Fra "creditum" e "beneficium". La pratica difficile del 'dono' nel "De beneficiis" di Seneca

Pietro Li Causi


In "De beneficiis", Seneca's aim is not to describe the reciprocity practices of the Roman élite, but rather to propose to his reader an ante-litteram culturalized model of beneficium, seen within the frame of a sort of pragmatics of human communication. As an interactional device, beneficium becomes, therefore, something which can be taught and learned, but whose practice (and whose ontology) is extremely complex, difficult and metamorphic. In fact, the Senecan idea of beneficium is not completely uncoupled from the idea of economy and legal obligation, which the author describes as dangerously contiguous. In this respect, beneficium – paradoxically seen as a genus crediti – is at the same time something which operates 'within' and 'against' the sphere of economic and contractualistic exchange.

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