Emphases are on sources, possible sources, influences, possible influences, utilized in the writings composing the NEW TESTAMENT (presumed originals of extant versions, apparently, from the 2nd - 4th centuries C.E.).
NEW TESTAMENT: SOURCES, POSSIBLE SOURCES, INFLUENCES, POSSIBLE INFLUENCES, INCLUDE:
ORAL TRADITIONS (see: Oral Tradition as History, Jan Vansina, 1985; etc.).
GREEK AUTHORS (Epimenides, Menander, Aratus, (see 1508); Socrates,
Plato (see 1570; etc.); Aristotle; Epicurus; who else?
(see 1602, 1641-1643; etc.).
OLD TESTAMENT (presumed originals of extant versions, apparently, from the 5th - 2nd centuries B.C.E.).
EPICURUS [c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.] (Epicureanism: in general, a highly influential Greek Philosophy).
STOICISM (see: Roman Stoicism, E. Vernon Arnold, 1958 (1911)).
GNOSTICISM (one root, possibly traceable to Orphism, 5th century B.C.E. (see #24, 504)).
PHILO [Judaeus] of Alexandria 13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E. (Philonism).
SENECA c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E. (a major representative of Stoicism (see 1586)).
JOSEPHUS c. 37 - c. 100 C.E. (see: Josephus and the New Testament, Steve Mason, 1993 (c1992)).
APOCRYPHA AND PSEUDEPIGRAPHA ("so-called extracanonical writings" (173)) (see: Encyc. Religion, vol. 2, c1987, 173-183, James H. Charlesworth) (see 1499 ("ChristRes" ("Christian Resources"); etc.)).
[See: The Myth of New Testament Manuscript Evidence (1499)].
THE CONSTITUENTS OF CHRISTIANITY (see 1574).
THE GENTILE MOULDS OF CHRISTIANITY (see 1575).
[See: 1497-1499, 1641-1644].
1 Mythologies 1500-1503
2 Finding the Old Testament in the New
[reviews 1504-1505] 1504-1518
"IF ALL THE O.T. INFLUENCES WERE TO BE REMOVED FROM
THE N.T., THE LATTER WOULD IN MANY AREAS CONSIST OF
LITTLE BUT MEANINGLESS SHREDS. WHERE THE O.T. IS
NOT ACTUALLY QUOTED, ITS CONTENT AND IDEAS PROVIDE
SUBJECT MATTER AND STRUCTURE FOR THE CHRISTIAN
AUTHOR." [from: 1506].
3 The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 1519-1519
4 Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts 1519-1520
5 The Ancestry of Our English Bible 1520-1521
6 The Bible in the Making 1521-1521
7 The Cambridge History of the Bible 1521-1521
8 The Essene-Christian Faith 1522-1522
following: emphasis on Epicurus c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.
9 A Rationalist Encyclopaedia 1523-1524
10 The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 1525-1525
11 The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha 1525-1525
12 American Journal of Philology [review of 14] 1526-1526
13 The Journal of Philosophy [review of 14] 1527-1527
14 Epicurus and His Philosophy 1528-1535
15 The Dalhousie Review [review of 20] 1536-1536
16 The Classical Journal [review of 20] 1537-1537
17 The Phoenix [review of 20] 1538-1538
18 The Classical Review [review of 20] 1539-1539
| 19 The Apostle Paul and Epicurus ["review" of 20] 1540-1541
20 St. Paul and Epicurus 1542-1551
21 The Island of the Innocent 1552-1553
following: emphasis on Philo of Alexandria 13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.;
Seneca c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.; Bruno Bauer 1809 - 1882;
Strange 1808 - 1884
22 Philo and the Church Fathers
23 Philo of Alexandria 1557-1564
24 The Encyclopedia of Unbelief
25 Christ and the Caesars [Bauer]
26 The Sources and Development of
Christianity [Strange] 1573-1579
following: emphasis on Seneca c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.
27 A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and
28 A Dictionary of Christian
29 The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
30 Latin Literature, A History 1583-1583
31 Civilization of the Ancient
32 Seneca in English 1585-1585
33 The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
34 Seneca the Philosopher and His Modern
35 Augustine [354 - 430] and the Latin
Augustine, Letters 1593-1593
Augustine, Confessions 1594-1594
Augustine, The City of God 1595-1599
39 Guide to the Thought of Lucious Annaeus
Tragedy; Seneca's Troades 1606-1608
41 Seneca, A Critical Bibliography
42 Seneca, Ad Lucilium, Epistulae
43 Seneca, The Humanist at the Court of
44 Seneca, A Philosopher in Politics
following: emphasis on Colonial America (Minds!)
45 The American Colonial Mind and the Classical
46 Seven Wise Men of Colonial
Pseudepigrapha (Jewish (and "Christian")): knowledge of
(including datings), commonly problematic (see 1508; etc.).
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha:
probable tendez to postdate (to negate, as a New Testament source; etc.).
Books of the New
Testament (apparently, from the 2nd - 4th centuries C.E.) are
predated for many reasons, and, with many affects/effects. One
affect/effect: increased competition, with Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.
http://www.muslim-answers.org/nt-myth.htm [now (4/28/2006), has been modified:
"The Myth of New
Testament Manuscript Evidence"
"Considering the myriad of illusionary and dishonest tactics used by
Evangelical Christians, it would be difficult to choose the ones
that I feel are the most dishonest."
'what we're mainly concerned with here is the
outright dishonest claims regarding the number of early New Testament
THERE'S NOT ONE-TENTH
THE NUMBER MENTIONED!'
"Table of Greek Manuscripts" [Link].
[Must See this website].
from: Mythologies, compiled by Yves Bonnefoy,
a restructured translation of Dictionnaire des
mythologies et des religions des sociétés traditionnelles et du monde
antique, prepared under the direction of Wendy Doniger, translated by
Gerald Honigsblum, 2 Vols., Volume Two, University of Chicago Press, 1991
"The Survival of
Myths in Early Christianity"
and Solar Myths
prayed facing east, where the sun rises. This differs from the
custom of the Jews, who pray facing Jerusalem, as Daniel does in the
biblical book that bears his name (6.11); so important is this difference
that Elkesai, the founder of a
Judeo-Christian sect, dissociated himself from Christianity by prescribing
that his followers face Jerusalem and forbidding them to face EAST. The
Scriptures contain many details confirming each in its own way the special
position of the east: the earthly paradise was planted "to the
east" (Gen. 2.8); it is believed
that Christ's ascension took an
eastward course, for the Latin
version of Psalm 68 (67), verse 34, applies to the Lord the phrase qui ascendit super caelum caeli ad orientem ("who ascended above heaven,
to the east of heaven"), and his
return is also expected to come from the east; the angel in the Revelation of John
(7.2) rises out of the east, and so
RESULT NOT FROM MERE CHANCE BUT FROM
THE EARLY ASSIMILATION OF CHRIST TO THE SUN, IN PARTICULAR THE RISING
SUN. The classical work on this subject remains that of F.J. Dölger [in German].27 Already in the hymn [(song) Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79)] of Zachariah [Greek.
Hebrew: Zechariah] (Luke 1.78-79), Jesus is
called "the morning sun from
heaven [who] will rise upon us, to shine on those who live in
darkness, under the cloud of death." This has the ring of a
prophetic naming of Christ as the
"sun of righteousness" referred to
in Malachi (4.2); Tertullian
summarizes an entire past and future tradition when he writes (Adversus Valentinianes 3:1): orientem, christi
figuram ("the east, the figure of
Christ"). The metaphor was already well implanted when, at the
end of the third century, it became even more firmly rooted and was used
to thwart the cult of Sol invictus imposed by the Emperor Aurelian. Thus, the pagan festival
of the dies natalis
Solis invicti ("the day of the birth of the unvanquished
Sun"), celebrated on 25 December
when the exhausted sun is reborn, made way for the nativity of the solar Christ.' [653-654]. [See: #13,
263-328, passim]. [See: 1098-1099 (Divus Julius)].
and Pagan Mythology"
Rhetorical ["eloquently expressed"; "calculated to persuade";
authors, from SAINT PAUL
to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the
Confessor (sixth and seventh
centuries), INDULGE FREELY IN THESE
BORROWINGS FROM THE VOCABULARY AND NOTIONS OF THE GREEK
MYSTERIES; the reader may consult E.
Hatch's classic work and a more recent work by Arthur Darby Nock.5 [see footnote, below]" .
"5. E. Hatch, The
Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity; 2d ed. by F.C.
Grant (New York and Evanston 1957), 283-309; A.D. Nock, Early Gentile Christianity and Its Hellenistic
Background (New York 1964), 116-45." . [See:
"We could go on
citing forever the rhetorical uses
of paganism made by Clement [Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - c.
215] and his successors in order to
1. Newness and oldness. It is according to
these categories ["Newness and oldness"],
need it be said, that the New
Testament defines itself with regard to the Old. This antithesis
is not absent from the Gospels (the old skins and the new wine of Matthew
9.17, etc.); but it is with Paul
that it takes on its true dimension: the Christian is invited to take off
the "old man" to put on the "new man" (Colossians 3.9-10; Ephesians
4.22-24); he shall serve in the newness of the spirit and no longer in the
oldness of the letter (Romans 7.6); he shall be a new creature in Christ,
for whom vetera transierunt, ecce facta sunt
omnia nova ("the old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new"; 2 Corinthians 5.17. Taking its cue from this Pauline theme,
one of the earliest documents of noncanonical
Christian literature, the Epistle of
Barnabus (5.7; 7.5), twice calls Christians "the
new people" (ho laos ho kainos).
Saint Paul defined
Christian newness with regard to Judaism. Next came the tendency to cast Hellenism together
with Judaism as two parallel expressions of oldness. This is what we
find in a second
century apocryphal text, the Kerygma
Petri: "It is in a new way that you worship God through
the Christ....The Lord has laid down a new covenant for us; for the ways of the Greeks and Jews are old, but we
Christians worship him in a new way in a third generation." Clement of
Alexandria [c. 150 - c. 215], citing this text [Kerygma Petri], accentuates this ternary aspect
immediately afterward: "(Peter), it seems to me,
clearly showed that the one and only God is known by the Greeks in pagan
fashion, by the Jews in Jewish fashion, but by us in a new and spiritual fashion" (Stromateis 126.96.36.199-7).' .
'[1.] the Christians
professed themselves to be the "new
people," but also because the Gospels and especially the Pauline
writings strove to dissociate them from a Judaism that was judged to be
A passage from Tertullian [c. 160 - c. 225], himself
somewhat of an anti-Semite, conveys this ambiguity:
"But since we have
stated that OUR RELIGION [CHRISTIANISM
("CHRISTIANITY")] IS FOUNDED UPON THE
DOCUMENTS OF THE JEWS [see 1506-1518; etc.], which are so
old, though it is generally known (and we ourselves agree) that our
religion is itself comparatively new, belonging as it does to the time of
Tiberius [Emperor 14 - 37 C.E. (42
B.C.E. - 37 C.E.)], perhaps one might on this ground discuss its nature
and say that, under the cover of a religion that is very illustrious and
certainly authorized by law, our religion conceals certain new ideas that
are its own, for aside from the question of age we do not agree with the
Jews about abstaining from certain foods, or about the sanctity of
festival days, or about their distinctive bodily mark, or sharing their
name, which would of course be our duty if we were the servants of the
same God" (Apologeticus 21.1-2). Nor did the
false situation in which the Christians found themselves escape their
adversaries; this is the reproach put in the mouth of the Jew in Celsus's [2nd century] True Discourse: "How can you trace your beginnings back to our sacred
texts and yet, in doing so, scorn them, while you have no other origin to
claim for your doctrine than our Law?" (in Origen [c. 185 - c. 254], Contra Celsum 2.4).' .
"2. Antiquity and truth. Given that the
Christians could validly claim their antiquity through Judaism, just as a
young grafted branch acquires the age of the old stock of the wild olive
(a metaphor that Tertullian, in De Testimonio Animae 5.6, takes up, not without
alterations, from Saint Paul in
Romans 11.17-24), the Church Fathers
increased their efforts to prove that Jewish
prophecy [see 1546] was older
than Greek culture...." .
