this sense to act with shame is come be mindful of the public view the you. A person acts with shame intends to carry out according to the rules and also boundaries of their position. This is why that is claimed women have actually shame, men have actually honor. Men can cultivate honor and bring respect onto themselves, and women have the right to perform fine within your position.

In the story of the Prodigal boy (1158), the child squanders his inheritance early, and also finds self working with pigs, starving and wanting come eat what the pig have. (Remember, Jesus is telling this story therefore the boy is Jewish. Kosher was an extremely important.) The child decides come go ago to his father’s house and offer himself together a slave in the household. He enters in a position of shame: he come begging.The brothers shares that emotion by dishonoring the return son, and saying that does not deserve to come home. But because this is a Christian parable (not Greek), the dad rejects the exterior eye, and forgives his son, acquisition him in nevertheless of exactly how other world see it.

Sir Gawain, Don Quixote

We're interested in just how this Christian reconcepion of honor and shame play the end in the chivalric stories that evolve out of the Christian model, together well.

**Socrates said, “Shame is worth than death.” according to the part of Matthew and Luke in our message book, exactly how would Jesus respond?


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See more: Calories In 1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips And Nutrition Facts

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