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Flourishing / Social Sciences

Joerg Friedrichs

Associate Professor of Politics, Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Official Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford


Many people, like myself, “get” things from metaphors and images. Flourishing bears the image of flower. The Bible sometimes talks of ripe corn and bearing fruit, but it oftentimes also talks about flourishing, regardless of fruit, from the flowers on the field that bloom today and tomorrow are gone to lilies more beautiful than Solomon’s robes. Flourishing and bearing fruit is connected, in that the former is a necessary condition for the latter, but the Bible is clear that the former has its value in and of itself, whereas the latter is an important purpose, but neither is reducible to the other. Branches that don’t bear fruit when they should are thrown into the fire, but bearing fruit is not always the point. This is something an instrumental view of life (even of life as service) loses sight of.