Apologetic Starting Point"
'2. The Christ and the sons of Zeus. We
have recalled how the Christians of the first generations insisted that
the "newness" of their religion be
recognized. A passage from Justin
[Justin Martyr c. 100 - c. 165 C.E.] that speaks of the most miraculous
aspects of the person and life of Jesus is therefore surprising:
"We offer nothing new with respect to those among
you who are considered the sons of
Zeus." What follows shows that this declaration is to be taken
literally: if Jesus is the Word of God, it must be known that this
is something he [Jesus] holds in
common with Hermes, the Word of
Zeus; if he [Jesus] was born of a virgin, so was Perseus; if he
[Jesus] healed the sick and raised the dead, it must
be admitted that Asclepius did the
same; if he [Jesus] was crucified, the sons of Zeus too had their passions
(Asclepius struck by lightning, Dionysus
dismembered, Heracles throwing himself into fire); and finally,
if he [Jesus] ascended into heaven, such was also the case with
Asclepius, the Dioscuri, Perseus, Bellerophon on the back of Pegasus, and
Ariadne who was placed among the stars--to say nothing of the deceased
emperors (First Apology 21.1-3;
22.2-6).... [see (star, stars): 1566, 1570, 1614, 1624]
No doubt his [Justin
Martyr] strategy is an apologetic one: by maximizing the
parallels between Christ and the
Greek gods, he may legitimately claim the same welcome among the pagans
for Christ as for the Greek gods. A
little later, Justin clearly
declares his aspirations--and his chagrin at failing to see them
realized--when he says: "While we say the
same things as the Greeks, we alone are hated!" (ibid., 24.1).
Naturally, this desire to gain a foothold, even at little cost, among the
pagan masses, can only represent an initial and minimal phase in the
APOLOGETIC ENTERPRISE. As Justin himself notes, Christ has arguments other than this in his
"All of our [Christians] teachings received from
Christ...are alone true..., and if
we judge them worthy of being welcomed by you, it is not because of these
resemblances but because WE
[CHRISTIANS] SPEAK THE TRUTH." As
for explaining the analogies in question, the chapter ends with the thesis
dear to this author [Justin Martyr]:
"Before the Word [apparently, Logos
[see 1564]] became man [apparently,
"Jesus"] among men, some took the initiative
under the influence of evil demons and, through the intermediary of THE
POETS, PRESENTED AS REALITY THE MYTHS THEY HAD INVENTED" (ibid.,
23.1, 3).' . [See (Justin Martyr): #3, 52-54, 256.-263.; etc.].
from: Book Review Digest, Seventy-First Annual
Cumulation, March 1975 to February 1976 Inclusive, H.W. Wilson
[Book Reviews] 'Shires, Henry M. Finding the Old Testament in the
251p $7.50 '74 Westminster Press
220.6 Bible. N.T. Bible. O.T.
ISBN 0-664-20993-9 LC 73-19600
[Henry M. Shires], professor of New Testament
at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, [offers a]
picture of the ways in which citations of the Old Testament have been used by New Testament authors. He includes all
direct quotations, whether or not prefaced by a formula, NT verses that
directly use OT material, and NT passages indirectly dependent upon OT
texts. The author is concerned with the location and frequency of such
citations, as well as their content (e.g., OT
parallels to sayings of Jesus, the book
of Psalms in the NT)." (Choice
[see 1505]) Bibliography. Subject index and Bible passages index.
"The citations are in English and the book is
addressed to the nonspecialist student of the Bible, with a very extensive
collection of tables and indices that provide material for further study.
In particular, the author devotes a long
chapter to the New Testament use of Psalms, by far the most quoted book
and one of the most important sources of early Christian
theology. Shires reckons
with a total of just over 1,600 quotations, not all, of course, discussed
in the book. This is a conservatively low figure....Shires does not often introduce the reader to the
formative and creative role of the Old Testament in Christian theology
itself, but his study is a helpful propaedeutic [sic] to this
more adventuresome task." G.W. MacRae
131:330 N 23 '74 180w [w = word (apparently, 180 word review)]
makes clear the various ways NT authors used the OT (e.g., as prediction
fulfilled or illustration and to flesh out essentials of Christian
preaching)....[His book] holds a place as a repository of raw material,
inviting the reader to develop his own detailed interpretations of
biblical passages. The author's language is non-technical. Indices of all
scriptural passages and 11 tables arranging the material in various
categories make the book very useful for further study. Essential for
libraries with an interest in undergraduate studies of the Bible."
[see 1505] 11:1491 D '74 200w
"Usually biblical scholars wrestle with the
question of 'Christ in the Old
Testament' and similar tanglers. Finding the Old in the New is
easier, because of the citation systems. But Dr. Shires goes further than mere counting;
he gives an accounting and focuses on contexts and meanings. His book will
inform almost anyone's understanding of Scripture."
Century 91:620 Je 5 '74 40w' . [End of entry].
from: Choice [see 1504], December 1974, Vol.
11, No. 10.
"Shires, Henry M. Finding the Old Testament in the New.
Westminster, 1974. 251p tab bibl 73-19600. 7.50. ISBN 0-664-20993-9.
The author, professor
of New Testament at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in
Cambridge, proves a comprehensive picture of the ways in which
citations of the OT have been used by NT authors. He includes all direct
quotations, whether or not prefaced by a formula, NT verses that directly
use OT material, and NT passages indirectly dependent upon OT texts. The
author is concerned with the location and frequency of such citations, as
well as their content (e.g., O.T. parallels
to sayings of Jesus, the book of Psalms
in the NT). He makes clear the various ways NT authors used the OT
(e.g., as prediction fulfilled or illustration and to flesh out essentials
of Christian preaching). Less interpretative and specialized than Robert
H. Gundry's The use
of the Old Testament in St. Matthew's Gospel (1967), Edwin
Testament quotations in the Gospel of John (1965), and
Krister Stendahl's The school of St. Matthew and its use of the Old
Testament (1968), this book nevertheless holds a place as a
repository of raw material, inviting the reader to develop his own
detailed interpretations of biblical passages. The author's language is
non-technical. Indices of all scriptural passages and 11 tables arranging
the material in various categories make the book very useful for further
study. Essential for libraries with an interest in undergraduate studies
of the Bible." .
[See: Paul's Use of the Old Testament, E.
Earle Ellis, Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 1957].
from: Finding the Old Testament in the New,
Henry M. Shires, Westminster Press, c1974.
[Note: the index does not list possible sources, possible influences,
utilized in the writings composing the New
Testament, such as: Epicurus
(Epicureanism), Stoicism, Gnosticism, Philo (Philonism),
Seneca, Josephus, (see 1496)].
Testament [N.T.] View
of the Old Testament [O.T.]
of the Old Testament
In many ways the O.T.
was an embarrassment for early Christianity. The latter
["Christianity"] was presumably far removed from the primitive thoughts
and expressions of some parts of the former ["O.T."]. The God of the Christians seemed to have little in
common with the vengeful, angry, and changeable God of some of the early
Hebrew writings. The moral standards of the followers of Christ
could not easily be reconciled with a code of conduct that demanded
repayment in kind of "an eye for an eye." To Christians who were making
their way in the strange if not hostile conditions of the Roman Empire
much of the O.T. appeared to be outdated. It
was the PRODUCT of another day and of different circumstances.
The O.T. had been written in Hebrew, with a
few surviving sections in the closely related Aramaic language.
On the other hand,
ALL EXTANT EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS ARE IN
"In view of the Jewish origins of Christianity it
is not surprising that Christian writings of the early period would show
some reflections of the O.T., but the extent to
which the O.T. is actually employed as a foundation for Christian
literature is remarkable and unexpected. Of the twenty-seven books of the N.T only the
one-chapter letter to Philemon shows no direct relationship to the
O.T. The remaining twenty-six
contain some acknowledged O.T. quotation, or unacknowledged quotation, or
a quotation that has been rephrased, or an allusion in thought or
language, or at least the borrowing of an O.T. phrase. As we
shall see, some of the N.T. books are heavily indebted to the O.T., while
others may contain only a few reflections of it. However, its influence is
IF ALL THE O.T. INFLUENCES WERE TO BE REMOVED FROM
THE N.T., THE LATTER WOULD IN MANY AREAS CONSIST OF LITTLE BUT MEANINGLESS
SHREDS. WHERE THE O.T. IS NOT ACTUALLY QUOTED, ITS CONTENT AND IDEAS
PROVIDE SUBJECT MATTER AND STRUCTURE FOR THE CHRISTIAN
[see #1, 11, 88.]
A careful, detailed study of the Bible provides
statistical support for these generalizations. Acknowledged O.T.
quotations, always introduced by some kind of formula, are found in 239
instances in the N.T. and are drawn from 185 different passages in the
O.T. Quotations that are unacknowledged and not introduced by any formula
total 198 and are taken from 147 O.T. passages. In addition, 944 O.T.
passages are reworded or directly referred to in 1,167 instances in the
N.T. In these three categories there are at
least 1,604 N.T. citations of 1,276 different O.T. passages. To this total could be added several
thousand more N.T. passages that clearly allude to or reflect O.T.
verses. There are also well over 100 O.T.
phrases that reappear in the N.T. and that testify to THE INCALCULABLE LITERARY INFLUENCE WHICH THE
OLD [TESTAMENT] HAS EXERTED ON THE NEW [TESTAMENT]. This evidence is all the
more remarkable since the N.T. was written
in a different language [Greek], on
Gentile soil, and almost exclusively for Gentiles...." [15-16].
An investigation into
the dependence of the N.T. on the Old involves numerous problems and
difficulties. There are few explicit quotations in the O.T., but
there are many in the N.T., and most of them are straightforward and
clear. It is unlikely that a Christian writer would have had a copy of an
O.T. book available for checking his reference to it or would have taken
the time and trouble to unroll the scroll if one were at hand. Therefore,
it can [?] be assumed that generally [?] quotations were made by memory
[?], which was often faulty. This fact [not a "fact", a guess] helps to
explain why some of the quotations are reproduced with exactness, whereas
others depart considerably from the original [version]. In both cases the
intent may have been to make a faithful quotation. It should be
remembered, however, that classical Greek
authors demonstrate a wide degree of freedom in their deliberate
[my guess: the
author (Shires) may be
distracting [intentionally, and/or unintentionally, and/or:
consciously, and/or unconsciously] attention
from some possible sources--varying versions of the Old Testament]...." [16-17]. [See: 1562].
Many of the quotations are clearly composite; they
are drawn from more than a single source and often involve changes that
are necessary to weave together material from two or three different
sections of the O.T...." .
The sources of some of the apparent quotations
from the O.T. can no longer be identified, even though in most cases some
partial parallels can be drawn...." .
In the foregoing instances it has been suggested
that "scripture" may refer to literature that is outside the O.T. However,
we shall have occasion to point out that in
the N.T. the word "scripture" does
clearly mean no more than the thirty-nine books of the O.T. It is
true that in Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; and Tit. 1:12 there are quotations
from or reflections of such Greek
authors as Aratus [Aratus
of Soli c. 315 - c. 245 B.C.E.],
Menander [342 - 292 B.C.E.], and Epimenides ["semi-legendary Greek poet and
priest...7th or 6th century BC" (Cambridge
Bio. Dict.)]. In the N.T. generally there are allusions to or
secondary) of books of the
Apocrypha: Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 2 Esdras, and 1 Maccabees; and of some
books of the Pseudepigrapha: Psalms of Solomon, Enoch, Assumption of
Moses, and 3 and 4 Maccabees.
In addition, Paul may have made some use of the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and
Jude probably knew the Testament of Moses. Yet the only passage
from any noncanonical Jewish literature that is even implicitly quoted in
the whole N.T. is Enoch 1:9, which
is abstracted in Jude 14. All other
quotations, explicit or implicit, are drawn from the O.T. Scripture.
The solution to the problem of quotations or
specific references that cannot be immediately identified in the
O.T. ["The solution", in part, as indicated above (this page),
may exist apart, from the O.T.] lies rather in a study of the ways in
which Jewish Scripture is used by Christians.' [20-21].
[This author (Shires) maintains nearly all focus
on the Old Testament, as a (the?)
source, for the New Testament].
The reader of the
N.T. must notice at once the many instances in which two or more different
quotations are strung together consecutively...." .
We are told by Joachim Jeremias that "in the
Judaism of this period, when large parts of scripture were known...by
heart, it was regularly the custom to quote only the beginning of a
passage, even if its continuation were kept in mind."' .
