Livy The History of Rome 2.23
9 In the days when man's members did not all agree amongst themselves, as is now the case, but had each its own ideas and a voice of its own, the other parts thought it unfair that they should have the worry and the trouble and the labour of providing everything for the belly, while the belly remained quietly in their midst with nothing to do but to enjoy the good things which they bestowed upon it; they therefore conspired together that the hands should carry no food to the mouth, nor the mouth accept anything that was given it, nor the teeth grind up what they received. 10 While they sought in this angry spirit to starve the belly into submission, the members themselves and the whole body were reduced to the utmost weakness. 11 Hence it had become clear that even the belly had no idle task to perform, and was no more nourished than it nourished the rest, by giving out to all parts of the body that by which we live and thrive, when it has been divided equally amongst the veins and is enriched with digested food —that is, the blood. 12 Drawing a parallel from this to show how like was the internal dissension of the bodily members to the anger of the plebs against the Fathers, he prevailed upon the minds of his hearers.
1 Corinthians 12:14
12 For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not a single member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Since I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. 16 And if the ear says, “Since I am not an eye, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. 17 If the whole body were an eye, what part would do the hearing? If the whole were an ear, what part would exercise the sense of smell? 18 But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided. 19 If they were all the same member, where would the body be? 20 So now there are many members, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” 22 On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential, 23 and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, 24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.
Notes and References
"... This was precisely the case with disturbances in the community. The means were gladly seized by those who are persuaded that the return to the old undisturbed order for individuals and thus also for the overall good of the community is best. So demands Agrippa Lanatus to the plebeians, communion with the city of Rome was not to be voided because like in a human organism all members need each other (Livy, Ab urbe condita II 32f.). Plato also equates the state with an organism and, like I Cor. 12:26, elevates pity and rejoicing among the members (Politeia 462 c-d). Seneca can understand the state as the body of the emperor, whereby the latter soul of the body (De dementia I 5,1). These abundant examples show that for Paul such metaphorical custom was common practice, especially for the community leader."
Becker, Jürgen Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles (p. 428) John Knox Press, 1993
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