Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 8:9


Friendship and justice seem, as we have said at the outset of our discussion, to be concerned with the same objects and exhibited between the same persons. For in every community there is thought to be some form of justice, and friendship too; at least men address as friends their fellow-voyagers and fellowsoldiers, and so too those associated with them in any other kind of community. And the extent of their association is the extent of their friendship, as it is the extent to which justice exists between them. And the proverb 'what friends have is common property' expresses the truth; for friendship depends on community. Now brothers and comrades have all things in common, but the others to whom we have referred have definite things in common-some more things, others fewer; for of friendships, too, some are more and others less truly friendships. And the claims of justice differ too; the duties of parents to children, and those of brothers to each other are not the same, nor those of comrades and those of fellow-citizens, and so, too, with the other kinds of friendship. There is a difference, therefore, also between the acts that are unjust towards each of these classes of associates, and the injustice increases by being exhibited towards those who are friends in a fuller sense; e.g. it is a more terrible thing to defraud a comrade than a fellow-citizen, more terrible not to help a brother than a stranger, and more terrible to wound a father than any one else. And the demands of justice also seem to increase with the intensity of the friendship, which implies that friendship and justice exist between the same persons and have an equal extension.

Acts 4:32

New Testament

31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously. 32 The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 34 For there was no one needy among them because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales 35 and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need.

 Notes and References

"... The unity of kin was also expressed through their attitudes toward their wealth. Since friends were held to “own all things in common” (Aristotle Nic. Eth. 8.9.1 [1159b31-32]), the same was all the more to be expected of close kin. Brothers are “to use in common a father’s wealth and friends and slaves” just as “one soul makes use of the hands and feet and eyes of two bodies,” as in the case of Siamese twins (Plutarch “On Fraternal Affection” 1 [Mor. 478C-D]). Plutarch was acutely aware that money was a potent, divisive force. When it comes time to divide an inheritance, therefore, he urges siblings to allow one another to take what is preferable and suitable to each, considering that “it is the care and administration of the estate that is being distributed, but that its use and ownership is left unassigned and undistributed for them all in common” (“On Fraternal Affection” 11 [Mor. 483D]). To outmaneuver a brother out of something he treasured is to gain a trifle but lose “the greatest and most valuable part of their inheritance, a brother’s friendship and confidence” (Mor. 483E). With regard to the family estate, they are to “abolish, if possible, the notion of ‘mine’ and ‘not mine’” (“On Fraternal Affection” 12 [Mor. 484B]) ..."

DeSilva, David A. Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (p. 170) InterVarsity Press, 2000

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