"the [Old Testament] passages quoted in the N.T.
are usually very short and are regarded as significant in themselves
without reference to their context [compare: exempla of Seneca, 1631]. In fact, in some instances a text may be applied in the N.T.
in a manner that is quite contrary to O.T. meaning and context.
Occasionally, isolated verses will be used by Christian authors for
theological purposes in the manner of a proof text even though the
original meaning of the verses could have no Christian significance.
Verbal play and literalism are by no means unknown in the N.T. Moreover,
in those cases where two or more Christian writers quote or refer to the
same O.T. verse there is no necessary agreement among them as to the
extent of the material quoted....[see "Freedom of Citation" (1507)]"
Christian authors did
not cite the O.T. for its own sake but rather made such use of it as would
advance the gospel. Accordingly, we are
not surprised to discover that frequently an O.T. text is altered in some
manner for the sake of the interpretation which is made of it and the use
to which it is put...." .
Authority and Inspiration
Jewish Scripture was viewed as authoritative for
belief and practice even though there were for the Christians additional
sources of authority. The ways in which appeal is made to the O.T. are
evidence of the high regard in which it was held. For Christians, as for
Jews, the place of Scripture was unique. The Scripture (literally, "that
which is written") possesses an objective and fixed reality [?]....' .
Scripture was only
one authority for early Christianity. Another was Jesus Christ, and he
alone is the key to the Christian understanding of all
"The Concept of
Both Jews and Christians recognized that because
the Scriptures were inspired writings their unfulfilled prophecies
demanded some kind of fulfillment. The O.T. everywhere looks toward a
future in which God will reign over all mankind and there will be peace
and happiness on earth. There is in the
Jewish Scriptures an inescapable incompleteness and a deep longing for the
coming of God in power and right to correct man's evil and
At the heart of the first Christian proclamation was
the conviction that Jesus is the fulfillment of the unfulfilled prophecies
and hopes of the O.T.
['deus ex machina (Latin: "god from the machine"), in ancient Greek and Roman drama, the timely
appearance of a god to unravel and resolve the plot. The deus ex
machina was named for the convention of the god appearing in the sky, an
effect achieved by means of a crane
(Greek: mechane). The dramatic device dates
from the 5th century BC; a god appears in Sophocles' Philoctetes and in most of the plays of
Euripides to solve a crisis by divine intervention.
Since ancient times, the phrase has also been applied
to an unexpected saviour, or to an improbable event that brings order out
of chaos (e.g., the arrival, in
time to avert tragedy, of the U.S. cavalry in a western film).' [End of
entry] (Encyc. Brit.)]
The whole story of God's plans and purposes for
Israel as developed in all the Jewish writings is now said to reach its
climax and goal in the life and work of Jesus
of Nazareth. In this manner Christian authors are governed by a belief in an
essential continuity between the Jewish Scriptures and THEIR OWN
. [See: 1564 (deus ex machina)].
> "The third authority for early Christianity, along with the
Jewish Scriptures and Jesus, was the Holy
Spirit, who was somehow [Yes! Voodoo!] [here, even the author
(Shires) "bogs down"] to be closely related
to Jesus...." .
'The authority that
the early Christian writers ascribed to Jewish Scripture was not such that
it prevented all alteration of the O.T. text. Rather, as E.D.
Freed has noted, in his book Old Testament Quotations in the Gospel of
John [see 1505] (p. 27), "All
the New Testament and early Christian writers frequently altered the
passages quoted to support the theological view of the writer
which was responsible for the use of the quotation in the
first place." At times it appears that the O.T. is being rejected
as no longer in force. Yet support for this type of judgment is sought in
the O.T. itself. Even within Jewish Scripture we discover the same kind of
freedom in the treatment of inherited traditions that we see in the way in which N.T. authors make use, FOR THEIR OWN
PURPOSES, of O.T. material. Jewish writers had already
demonstrated that, in order to discover God's unfolding purpose in the
often strange and unexpected developments in Jewish history, it was
sometimes necessary to adapt old traditions to meet new situations.
Christians had no doubts about the newness brought by Jesus, and they made such use of the
traditions of Scripture as would clarify that newness.'  [End of Chapter 1].
'So many instances of fulfillment are set forth in
the Gospels that they are usually introduced by SET FORMULAS, such
as, "This took place so that what
was spoken by the prophet [or "Isaiah," or "Jeremiah," or "the
Lord"] might be fulfilled."
formulas are placed on Jesus' lips, and sometimes they are introduced by
the Evangelists....' [47-48].
What Was Chosen
THE ALMOST LIMITLESS LITERARY PARALLELS BETWEEN THE
O.T. AND THE N.T. CAN BE STUDIED UNDER FOUR MAJOR HEADINGS.
Class one includes all the N.T. quotations of the O.T. that are
prefaced by a formula of introduction that clearly designates that which
follows as a quotation and that often names the original author.
Material in this class is objectively definable and usually represents
careful and accurate reproduction of the O.T. text. Class two
is also made up of O.T. quotations, but they
are without any introduction or acknowledgment and are somewhat fewer in
number than the citations in the first class. Class-two
quotations cannot therefore always be determined with the same objectivity
and accuracy. Sometimes they may be less faithful to the form and wording
of the Hebrew original, but in every case their character as intended
quotations is unmistakable. As a subheading of this second class we must
include those more than 100 distinctive O.T. phrases which reappear
unpredictably throughout the N.T. Class three consists of large numbers of N.T. verses in which
O.T. material has been distinctly utilized. There is direct borrowing, but
at the same time the O.T. has been treated with a greater degree of
freedom. The author may have wanted to make a quotation, but if
so, he has altered his source. Material in the O.T. may have been
inaccurately remembered, or the argument of the N.T. author may have
required some adaptation. Dependence on the O.T. may be real but
unconscious. In dealing with verses assigned to class three the critic
must admit the necessity for some subjective judgment. Yet the
characteristics of this class are distinct. It is possible to speak also
of a fourth
class in which there is indirect
or probable dependence upon the O.T. The uncertainties are such,
however, that verses placed in this class may represent only the influence
of a general tradition of thought and expression that forms part of the
background of the O.T. also. Such parallel expressions of a common
influence become too numerous and too lacking in real significance to make
possible or worthwhile their identification and examination. Thus, in this
study we will limit ourselves to the first three classes, with particular
attention to the first class." [65-66].
formula-quotations of class one provide the
most satisfactory means available for investigating in detail the whole
subject of the N.T. use of Scripture. As previously noted, there
are 239 instances of citations of this type in the N.T., and they are
absent only from Philemon, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Titus,
Philemon, 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. Common to all three
Synoptic Gospels 8 such quotations occur; 4 more are found in both Matthew
and Mark; and an additional 5 appear in both Matthew and Luke.
Furthermore, there are 22 citations of this class unique to Matthew and 4
that are unique to Luke. John contains 13 and Acts, 25. In his four major
epistles (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians), Paul includes 76 of these citations, of
which more than one half are found in Romans. Also notable are the 37
formula-quotations that appear in Hebrews. The instances of citations of
the first class can thus be isolated and counted and their manner of
introduction and use analyzed. Furthermore, in each case there can be no
doubt about the Christian author's studied intent to quote the O.T. as a
central part of his argument. The authority of a Scriptural passage cited
by a Christian writer did not, of course, depend upon the presence of an
introductory formula; but in almost every instance where the formula is
used the question of Scriptural authority is regarded by the author as
Such formulas were in current use by both the
rabbis and the unknown writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls; and N.T. practice
must be weighed against that fact. As much as possible the Christian
authors retained the usage of their earlier counterparts. Parallels
between Christian and Jewish expressions are to be expected and are indeed
found. JEWS AND CHRISTIANS ALIKE ARE
CONVINCED THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE HUMAN INSTRUMENTS AS AUTHORS, IT IS
REALLY GOD [THE GOD OF JEWS. THE GOD OF CHRISTIANS. SAME GOD?
DEPENDS!] WHO SPEAKS IN
"Although there is a great variety of different
FORMULAS used in rabbinical writings
and also at Qumran [Dead Sea
Scrolls], the variations in form are
far more numerous in the N.T." .
"The wording of the FORMULAS reveals some of the presuppositions
that underlie the N.T. use of Scripture. The majority of them strongly
imply, even if they do not directly affirm, the divine origin and the
resulting authority of Scripture. But the
formulas also suggest some of the ways in which the Christians made use of
the O.T. for their own purposes...." .
"Since there is a
large measure of preciseness about the formula-quotations, it is
profitable to study their origins. Again we discover that there
are notable differences among the various N.T. writers as to which O.T.
books are utilized most often. MATTHEW, with his interest in law, has 18
quotations from the Law. He has also 8 from Isaiah, and 2 from Jeremiah, 8
from the Minor Prophets, 6 from Psalms, and no other. In MARK we find 6 citations of the Law, 3 of
Isaiah, 1 of Jeremiah, 2 of the Minor Prophets and 2 of Psalms. LUKE contains 8 quotations from the Law, 4
from Isaiah, 1 from Jeremiah, 1 from the Twelve, and 4 from Psalms.
JOHN has only 1 citation of the Law,
4 of Isaiah, 2 of Zechariah, and 6 of Psalms. Thus, in the FOUR GOSPELS as a whole we find that out
of a total of 87 class-one quotations 33 are taken from the Law; 19 from
Isaiah and 4 from Jeremiah; 13 from the Minor Prophets; and 18 from
Psalms." [70-71]. [See 1522, for perspectives].
"The citations of the third class
are by their nature much more numerous and total 1,167. Almost 30 percent
of these are drawn from the Law. The Major Prophets provide 24 percent,
and 10 percent more come from the Minor Prophets. Psalms contributes an
additional 18 percent. Thus, 82 percent of class-three material is taken from 21
O.T. books, and 18 percent is drawn from 18 more books.
WHEN THE CITATIONS OF
O.T. PASSAGES OF ALL THREE CLASSES ARE CONSIDERED TOGETHER, IT CAN BE SEEN
THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH 1,604 N.T. PASSAGES THAT ARE DIRECTLY DEPENDENT
UPON THE O.T.
["sometimes used to include all the O.T."; "in Jewish usage specifically
the first five books, containing the Mosaic Law." (Harper's Bible Dict., 1973, 382) [if you desire
to annoy yourself--further, see: Dict. Bible, Mckenzie, 1965, 495-501]]
is cited in 342 of
these instances, amounting to more than 20 percent of the whole.
The three Major Prophets provide 405 of the citations, 25 percent of the
total. The twelve Minor Prophets provide 142 citations, another 9 percent.
The 311 uses of Psalms are 19 percent of the passages under study. These
21 O.T. books furnish 81 percent of all the direct citations, and 19
percent are derived from the remainder. No O.T. book is completely
ignored, and the use
of the O.T. is especially widespread in class three [see
1511]. On the other hand, the great preponderance of borrowings from the
Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms can be clearly seen." .
Finally, we are
brought to a consideration of the uniqueness ["of the" plagiarism] of
Christianity. The multitudinous instances in which N.T. writers
have appropriated O.T. verses, most of the time without any formal
acknowledgement of their indebtedness, point to the fact that Christian
origins lie deeply embedded in Judaism. It is unthinkable that the
Christian Bible should not contain the O.T. Yet Christianity is distinct
from Judaism, and the Testaments are distinguished in Christian
terminology by the judgmental adjectives "Old" and "New." Part of the
distinctiveness of Christianity is centered in the principles by which
N.T. authors chose not to cite some parts of the O.T. while deciding to
make use of others. Most of all, however, the
N.T. emphasizes, both openly and implicitly, the fact that in Jesus
Christ [a Fictional character!] all
parts of the O.T. have been fulfilled. The uniqueness of
Christianity is found not in the proclamation of completely new truth but
in the full revelation of that truth which is imperfectly perceived in the
O.T." [theological claptrap! one-upmanship!
