COSMOPOLITANISM

In ancient philosophy, the conception of cosmopolitanism was developed above all by the Cynics and the Stoics, who thought that the wise person was first of all a citizen of the city of Zeus, inhabited by the deities and the rational creatures. Hence their claim that the wise person is at home everywhere and, therefore, the exile is not a kako,n or malum. Early in the Christian era, the Roman Stoic Musonius Rufus is a brilliant example of these conceptions. In the Christian age, the city of Zeus was replaced by the city of God. That a Christian’s poli,teuma is first and foremost in heaven and thus his or her patria is the kingdom of heaven before any particular fatherland was already stated in Phil 3:20. Between the 2nd and the 3rd c., the Christian philosopher Bardesanes of Edessa, who fought against Marcionism and gnostic and pagan determinism, in Liber legum regionum attests with satisfaction that the Christians in his day had spread in every nation and followed the law of Christ everywhere in the world. Before being citizens of a given state and following its laws, the Christians are citizens of the universal kingdom of Christ and obey Christ’s law. The only parallel that Bardesanes draws for this transcendent citizenship of the Christian is that of the Jews, who, wherever in the world they may be, follow the Mosaic law before observing the laws and traditions of the places where they live.

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