(see books by Stephen Potter)].  [End of
[Note: following, are samples, from the "Tables", and "Bible Passages Index". Quotation marks are
|N.T. Fulfillment of the O.T.
||There will be no poor among
||There was not a needy person among them.
|Apparent N.T. Contradictions of the
||I will not acquit the wicked.
||He who justifies the wicked [is]...an
abomination to the Lord. |
||...trusts him who justifies the ungodly.
|Some Phrases that Occur in Both
||in the beginning
||Jn. 1:1 .
|Some N.T. Uses
of LXX Passages that Differ
from the Hebrew
|Classes of Citations:
||Acknowledged quotations preceded by a
||Unacknowledged quotations, without a formula |
||Identifiable citations or allusions,
but with some rewording
|1. Gen. 12:7
(Other than Psalms) to Teachings of Jesus|
|Classes of Citations:
||Acknowledged quotations preceded by a
||Unacknowledged quotations, without a formula |
||Identifiable citations or allusions,
but with some rewording|
|I. Mark, with Parallels
in Matthew and/or Luke |
||= Mt. 4:19;
||2 Kings 6:19;
||fishers of men|
|The O.T. and
Narratives of the N.T.|
||Stories about Jesus
||thirty pieces of silver
|| Mt. 26:15;
||Mt. 27:38; Mk. 15:27;
23:33; Jn. 19:18
||Mt. 15:33 = Mt. 27:45;
|Ex. 10:21; |
||the dead raised
||Deut. 4:12; Dan. 10:7|
Teaching and The O.T.|
||Mt. 17:17; Acts
Explained by the O.T.|
||show to the priest
||Mk. 1:44 = Mt. 8:4;
Lk. 5:14; 17:14
|Lev. 13:49; 14.2
|Phrases Found in Psalms and in the
||the kings of the
||Ps. 2:2; 48:4
89:27; 102:15; 138:4
|Acts 4:26; Rev. 6:15;
|Phrases Found in Psalms and Other|
O.T. Books and in the N.T.
||Psalms and Other
||the law of the Lord
||Ps. 1:2; 19:7;
Words of Jesus and the Psalms |
||Lev. 19:12; Num.
|Bible Passages Index [215-251 (end of
Old Testament [with N.T. Parallels]|
| -Mt. 19:4; Mk.
New Testament[with O.T.
26, 59, 67, 82-83
-Gen. 22:2; Ps. 2:7;
How Came the Bible?, Edgar J. Goodspeed [1871
- 1962], Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, c1940. [Superb (and, easy reading)].
History of Early Christian Literature, Edgar J. Goodspeed, U.
[my copy, has a
typed (not by a Secretary) personal
letter ("551 Perugia Way Bel-Air Los Angeles 24 [address is raised red
print]" "Jan 30 1946 Dear Professor ["Massey"] Shepherd....Sincerely yours"
(signed (erratically) with ink: "Edgar J. Goodspeed")), by Edgar J.
Problems of New Testament Translation, Edgar
J. Goodspeed, U. Chicago, 1945.
NIV Pictorial Bible, New International
Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1981 (copyrights to 1970). [See pages: 4-7,
12-24, etc. (see especially: "How Our Bible Came To Us" (helpful graphics), 6-7)].
from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
Church, Oxford, 1997.
(Estienne). A family of scholar-printers
who worked at *Paris and "Geneva in the 16th and 17th cents.
Henri [I] Estienne (d. 1520), principal printer and
publisher to Jacobus *Faber and his circle.
Robert [I] Estienne (1503-59), Printer to Francis I. He is famous chiefly for his editions
of the Scriptures and for his Thesaurus Linguae
Latinae, first published in 1532, and for long a standard work. In his
Latin Bibles, of which those of 1528, 1532, and 1540 are of special importance,
he tried to follow as closely as possible the original text of St *Jerome.
Of his editions of the Hebrew OT the chief are those of 1538 and 1544-6. In 1544
he began to print Greek, first using the famous Garamond type in his editio princeps of *Eusebius' Historia
Ecclesiastica. Among his later editions of the Fathers is that of *Justin Martyr (1551). His most important edition
of the Greek NT is that of 1550. It was the earliest to contain a critical
apparatus, and its text is almost identical with the '*TEXTUS RECEPTUS'
(q.v.). His annotations to his Bibles provoked severe attacks from the
*Sorbonne, which led him to move to Geneva in 1551 where he became a *Calvinist. IN HIS
NT [NEW TESTAMENT], PUBLISHED AT GENEVA IN
THE SAME YEAR , HE INTRODUCED THE DIVISION INTO
VERSES ARRANGED BY HIMSELF, WHICH IS STILL USED TODAY. He
subsequently published many of J. Calvin's works." .
from: Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Sir
Frederic Kenyon, Revised by A.W. Adams, Dean of Divinity of Magdalen College
Oxford, Introduction by G.R. Driver, Fellow of Magdalen College and Professor of
Semitic Philology, Oxford, Harper & Brothers, 1958 (1895).
"The Received Text
The great printer-editor, Robert Estienne, or Stephanus, of Paris (sometimes
Anglicized as Stephens, without ground), issued several editions of the Greek New
Testament, based mainly on the later editions of Erasmus, the first
appearing in 1546. The third edition,
published in folio in 1550, was the first
Greek Testament to contain a critical apparatus, for which fifteen manuscripts,
most of them comparatively late, were used. Shortly afterwards Estienne was
forced to retire to Geneva on account of his Protestantism, and from there
issued in 1557 [1551 (see above, and
1521)] the first edition to contain the modern verse divisions (the chapter divisions were the work of Archbishop Stephen Langton). Estienne's third
edition is substantially the 'received text' which has appeared in all our
ordinary copies of the Greek Testament in England until recently. On the
Continent, the 'received text' has been that of the Elzevir edition of 1624
(though it is the second edition of
1633 which coined the phrase 'TEXTUS
RECEPTUS'). This differs very slightly from that of Stephanus, being in fact a revision of the latter
with the assistance of the texts published in 1565-1605 by the great French
Protestant scholar Beza." .
"For us at the present day the principal result of the
labours of the Paris doctors is the division of our Bible into chapters. Divisions of both Old and New Testaments into sections of
various sizes existed from very early times; but our modern chapter-division was
the work of Stephen Langton, then a doctor of the University of Paris,
afterwards archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the barons in the struggle
which gave birth to Magna Charta. The texts of these Parisian Bibles are not, it must be
admitted, of any very remarkable excellence; but they are very important in the
history of the Vulgate, because it is virtually upon them that the printed text
of the Bible of the Roman Church is based to this day." [261-262].
"the New Testament
Whittingham, brother-in-law of Calvin's wife and a fellow of All Souls
College, Oxford,...was printed in 1557 in a convenient small octavo form; but
this was soon superseded by a more comprehensive and complete revision of the
whole Bible by Whittingham himself and a group of other scholars. Taking for
their basis the Great Bible in the Old
Testament, and Tyndale's last
revision in the New, they revised the whole with much care and
scholarship....The division of chapters
into verses, which had been introduced by
Whittingham from Stephanus' Graeco-Latin New Testament of 1551, was here for the
first time adopted for the whole English Bible. In all previous
translations the division had been into paragraphs, as in our present Revised
Version. For the Old
Testament, the verse division was that made by Rabbi Nathan in 1448, which was first printed in a
Venice edition of 1524, and was adopted by Pagninus in a Latin Bible in 1528, with a
different division in the New
STEPHANUS' LATIN BIBLE OF
1555 IS THE FIRST TO SHOW THE PRESENT [VERSE] DIVISION
IN BOTH TESTAMENTS, AND IT WAS THIS THAT WAS FOLLOWED IN THE GENEVA
from: The Ancestry of Our English Bible, An Account of
Manuscripts, Texts, and Versions of the Bible, Ira Maurice Price, Late
Professor of the Semitic Languages and Literatures in the University of Chicago,
Third Revised Edition, William A. Irwin, Allen P. Wikgren, Professors in the
University of Chicago, Harper & Brothers, 1956 (c1906).
"The Hebrew Bible of today
is divided into chapters and verses. This CHAPTER
DIVISION had its origin in the Vulgate and is accredited to Lanfranc,
Archbishop of Canterbury, who died 1089; to Stephen Langton, who died 1228; and
to Hugo de Sancto Caro in the thirteenth century. The divisions began
to be used in the Hebrew Bible in the thirteenth century, but the first edition to introduce the CHAPTER NUMBERS into the text was that of Arius
Montanus in 1571, a Hebrew Bible with Latin interlinear translation.
The first purely Hebrew Bible so printed appeared in 1573-74; VERSE NUMBERS began with
the Athias Hebrew Bible of 1559-61."
"The most important contribution to the form of our
Bible that sprang out of the Paris activity was the
formal division of the Bible into chapters. Paragraph and section divisions had
already existed for centuries. But Stephen
Langton, a doctor in the University of Paris, and later Archbishop of
Canterbury, probably made the divisions of our Bible known as chapters, about
A.D. 1228." .
'The famous scholar and printer, Robert Stephanus (Estienne), of
Paris, also published several editions of the Greek New
Testament, beginning in 1546. His text was based on Erasmus (1535), the
Complutensian Polyglot, and eventually fifteen manuscripts in the Paris Library.
The third edition (1550), the
superb Paris folio known as the "editio regia," became the standard text of Britain [see 1519].
The fourth (1551) is notable for
the first appearance of the
VERSE DIVISIONS in the New Testament. These were
PREPARED BY STEPHANUS DURING A HORSEBACK JOURNEY FROM PARIS TO LYONS, THE POOR
DIVISIONS IN SPOTS SUGGESTING THAT SOME OF THE WORK WAS DONE ON THE
HORSE [see 1616].' .
from: The Bible in the Making, Geddes MacGregor,
"The division of the Bible into passages of varying
length had for long been customary. But the now familiar chapter division was
devised by Stephen Langton, a Sorbonne
doctor who became, in 1206, a cardinal
and, in 1207, Archbishop of Canterbury. He
took a leading part in the movement that led to Magna Charta. THE DIVISION INTO CHAPTERS, AS HE ARRANGED IT, WAS
ARBITRARY BUT CONVENIENT IN ITS WAY." .
from: The Cambridge History of the Bible, 3
Volumes, Volume 3, The West from the Reformation to
the Present Day, Edited by S.L. Greenslade, Regius Professor of
Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford, Cambridge, 1963.
"In 1550 Estienne
[Robert Estienne 1503 - 1559] left Paris, driven to leave his home and a place
of honour in his trade by the troubles which the Faculties of Louvain and Paris
had caused him on account of his editions of the Vulgate. In 1551 he [Estienne] printed a
16mo Greek-Latin New Testament with the VERSES NUMBERED
AND DIVIDED. In the next year he produced a French-Latin octavo
New Testament on the same plan. IN 1553 he [ESTIENNE] PRINTED A
FOLIO FRENCH BIBLE WHICH IS THE FIRST BIBLE TO USE HIS VERSE-DIVISION THROUGHOUT." .
TOTAL VERSES IN THE NEW
TESTAMENT: 7,947 (The Text of the New Testament, Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland,
1987, 29). This reference, thanks to "Islamic Awareness":
http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/Bibaccuracy.html, page 5 of 12,
where the "Table showing the total number of variant free verses [and total
number of verses] in the books of the New
Testament....", is reproduced.
TOTAL VERSES IN THE BIBLE
(OLD TESTAMENT PLUS NEW TESTAMENT): 31, 173 (bibledesk.com). [The
New Testament is approximately 1/3 the
size (verses, and, pages) of the Old
Of course, these totals depend on the versions evaluated.
from: The Essene-Christian Faith, A Study in the Sources of
Western Religion, Martin A. Larson, Philosophical Library, 1980.
"According to what is known as the Marcan Hypothesis,
almost all of the canonical Mark is reproduced in
Matthew and Luke, which also copy from another document, now lost,
known as The Source, The
Quelle, or the Sayings of Jesus.4 That Mark is the
primary document is shown by the fact, first, that the order of events established there
[Mark] is followed for the most part in the other two Synoptics ["Matthew and
Luke"], although these vary from each other; second, that these ["Matthew and Luke"] reproduce
hundreds of passages literally or almost verbatim; and, third, that the parallels in each to the earlier
Gospel [Mark] are much closer than are their similarities to each other."
"Total and Parallel
Verses in the Gospels
||John||Verses with No Parallels|
Note that only 6 verses in
Mark are without parallels in any other Gospel; that of its 678 verses,
645 reappear in Matthew and 547 in Luke. Note also that Luke has 476 verses which are without parallels
(these are--for the most part--deeply flavored with
Essene ideology). Very significant is the fact that of the 879 verses
in John, 704 are without parallels in the
Synoptics [Synoptic Gospels = Matthew, Mark,
Luke]...." . [For parallels, see: #3, 47, 222.; #7, 183; #17, 362;
Appendix II, 709; Appendix III, 713]. [See: 1513]. [from: Addition 31,
from: A Rationalist Encyclopaedia, A Book of
Reference on Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and Science, Joseph McCabe [1867 -
1955], Watts, 1950 (1948).
B.C.), Greek philosopher. He was born at Samos, off the coast of Asia Minor, and
is thus linked from the first with the Ionic
School, the teaching of which he expanded and improved; but he spent
most of his life, after eighteen, at Athens. There he opened a school to which
men came from all parts of Greece and the colonies. Of the 300 works which he
wrote (he seems to have had a remarkable range of knowledge), only fragments
survive, and it has therefore been possible to libel him in all ages. His contemporary in Athens, Zeno, the founder of Stoicism,
is said to have begun the practice ["libel"] [see 1530 (DeWitt)], though it is noteworthy that the Stoic, Seneca, calls his
teaching "a holy and proper
doctrine." Augustine called it,
almost [?] brutally and quite
falsely, "a philosophy of swine,"
and until the seventeenth century that
characterization was universally admitted, and is familiar in religious and
general literature to-day. The ancient authorities are agreed that
Epicurus was a man of very simple and
temperate life, providing cakes and water for his guests--a little wine and
cheese on festivals--and that these included, against Athenian custom, women and
slaves. What he seems to have chiefly learned from Asia Minor is the Lydian [see] doctrine of friendliness to all. Even the more
refined charge ["libel"], that he recommended a tranquil and passionless
individual life instead of social idealism, cannot be sustained. Benn says this, and then quotes his words: "Vain
is the discourse of that philosopher by whom no human suffering is healed."
Ueberweg repeats the libel in his History of
Philosophy (1875, I, 211), yet quotes (from Plutarch) his saying: "It is
more pleasant to do than to receive good." Equally false is the statement that
Zeno stood for virtue--his code of
sex-morals was far from Pauline--and Epicurus for pleasure. What we may say is
that public life had sunk so low in Athens, at the time, that Epicurus advised his friends to avoid it; but in a
better age, as we shall see, his teaching had a remarkably beneficent social
influence. Though apparently a master of such
science as existed, and important as the author who transmitted this science to
Lucretius and posterity, he [Epicurus] considered
it of value only as an antidote to superstition. He is said to have
admitted gods in some remote region, who were quite indifferent to man's
affairs, but this was probably his way of evading a clash with the ignorant
people. All that we know of his system suggests that he [Epicurus] was an Atheist and Materialist, like
Zeno. (See C. Bailey's Epicurus, a translation of the biographical sketch of
the philosopher by Diogenes Laertius and
of the extant fragments of his writings and letters, 1926.)
The schools of
Plato [c. 428 - 348-347 B.C.E.] and
Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.] had never had
a wide following and had left Greek philosophy [see] under the control of
the Sceptics. (See Benn, History of Ancient
Philosophy, 1912, p. 107, Ueberweg, History of
Philosophy, I, 211, Zeller, and all authorities.) After the death of Zeno the Stoic school itself broke,
under pressure of the Sceptics and the Epicureans, into a right or
religious wing (a small minority) and a left or humanist wing. The Ionian school, which had so far been
faithfully developed and now took the form of Epicureanism, was more
fortunate. R.D. Hicks (Stoic and
Epicurean, 1910) says that no other school--he overlooks the
Confucians--was ever so united. It "outlived most others" (Zeller) and, alone or
in combination with the new Stoicism, was
the great inspiration of the Greek-Roman world in its best days. Though a fresh
and complete study is very desirable, it is now generally agreed that this
Epicureanism, which the cruder critics call a philosophy of swine, and the more
refined a purely individualist creed, [Epicureanism] proved
a notable inspiration of social idealism in the Roman Empire [see]. Ueberweg,
who endorses the latter criticism, goes on to say (I, 211( that it "aided in
softening down the asperity and exclusiveness of ancient manners and in
cultivating the social virtues," and that it "performed a work whose merit
should not be underestimated." Dr. J. Oaksmith
admirably describes THE BLENDING OF EPICUREANISM AND A STOICISM purged of mystic
elements FROM 250 B.C. ONWARD, and quotes with approval Seneca's praise of
"the noble and humane simplicity of the
Epicurean ideal of life" and its
efficacy (The Religion of Plutarch, 1902,
p. 39). When Prof. Gilbert Murray says
that "all the principal kings in existence
in the generations following Zeno professed themselves Stoics" (The Stoic Philosophy, 1915, p. 41) it must be understood in this sense. Of the two
finest series of monarchs, judged by their contribution to civilization, the
Ptolemies of Alexandria might be described
as Epicureans, but were assuredly not Stoics; and of the Antonine or so-called
Stoic Emperors of Rome, the second series, only Marcus Aurelius was a
Stoic, while the greatest,
Hadrian [see], actively promoted the philosophy of Epicurus.'
[189-190] [End of entry].
Alexandria], Judaeus ("the Jew," about 15
B.C. to A.D. 40), philosopher. Son of a rich farmer of the taxes in Egypt who
made a thorough study of Greek literature and philosophy and is the most
distinguished Jewish writer and scholar of the age. He [Philo] was most
attracted to Pythagoras, Plato, and the more religious of the Stoics, and he
blended their ideas with a very liberal or symbolical interpretation of Hebrew
theology. God is little more than an abstract idea in his works, and
there are innumerable spiritual beings between him and the world, which was not
created but formed from eternal (and essentially evil) matter. His [Philo's]
ideas are of value as a witness to the synthesis of
mystic ideas (Pythagorean, Platonist,
Persian, liberal Jewish, etc.) which was
then common, and out of which Christianity,
Gnosticism, and Neo-Platonism [see 1540] developed.' 
[End of entry].
from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
Church, Oxford, 1997 (1957).
system of philosophical ethics founded by the Greek thinker Epicurus (342-270 BC). Epicurus held that the
senses, as the one and only source of all our ideas, provided the sole criterion
of all truth. On this basis he reasserted the materialistic atomism of Democritus [c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.E.] and denied
immortality. He did not reject the
existence of gods, but refused to conceded their inference in human affairs. The
goal of human conduct he sought in pleasure, which he equated with freedom from
pain and from fear. During and after his lifetime his doctrines proved very
attractive. Among later Epicureans were
Apollodorus, Zeno of Sidon, and (the most
famous) the Roman Lucretius. IN THE NT, EPICUREANS ARE REFERRED TO IN ACTS 17:
18 [see below]. Fragments of many of
Epicurus' writings have been recovered from the charred papyri of
Herculaneum. [Bibliography follows]
....N.W. DeWitt, Epicurus and his Philosophy (Minneapolis,
1954 [University of Minnesota, 1954])...." .
[Note: not listed:
N.W. DeWitt, St. Paul and
Epicurus (see 1542)].
from: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the
Apocrypha, Oxford, 1973 (c1962).
'[verse 18] Some
also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers met him. And some said,
"What would this babbler say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of
foreign divinities"--because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.' .
[footnote] "17.16-34: Paul
at Athens. The apostle [Paul]
is portrayed as the first Christian philosopher,
using Stoic and Jewish arguments." .
from: American Journal of Philology, Founded by
B.L. Gildersleeve [see Addition 26, 1188], Volume LXXVII, Johns Hopkins Press,
1956. [Note: Norman Wentworth DeWitt, was President of the American Philology
Society, 1939 - ? ].
Norman W. DeWittt. Epicurus
and his Philosophy [see 1528-1535]. Minneapolis, Univ. of Minnesota
Press, 1954. Pp. 388. $6.00." . [This sophisticated review extends to page
84. Perusing, recommended].
'The last two chapters [of "Epicurus and his
Philosophy"], The New Virtues, and Extension, Submergence, and Revival, are too
suggestive and wide-ranging for summary here. Neither do I think it would be specially profitable to
raise questions about some of the "Epicurean virtues"--that sect would sometimes seem to
have them all and indeed something of a monopoly--nor to quibble over
specific proposals of Epicurean influence in, say, the New Testament or to query
Julius Caesar's partiality to Epicureanism , or the like. These
chapters illustrate fairly well the book's virtues and drawbacks. The suggestions are stimulating, the material is well
covered, the texts are dealt with honestly, and the right points are brought
up. On the other hand, there is a good deal
of "special pleading," sources seem to be praised or damned as they support or
weaken DeWitt's theses, and in general I feel that he
over-confidently reconstructs with apostolic fervor a whole philosophical system
with precision and detail out of what is, after all, quite meager and very often
debatable evidence [my guess: this criticism has significant
Harvard University.'  [End of Review].
from: The Journal of Philosophy, Volume LIII,
'Epicurus and His Philosophy [see 1528-1535].
Norman Wentworth DeWitt. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press . 388
Norman Wentworth DeWitt,
Professor of Latin Emeritus in Victoria College, the University of
Toronto, has written this careful study of Epicurus with three main
aims:  to offer a consequential
biographical sketch of the life of Epicurus;  to present a new and challenging interpretation
of his teachings, based on a rejection of Usener's emendations; and  to display
Epicureanism as "a bridge of transition
from the classical philosophies of Greece to the Christian religion."
It is doubtful whether he has succeeded in the first aim. It is still more
doubtful whether many classical or Biblical scholars will be impressed by his
excessive claims on the third point. But there is little doubt that he has
achieved his second aim: he has reëxamined and reinterpreted the texts of
Epicurus in such a suggestive fashion that all subsequent study of Epicurus in
and Epicureanism will have to take his book into account....' .
'Mr. DeWitt has a few extraordinary remarks on Aristotle, such as that his universe had a
"bottom." But on the whole his analysis of the
texts of Epicurus is accurate, stimulating, suggestive, and fresh and
first-hand. Like all enthusiastic students of a single philosophical
figure, he tends to lose his perspective because of a lack of equal [? (ideal,
but there are limitations of time, abilities, resources, etc.)] familiarity with
other and contemporary philosophical alternatives [see 1539 (other books by
J.H. Randall, Jr.
Columbia University'  [End of Review].
from: Epicurus [c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.] and His
Philosophy, Norman Wentworth DeWitt, Victoria College, University
of Toronto, University of Minnesota Press, c1954.
[Extensive, brief "Notes" (except, disappointingly, no
"Notes" for Chapter 1)].
The aim of this study is threefold: first, to organize the surviving data on the life
of Epicurus into a consequential biographical sketch so as to throw some light
upon the growth of his personality and the development of his philosophy;
second, to present a new interpretation of
his doctrines based upon less emended remains of his writings; and third, to win attention for the importance of
Epicureanism as a bridge of transition
from the classical philosophies of Greece to the Christian religion. This new
approach requires a total rearrangement of the pertinent materials, the rectification of grave oversights, and the exposure of time-honored fallacies, even of the
fond beliefs that Epicurus declared all sensations to be trustworthy and
identified pleasure with the greatest good.
The slanders and fallacies of a long and unfriendly
tradition have been enjoying modern sanction ever since Eduard Zeller expounded them with seeming reasonableness
and undeniable tidiness a century ago in his Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics....
In England the ignominy to which Epicureanism had been
relegated by Puritanism after flourishing briefly under the Restoration....
It was in Italy that new ground was first broken. This
was the good fortune of Ettore Bignone,
who in 1936 began to set the account
straight in respect of the life of Epicurus and the development of his doctrine
in his L'Aristotele
perduto e la formazione filosofica di Epicuro.
The present study, even if more inclusive than others
and based upon less emended sources, is offered with no fond hope of having
achieved finality. The feat of rescuing Epicurus
from the injustice of centuries will not be accomplished at a blow nor by the
efforts of any single researcher. To have made a breach in the wall of
false opinion will seem to have been a sufficient advance." ["i"-"ii"].
"I A Synoptic View of
"True Opinions: False
In the succession of
philosophers the place of Epicurus [c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.] is immediately after Plato [c. 428 - 348-347
B.C.E.] and Pyrrho [c. 360 - c. 270
B.C.E.] the skeptic. Platonism and
skepticism were among his chief abominations. The false opinion is to think him
opposed to Stoicism. The traditional order
of mention, Stoics, Epicureans, and
Skeptics, is the exact reverse of the chronological succession [Skeptics, Epicureans, Stoics]. The philosophy of Epicurus was an immediate reaction to the skepticism of
Pyrrho and it was offered to the public as
a fully developed system before Zeno [Zeno of Citium c. 335 - c. 263
B.C.E.] the founder of Stoicism even began to
Epicurus was an erudite man and a trained thinker. He made
the rounds of the contemporary schools, Platonic,
Peripatetic, and Democritean, and
he devoted several years to reading and study before offering himself as a
teacher. The false opinion is to think him an ignoramus and an enemy of all
Historians persist in judging him only as a philosopher,
but to be rightly understood he must be recognized also as a moral reformer. The
fallacy consists in damning him as an ingrate and in failing to discern that
reformers are rebels and as rebels feel themselves absolved from debts of
As a man of science Epicurus [c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.] returned to the
tradition of the Ionian thinkers, which had been interrupted by Socrates [c. 470 - 399 B.C.E.] and Plato [c. 428 - 348-347 B.C.E.]. The chief
positive influence on his thinking was Ionian, the chief negative influence
Platonic. The error in this instance consists in the failure to recognize Epicurus as an Antiplatonist and a
penetrating critic of Platonism.
As a philosopher Epicurus
belongs in the class of thinkers who have attempted a synthesis of philosophical
thought, and his modern analogues are Herbert Spencer [1820 - 1903] and Auguste Comte [1798 - 1857]. He [Epicurus] surveyed
the whole field of previous thought and either wrote critiques of his
predecessors himself or delegated the task to his colleagues. This aspect of the
activity of his school has been completely overlooked." [6-7].
"EPICUREANISM WAS THE FIRST
MISSIONARY PHILOSOPHY. The mistake is to look upon Epicurus as an
effeminate and a moral invalid; by disposition he was combative and by natural
gifts a leader, organizer, and campaigner.
Epicureanism was the first
world philosophy, being acceptable to both Greek and barbarian. The
mistake is to think Epicurus as an egoistic hedonist, ruled solely by
self-interest. He was an altruistic hedonist.
Epicureanism served in the
ancient world as a preparation for Christianity, helping to bridge the gap
between Greek intellectualism and a religious way of life. It shunted
the emphasis from the political to the social virtues and offered what may be
called a religion of humanity. The mistake is to
overlook the terminology and ideology of Epicureanism in the New
Testament and to think of its founder as an enemy of religion.
presented two fronts to the world, the one as repellent as the other was
attractive. Its discouragement of the political career
was repellent to the ambitious, its denial of divine providence to pious
orthodoxy, and its hedonism to timorous respectability. Its candor, charity, courtesy, and friendliness were
attractive to multitudes of the honest and unambitious folk.
The influence of
Epicureanism, though anonymous, has been persistent in literature, ethics, and
politics. In literature and ethics it has survived by amalgamation with
Stoicism, chiefly through Seneca
[c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] and Marcus Aurelius [Emperor 161-180 (121-180)]. In
politics it fathered the doctrine that the least government is the best
government, which was espoused by John
Locke [1632 - 1704] and popularized in North America by Thomas Jefferson [President 1801 - 1809 (1743 -
1826)]. All these aspects of influence have been overlooked because of the usual
anonymity. It was the fate of Epicurus [c.
341 - 271 B.C.E.] to be named if condemned, unnamed
if approved." .
"It was...opposition to
Platonism that chiefly determined the shape of Epicureanism; more than half of
its forty Authorized Doctrines are flat contradictions of Platonism. It is the mistake of historians to oppose Epicurus to
Stoics. This is an anachronism; it comes of throwing back into the
lifetime of Epicurus a hostility that arose only after his death. The error is chiefly due to the writings of Cicero, who
matches Epicureans and Stoics as if rival schools of gladiators.
Already in 311 B.C.
Epicurus was offering a neatly integrated body of doctrine to the youth of
Mytilene. At that date the founder of
Stoicism, Zeno of Citium in Cyprus, was a new arrival in Athens about
twenty-one years of age. In contrast to the precocious Epicurus he was a late
beginner and a slow learner. Many years were to elapse before he began to
address himself to the people of Athens in the Painted Porch [Stoa (see Addition 26, 1239-1241)].
The assumption of hostility between the
two [Epicurus, and, Zeno] is unsupported
even by a scrap of evidence. It was Chrysippus, the second founder of Stoicism, who
began the feud and he was a mere lad of nine years living in his native Soli of
Cilicia when Epicurus passed away. Stoicism is
consequently to be written off absolutely as an influence in the life of
'Plato was complicating
philosophy for the few who find self-gratification in complexity.
Epicurus was simplifying
philosophy for the many who were willing to live by their
philosophy. Platonic justice seemed to him [Epicurus] a specious pretense. In Vatican
Collection 54 he [Epicurus] wrote: "We should not
pretend to philosophize but philosophize honestly, because it is not the
semblance of health we need but real health."' [23-24].
"The First Missionary
Epicureanism was the first
and only real missionary philosophy produced by the Greeks. So foreign
was such a concept to the thought of the earlier philosophers and the sophists
that they failed even to found schools in the sense that Plato's Academy became a school; much less did
they found sects. As Epicurus rightly discerned, human institutions arise from
the evolution of the unintended. Just as Nature, according to him, is the sole
creatix [creatrix ("L. fem. of creator")] in the
physical world, so Nature, working through the joint and cumulative experience
of mankind, is the sole creatix [creatrix] in the social and political spheres.
Language for example, was an innovation of Nature; men merely improved upon her
beginnings. On this principle, it must be deemed incredible that Plato's
conscious purpose was to found a school in perpetuity when he chose the Academy
as his place of instruction; no model as yet existed. The lack of a model, according to Epicurus, would even have
prevented the gods from creating a universe [clever!]." [26-27].
[First Roman Emperor 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E. (63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.)], the founder of
the Roman Empire, was the least robust of the men of his court and plagued by
recurrent illnesses. Ill health is even capable of intensifying the tenacity of
the invalid. It was so with Epicurus. In
his own circle he was a master mind and alone of all the founders of schools he
built up and dominated an organization for the dissemination of his creed. As
Seneca said, "In that famous fellowship
[apparently, Epicureanism] every word that was spoken was uttered under the
guidance and auspices of a single individual [apparently, Epicurus]." The battle
is not always to the strong. Inherent in
Epicureanism was a quiet crusading spirit which quickly extended
it over the contemporary world and endowed it with
a tenacity unequaled by rival creeds; it flourished for almost seven
centuries. The vogue of Stoicism as a
militant creed lasted a mere two centuries.' [28-29].
a design for living Epicureanism is patently suggestive of modern hominism or
humanism or pragmatism. It was centered in man and not in the state or in
theology. The breadth of its humanity is well expressed by one of
its later devotees, who wrote "that the whole earth
is just one country, the native land of all, and the whole world is
just one household." The most potent single sentiment in the development of
modern social theory is Epicurean as well
as Menandrian [Menander 342 - 292 B.C.E. ("Athenian dramatist.
Student of Theophrastus and friend of
Epicurus" (Webster's Bio. Dict.))]: Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto.
This sentence has suffered a variety of English translations, but the substance
is, "I am a man; I deem nothing that concerns
mankind to be a matter of indifference to me [see Addition 26, 1240
By virtue of its spirit, its procedures, and certain of
its doctrines Epicureanism served as a preparation for Christianity in the
Graeco-Roman world. The similarity between the one and the other has
long been evident to friend and foe. To the
scornful Nietzsche [see 1609]
the teaching of Epicurus seemed to be
"A PRE-EXISTING CHRISTIANITY," because in his
judgment both creeds had been framed for the weak and timorous. To a
sympathetic scholar it seemed "like the twilight between the beliefs that were
passing away and that which rose on the world after his [apparently, Jesus]
The first missionary
philosophy [Epicureanism] was a natural
preparation for the first missionary religion [Christianism
("Christianity")]. The one [Epicureanism]
had been detached from Greek politics and the
other [Christianism] was to be detached from Jewish politics. Both
creeds were framed for men of peace, militant only for the increase of human
happiness. Both offered healing and comforting beliefs for both sexes and all
ages of men. Both based their ethics on love and friendliness. The fellowship cultivated by the Epicureans was comparable
to the communion of saints as fostered by the Christians. Both stressed
the social virtues, mutual helpfulness, forbearance, and forgiveness. [?]
distinguished clearly between the inner life and the external life of
circumstance; these corresponded to the spiritual life and the worldly life in
Christian thought. Both creeds
[Epicureanism, and Christianism ("Christianity")] spoke of ignorance as darkness and knowledge as light. Both
essayed to deprive death of its sting. Both spoke of the narrow way and warned
of the deceitfulness of wealth, power, and glory.
The two sects were singular in taking their names from
their leaders and in pledging loyalty to those leaders; both spoke of following
in the steps of those leaders. Both rejected the conventional education and
founded their own schools, providing new textbooks. The texts provided by the Epicureans anticipated the texts
composed by the Christians. The
biographies of the beloved Epicurus, whose life "compared with that of
other men would be considered a myth," corresponded
to the Gospels; he was revered as
nothing short of a god; he was called savior. The affectionate memoirs of his colleagues
were comparable to the Acts of the Apostles. The letters of Epicurus to various
communities of friends were like the Epistles. Even in their style of
writing the two literatures resembled each other, aiming only at clarity.
It should also be carried in mind that the adherents of both sects [Epicureans, and,
Christians] belonged to the lower and middle
classes of society; they practiced in common a voluntary sharing of
goods; they were alike in holding their meetings in private houses and in having
common meals at regular intervals; in the will of Epicurus provision was made
for certain rites to be performed in memory of himself, which reminds us of the
Eucharist. It would have been singularly easy for an Epicurean to become a
Christian. [?]. [Unfortunately, no sources are given, for this Chapter (1)].
As a last word on this topic it may be mentioned that
the custom prevailed among Epicureans of
carrying about with them small images of their founder; they also had likenesses
done in marble or painted on wooden panels to adorn their homes or lodgings. His
[Epicurus] features are well known to this day from surviving portrait
busts and exhibit an [a bearded]
expression singularly Christlike. In this connection it is remarkable that the beardless [see #9, 225]
Christ so often seen on Christian sarcophagi down
to the fourth century gave way to the bearded [see #24, 512] form which is now TRADITIONAL. Since the two sects lived side by side for three [see 1534]
centuries, it is by no means impossible that in this particular the practice
of the one was a preparation for the practice of the other.' [31-32].
presented two fronts to the world, the one repellent, the other attractive. Both
the repulsion and the attraction were keenly experienced by St. Augustine, who declared that he would have awarded
it ["Epicureanism"] the palm ["supreme
honour", "prize", etc. (O.E.D.)] had it not been for the [eschatology of] denial of immortality and judgment after death. It was
chiefly the ethical creed that attracted men, based upon love or friendship and
all the kindly social virtues that make for peace and good companionship. It was chiefly the eschatology ["the branch of theology, or
doctrines, dealing with death, resurrection,
judgment, immortality, etc." (Webster's N.W. Dict.)] that offended,
arousing in succession the hostility of Platonists,
Stoics, and Christians."
"Epicurus had essayed to
deprive death of its sting by reconciling men to mortality; Paul would deprive
death of its sting by holding out the assurance of immortality [see
Epicureanism was the prevailing creed among the Greek
populations to which Paul addressed himself and, in harmony with his avowed
practice of making himself all things to all men that he might save some, he
here makes himself an Epicurean to Epicureans. He is shuffling the familiar
components of that creed so as to erect a new matrix of meanings. It is just as
if the older monument were being demolished in order to yield stones for the
wall of the new edifice.
In rabbinical literature
the name of Epicurus became a synonym for unbeliever and survives in this
"Epicurus rebelled against
the highly regimented polity of Plato's Republic
and the Laws and advocated instead a minimum of
government. The function of government, he believed, was to guarantee the safety
of the individual. This doctrine was anonymously revived by John Locke and
espoused by Thomas Jefferson, who was an avowed Epicurean. It is consequently not surprising that Safety and Happiness, catchwords
of Epicurus, should be named in the Declaration of Independence as the ends of
government. Neither is it surprising that the same document should mention
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; these
concepts also are Epicurean....
In the main stream of prose and poetry it [EPICUREANISM]
OFTEN SURVIVES UNDER STOIC LABELS. In the
terminology and thought of religion it survives in spite of the obliviousness of
New Testament scholars. In politics it has been a dominant, though
nameless, influence ever since the succession of modern philosophers was started
by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke during the brief vogue of Epicureanism
in the Restoration period. In North America the
Epicurean doctrine that the least government is the best government was
virtually made to order for the circumstances of the Revolution, even if not a
single Jeffersonian democrat was ever aware of its origin." . [End
of Chapter 1 ("A Synoptic View of Epicureanism" (see 1529))].
"SENECA...DISSEMINATED EPICUREAN TEACHINGS UNDER THE BANNER
OF STOICISM.87 [see 1602, 1603,
"The time has now come for surveying the fortunes of
Epicureanism from the beginning down to the present day. If the synoptic view be
first presented as a preparation for the details, it may be said that the creed
[Epicureanism] flourished for the space of seven centuries, three before
Christ and four afterward. At the outset it followed the then
prevailing migrational trend to the eastward and established itself in the
Graeco-Oriental world of Alexander and his successors. After the lapse of a
century it followed the reverse trend to the westward and made the conquest of
Italy, Rome, and Roman Africa. Thereafter it flourished over the greater part of
the Graeco-Roman world for the space of four centuries. During the Middle Ages
it survived as an evil name and was overlooked during the first centuries of the
Renaissance. At long last it experienced a revival in France in the seventeenth
century and enjoyed a brief vogue in England during the period of the
Restoration. Its influence for the most part has been exerted anonymously.
To the synoptic view belong also the following items:
During the lifetime of
Epicurus and his three colleagues the chief competitors and adversaries were the
Platonists and Peripatetics.
During the last two centuries
B.C. the chief competitors and adversaries were the Stoics.
With the death of Cicero in 43 B.C. the stage of controversy came to
an end, and after the turn of the century [first century C.E.] the process of syncretism was accelerated. This was the
work of Stoics, and the chief names are those of Seneca, Musonius Rufus,
Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.
Before the year A.D. 200 the
Christians had come forward as the chief competitors and adversaries. This
rivalry was the last. By the fifth century the
Epicureans seem to have been absorbed into the Christian
"When he ["Jesus" (Fictional character!)] speaks of gentiles he means Greeks. It is also
difficult to believe that he failed to add some knowledge of their [Greek] tongue to his own Aramaic and Hebrew." . [See: #5, 153].
"Epicureanism, on the
contrary, was an integral part of a slow progression in society from Greek
philosophy to Christianity. Plato's philosophy was for the talented
few, the intellectual aristocrats; the doctrines of Epicurus appealed chiefly to
the middle classes, the bourgeoisie; the teachings
of Jesus were for the very poor, the lost sheep. Again, the ethics of
Plato are tied in with his whole system of
knowledge, including politics; the ethics of Epicurus are separated from
politics and joined only with physics; the ethics of Jesus are isolated from
both physics and politics and fitted into a developing scheme of salvation; this
should be recognized as a new matrix of meanings, which we denominate as
The vocabulary of the New
Testament exhibits numerous similarities to that of Epicurus [c. 341 -
271 B.C.E.]..." .
"After the first century A.D. it becomes convenient to
scan the evidences of Epicureanism in the
Mediterranean countries as a unified cultural area. The development of the new
Stoicism of Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], Epictetus [c. 55 - c. 135], and Marcus Aurelius [Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)]
was local and affected only the West. The learned revival instituted by Plutarch [c. 46 - c. 120], though it must have
continued since its memorials still survive, was confined to narrow circles. The collapse of Stoicism as a militant creed, which seems
to have been as complete as it was rapid, left the arena to Christianity and the singularly tenacious
This was the last phase of the rivalry of the sects
until Christians began to contend with one another in the struggle for
thought started with Locke and remained largely with Locke, who was the favored
philosopher during the revolutionary period. The doctrine of the
minimum of government was incorporated in the Constitution. It survived and
still survives, though gravely questioned and threatened, as the system of free
enterprise. As a matter of interest it may be added that its chief champion,
Thomas Jefferson, was an avowed Epicurean and
capable of reading the texts in the original [Greek].
As for classical scholars, their
attitude toward Epicurus has been
contemptuous in the main and their treatment perfunctory. In bibliographies
his name runs a poor second to that of his alphabetical neighbor Epictetus. Since 1900 a slow increase of interest
has become apparent and still persists, but many tedious investigations remain
to be made if the misrepresentations of centuries are to be rectified. In
particular the New Testament must be diligently
studied anew for traces of the language and thought of Epicureanism,
which in that day was flourishing both in Judaea and in the Greek cities where
the apostles [propagandists--proselytizers] sought their converts. This
background ["Epicureanism"] was helping to shape the new doctrine [Christianism ("Christianity")]." [357-358] [End of
from: The Dalhousie Review, A Canadian Quarterly of
Literature and Opinion, Volume 35, Summer, 1955, Number 2.
"St. Paul and Epicurus [see 1542-1551]. By
Norman Wentworth DeWitt. The Ryerson Press, Toronto 1954. Pp. 195 $4.00.
It has long [extent?] been recognized that Epicureanism had, on its ethical side, not a
little in common with Christianity...." .
rests his case on the large number of 'hidden parallelisms' he produces. Now,
nearly ninety years ago Bishop Lightfoot
[Joseph Barber Lightfoot 1829 - 1889] [superb scholar and Christian apologist]
very striking parallels between the writings of
Seneca [see 1568-1572] and the New Testament. He concluded, 'The proverbial suspicion which
attaches to statistics ought to be extended to coincidences of language, for they may be, and often
are, equally fallacious.' He [Bishop
Lightfoot] might well have added,--'especially where moral instruction is
[Note: important caveats]
K.M. Hamilton." .
from: The Classical Journal, Volume 51, 1955.
'St. Paul and
Epicurus [see 1542-1551]. By Norman Wentworth DeWitt. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press, 1954. Pp. vii, 201. $4.00.
The present volume, a sequel to the author's Epicurus and His
Philosophy [see 1528-1535] (Minneapolis, 1954), rejecting the
usual associations between Paul and
Stoicism, aims "to spot the unacknowledged
adaptations of Epicurean teachings in the writings of Paul" and attempts to offer "more precise
translations and occasionally for the first time correct translations." ([page]
vi [St. Paul and Epicurus]).
Undoubtedly a person as well educated as St. Paul would be acquainted with the tenets of
competing and contemporary philosophies--both Epicurean and Stoic, and would refer to their teachings in his
writings. Also phraseology and argumentation similar to that of Epicureanism
might be expected from St. Paul, who
admits "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some"
(cf. 1 Cor. 9:20-23 [commonly, arrogant, stupid, propagandistic, verses, are
quoted, as major (hopefully, decisive) arguments]). But in the opinion of the
reviewer Professor DeWitt, who is no doubt a
leading scholar on Epicurus and his followers and who has made an excellent
contribution in his previous volume [Epicurus
and His Philosophy] and articles on
Epicureanism, has been carried away by his
enthusiasm to exaggerate the relationship between Paul and Epicurus in a number of instances, omitting
relevant evidence which does not harmonize with his main thesis....
The author knows Epicurus,
but does not demonstrate a similar comprehension of the New Testament
"Robert G. Hoerber
Westminster (Mo.) College" [134, 136].
[Note: Robert G. Hoerber, appears to be a Christian
from: The Phoenix, The Journal of the Classical Association
of Canada, Volume IX, 1955.
'St. Paul and Epicurus [see 1542-1551]. By
N.W. DeWitt. Toronto: Ryerson Press. 1954. Pp. vii, 201. ($4.00)
who have ventured into the field of New Testament
studies have frequently made contributions of the highest value, and no
one could be more eager than the present reviewer to see the old and fruitful
alliance between workers in these two areas renewed [if, supportive (LS)].
It is with the greatest disappointment, therefore,
that he ["present reviewer" (F.W. Beare)] must report that this book of Professor DeWitt's cannot be
taken seriously. DeWitt finds traces of Epicurus all over the place in
the writings of St. Paul; even such a word
as "peace," which clearly belongs to the Apostle's inheritance from the Old Testament, is treated as drawn from the
Certainly, he [N.W.
DeWitt] has not established a single clear case of words or ideas
borrowed from Epicureanism or shaped in
controversy with that school; the only one that has a semblance of plausibility
is that the Apostle's use of "the expedient"...[2 Greek words] in the sense of
"that which promotes the good of one's neighbour" is akin to the usage of
F.W. Beare' [90, 91].
[Note: F.W. Beare appears to be a prominent Christian
from: The Classical Review, Volume IX, 1959.
"Norman W. DeWitt: St.
Paul and Epicurus [see 1542-1551]. Pp. ix + 201. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press (London: Oxford University Press [?]), 1955.
Cloth, 32s. net.
[Note: the year was 1954 (not, 1955). I have not yet
found, other evidence, of an Oxford printing]
In this work Professor
DeWitt seeks to establish in detail the contention of his Epicurus and his Philosophy [see 1528-1535]
that Epicureanism formed a bridge from Greek
philosophy to Christianity....
The difficulty of such a
book is that those who wish to deny any but strictly 'Hebraic' influence on
N.T. writers will seize on its excesses of overstatement as proving the
impossibility of believing in 'Hellenic' influence
University of Durham J.B.
_____ _____ _____
Source: Combined Retrospective Index
to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974, 10 Volumes,
Research Publications, 1983. [Excellent source for reviews (Volume Three, source
for preceding reviews (1526-1527, 1536-1539))].
_____ _____ _____
another book, by Norman W. DeWitt: Ancient History, For High Schools, by Norman
W. DeWitt, Ph.D., Professor of Latin, Victoria College, University of Toronto,
Authorized by The Minister of Education for Ontario, Price 50 cents, Toronto,
The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1928 (c1927).
_____ _____ _____
another classical book, by Norman W. DeWitt: Demosthenes, VII, Funeral Speech, Erotic Essay LX,
LXI, Exordia and Letters, With an English Translation by Norman W.
DeWitt, Ph.D., Victoria College, University of Toronto, Canada, and Norman J.
DeWitt, Ph.D. [son of Norman W. DeWitt] Washington University, St. Louis,
Missouri, Cambridge Massachusetts, Harvard University Press; London, William
Heinemann Ltd, MCMLXII (1949).
"The Apostle Paul and
RELIGION WE CALL CHRISTIANITY IS ACTUALLY A VERY ECLECTIC WORLD-VIEW, HAVING
BEEN DRAWN FROM SEVERAL MAJOR SOURCES.
In addition to Zoroastrianism and the Hellenistic mystery religions, there was the
profound influence of Greek philosophy. There
is, for example, a connection between the
logos of Heraclitus and the logos (Word) of the Book of
In the first five Christian centuries, it was
neo-Platonic [see 1591] philosophy
[? (for example: "Neoplatonism [see 1524]. The philosophical system
of *Plotinus (c. 205-70) and his successors." (Ox. Dict. C.C.))]
[I e-mailed the author, with reactions. No response
that had the most impact on the development of a
systematic Christian theology. Undoubtedly the most significant element of this
synthesis was the acceptance of Greek
humanism by thinkers such as first Justin
Martyr and then later Thomas
Aquinas and Erasmus.
Outside of the logos
doctrine of John, scholarly work on the influences of Greek philosophy on the
New Testament writers is not widely known or appreciated. David L.
Balch's book Let Wives Be Submissive contains the
proposal that Aristotle's
[384 - 322 B.C.E.] ethics is behind the views expressed
in 1 Pet. 2:11-3:12. The most interesting
work, however, is Norman W. DeWitt's book
St. Paul and Epicurus. It is DeWitt's thesis that the philosophy of Epicurus,
although never explicitly mentioned, is Paul's main target in his epistles.
Lactantius, a Christian
writer living in the third century, claimed that those who followed the
philosophy of Epicurus were the largest constituents of pagan belief, much
larger than the Mithraists, the Stoics, the Skeptics, or the
neo-Platonists. The Epicureans were especially strong in Asia Minor,
the [supposed] center of Paul's missionary
efforts. Epicurean schools were found in Lampsacus, Mytilene, Bithynia,
Colophon close to Ephesus.
Paul's home city Tarsus was
ruled by Epicureans in the second century B.C.E.; and Epicureanism was the court
philosophy of the notorious Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes (174-167
B.C.E.). Their main tools were textbooks and
manuals, many of which a well-educated Hellenistic Jew like Paul would have undoubtedly read. Like Paul, Epicurus composed many epistles to his friends,
admonishing them and making the correct doctrine clear.
Scholars have known for a long time that Paul's Greek vocabulary differs substantially from that of
the Gospel writers. The following words [in
Paul] are used rarely, if not at all, by
the Gospel writers, but were standard words in Epicurean texts: ....
Although there are no
direct references to Epicurus [in Paul], DeWitt has
gathered an impressive list of allusions that are in his opinion unmistakable in
their indication. Here are just some of them: ....
Ultimately the philosophies
of these two figures [Epicurus,
and, St. Paul] diverge radically [see below]. Although Paul uses Epicurean terminology concerning peace
of mind and related concepts, the two ways to blessedness are quite different.
Epicurus thought that happiness in this
life could be achieved by any person using right reason. Paul of course
believed that humans could not possibly save themselves and that faith in
Jesus Christ was the only medium for human
salvation." [1,2,4] [End of essay].
["of course" not uncommon to
encounter radical (and "of course"--lesser) divergences between parents and offspring,
teachers and students, et al.] [see 1508, 1514, 1533; etc.].
from: St. Paul [Fictional character! "d. prob. AD
62-5" (Ox. Dict. C.C.)] and Epicurus [c.
341 - 271 B.C.E.], Norman Wentworth DeWitt, University of Minnesota Press,
c1954. [found in a San Diego bookstore, 1/1/2001. Prompted, what is now,
Addition 34 [see 1644]].
St. Paul and
by Norman W.
Everyone who is interested in the meaning of the Bible
will find this a revealing study, for it opens up a new
window on the New Testament, a window that
was walled up centuries ago by prejudice. Professor DeWitt throws new light on the writings of the
Apostle Paul by showing how they were influenced by the teachings of the Greek
That Epicureanism could
have a place in Christian religion may come as a surprise to those familiar with
the conventional concept of the philosophy of Epicurus. As demonstrated
in the meaning of the English word epicure,
derived from the name of the ancient philosopher, the modern world has long
associated Epicurus with the indulgence of sensual pleasure in food and drink.
But, as Professor DeWitt makes clear both in this volume
and in its predecessor, Epicurus and His Philosophy [c1954] [see
1528-1535], the pleasures which the ancient Greek espoused as constituting the
chief good of life were not the pleasures of the flesh. The merit and the lure,
however, of the Epicurean ethic, which allied happiness with pleasure, were so
appealing and so widely acknowledged that Paul had no choice but to adopt it and bless it
for his followers with the sanction of religion. He could not, though, admit
indebtedness to a philosopher who had long been accused of sensualism and
atheism, and there was no choice, therefore, but to consign Epicurus to
Through his scholarly investigation into the Epicurean
source of certain portions of the Epistles, Professor DeWitt provides new explanations or translations
for 76 biblical verses. The close scrutiny of biblical passages is
carried out, not in a spirit of vandalism, but in a quest for accuracy, and the
result is a challenging, readable, and absorbing book.
Since his retirement from the University of Toronto,
Professor DeWitt has established permanent residence at Lincoln, Illinois.
University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis" [dust jacket].
'Peace and Safety'
Jesus [a Fictional character], began his
ministry, if one may so write, about the age of thirty, and it may be
added that he exhibited an aggressiveness comparable to that of Jesus in
cleansing the temple. For his first venture as a public teacher his choice fell
upon Mytilene, a thriving city on the island of Lesbos. There he quickly exasperated the local
philosophers, who were Platonists, by denouncing their whole program of
education, and especially rhetoric, which was
in high demand as preparing young men for a public career and for this reason
jealously guarded as the money-making branch of the curriculum.
These enemies retaliated by accusing Epicurus of
impiety, which was treason under Greek law and punishable by death; they prodded
the civil authorities into action and incited the rabble against him. So vicious became the threat to his life that the sole way
of escape was flight by ship in wintry seas.
By good luck he arrived safely at the refuge of his
choice, the city of Lampsacus on the Hellespont, now the Dardanelles; but
on the way he was in danger of death by exposure or
of capture by pirates, and he narrowly escaped shipwreck. This painful
experience was taken to heart. Never again did he
Instead he took the determination to confine himself to
peaceful methods and even prescribed rules of safety for his followers in his
Authorized Doctrines. Thus the words Peace and safety became catch-words of his
sect and unless we are aware of this fact we shall fail to recognize
the meaning of Paul in First Thessalonians
5:3: "For when they shall say Peace and Safety, then sudden destruction cometh
upon them." This version, however, leaves something to be desired; it would be
more accurate to read: "For at the very time that the words Peace and Safety are
on their lips, sudden destruction is hanging over them."' .
"Epicurus was born
in Asia and even the Greek he wrote was not the pure Attic. His birthplace was
the island of Samos, where he received his early and secondary education and
lived to the age of eighteen. For ten years he was afterward domiciled with his
parents and three brothers at Colophon, except for intervals of schooling,
mainly at the neighboring Teos. These three places are all close to Ephesus and it was in
this region that Epicurus wrestled with the problems of the nature of things and
of human conduct; it was there he experienced his illuminations and
kneaded his philosophy into a coherent whole. After
becoming famous he [Epicurus] visited
the region two or three times and composed an epistle
addressed To the Friends in Asia."
[Note: much of the above, is reminiscent of
The present study is a
sequel to the author's Epicurus and His
Philosophy [c1954] and it aims at
making good the thesis there enunciated that Epicureanism functioned as a bridge
of transition from Greek philosophy to the Christian religion. It is
hoped by this means to have opened up a new window on
the New Testament, a window walled up by
prejudice long centuries ago....
we shall find that the most
beloved devotional readings in the Epistles of Paul exhibit the greatest
influence of the friendly Epicurus." [v].
"Epicurus had set the fashion for expounding doctrine in the
form of an epistle. One of these writings bore the title To the Friends in
Asia and was in circulation for three
centuries before Paul composed his Epistle with the inscription To the Saints Which Are in Ephesus.
Long before the
congregations organized by Paul began to assemble in private houses to
perpetuate the memory of Jesus the Christ, innumerable colonies of the disciples
of Epicurus had been accustomed to meet in private houses to perpetuate the
memory of their founder, whom they revered as the discoverer of truth and a
savior. Epicurus, according to the records, had
so ordered it, just as we are informed that Jesus did.
The ability to follow the
trail of these hidden parallelisms and to spot the
unacknowledged adaptations of Epicurean teachings in the writings of Paul is the
sole advantage to be claimed by the author of this study over other
scholars. The process of detection, when once the clues have been
identified, will not be difficult; one discovery will ease the way to another
and in the end the total number of appropriated teachings may prove to be
Among the immediate rewards will be more precise
translations and occasionally for the first time correct translations.
It was the first intention
of the author to entitle this study Epicurus and the
New Testament but it speedily became apparent that the Pauline writings
called for treatment apart from the Gospels." [vi].
"The human factor must...be reckoned with; the
philosophy of Epicurus was animated by a characteristic spirit, genial and
reasonable and yet resolute, and to capture this spirit will demand a change of
attitude, which is not to be accomplished overnight.
In the present study all questions of scholarship
concerning the authenticity of certain Epistles have been ignored as unessential
to the problem of Epicurean influence. In general the endeavor has been made to
hold the exposition at the level of the educated layman, for whom the source
material would neither be available nor usable. Those readers who will find profit in footnotes are
referred to the preceding volume, Epicurus and His
Philosophy [c1954]." [vii].
"THE READER MUST...KNOW HOW PAUL'S LETTERS ARE PUT TOGETHER.
THEY ARE COMPOSED ACCORDING TO A GOOD GREEK FORMULA, WHICH WAS RECOGNIZED AND
RECOMMENDED BY ARISTOTLE [384 - 322 B.C.E.]. If from each Epistle
the salutation and concluding messages be lopped off, the body of the letter will be seen to consist of three
parts, a beginning, middle, and end.
 The beginning
is conciliatory: Paul compliments the
community for its faith or for its kindness to him in the past. This is the bid
for good will and a sympathetic hearing, well known to rhetoricians as the captatio benevolentiae.  The middle part contains warnings, expositions
of doctrine, and scoldings, if any, which might possibly try the good will and
patience of readers.  The concluding
passage is reserved for friendly admonition and exhortation.
This happens to be a good
Epicurean pattern. The same formula is employed by the Epicurean poet
Lucretius [c. 99 - 55 B.C.E.]." [21-22].
'If now a moment may be spared for a rapid survey,
we shall have discovered Paul to be reasoning at
times after the fashion of Epicurus; we shall have observed the employment of
certain words that are peculiar to the vocabularies of Epicurus and
Paul; we shall have found several topics to have been illuminated for
us by citation of the teachings of Epicurus; and in particular, we shall have
found the euphonious verse beginning "whatsoever things are true" to be
completely redeemed from its present vagueness by knowledge of Epicurean
One item of information may also be mentioned for future
reflection: Paul seems to display far too
much affinity with the cheerful and friendly Epicureans to have ever been enamored of the
censorious Stoics, who revered as their
founder "the sour and scowling Zeno."' .
"The attitude of Paul toward Epicureanism may perhaps be better appreciated if
we call attention to the behavior of the Stoics. By
the time of Marcus Aurelius [Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)] they
incorporated so much of Epicureanism into
their teachings that the guileless emperor in his Meditations is not even aware when he is voicing the
precepts of the anonymous philosopher. Often only
the label is Stoic. Epicurus was doomed to anonymity, as in the New Testament.
The modern Christian is no more aware than was Marcus Aurelius of his invisible
indebtedness to the kindly philosophy of a man [Epicurus] whom
history has treated with gross injustice." [86-87] [End of chapter V].
"It is tempting to make a comparison of the two [Epicurus, and, Paul]. Some modern Plutarch might discern in such a project an
enticing opportunity to produce a new specimen of Parallel Lives. Both men were celibates on
principle, and dubious of the blessings of wedlock. Both men were afflicted by
ill health and yet both were capable of more labor than robust individuals. Both
had a way of picking up faithful followers: during his brief sojourn in Mytilene
Epicurus picked up Hermarchus, who lived
with him ever afterward and became his successor as head of the school; in like
manner Paul picked up Timothy at Lystra,
who shared all his subsequent labors. Both men demanded and commanded loyalty of
all converts and went to all lengths to retain it. Epicurus was bent upon
proclaiming to all men the call to the happy life; Paul was bent upon awakening all men to the call
of the cross, even if it meant persecution. Both men were agile fencers with the
rapiers of logic and both erected coherent structures of doctrine.
An amusing item of similarity between the two is the
gift of persuasive speech...." .
"Paul" (see #4, 105; 1546) modelled, in part, on Epicurus?].
"Of less importance, though helpful in any understanding
of Paul's mind and its working, is his
conformance with the Epicurean practice of
concluding with a paean of victory over death.
Lastly, we have found Paul throughout his argument adopting the
procedures of his competitor, even to the extent of appealing to Nature as a
source of truth and incorporating Epicurean ideas in his paean of victory. This
phenomenon was destined to repeat itself. The
African churchmen Arnobius and Lactantius create the impression in the minds of
informed readers of knowing their Epicureanism at least as well as their
Bibles."  [End of chapter VII].
"We shall...attain a higher degree of clarity if we
observe that in the Old Testament we are
dealing with a jealous God and a vengeful God....
This idea of jealous and
vengeful gods was merely one item in a comprehensive controversy over the nature
of divine beings that flourished throughout the three centuries preceding the
times of Jesus and Paul. No better evidence of the existence of this
controversy need be cited than the fact that Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] published a major work
entitled On the Nature of
the Gods. Cicero's voice was never one to be heard crying in the
wilderness; no topic was attractive to him until other men had created a market
for his views. To illustrate: Epicurus had
derided all prophecy [see 1502] [note
extensive prophecy in the New Testament, (preponderantly) derived and reworked,
from the Old Testament, which also, of course, had its antecedents (for
prophecy, see: Ox. Dict. C.C.; Dict. Bible, McKenzie, 1965; etc.)]; Cicero treated the topic under the heading of Divination.
If reference to conditions in Rome may seem at first
sight somewhat farfetched and surprising, we need to be reminded that Rome, even before the Christian era, was part of the market
for Greek books and learning. What may well be more surprising, it had become a center of production for Greek
books. For example, the writings of the Epicurean physician Asclepiades, who was admired by Cicero himself, were vigorously attacked by the
last great medical writer of antiquity, Galen, whose home was in Asia. There is also
reason for suspecting that the views of this Asclepiades on diet and the use of
wine for the sick were known to Luke and
Distinctly more significant for the purposes of the
present inquiry were the writings of the Epicurean Philodemus, who also enjoyed the respect of
Cicero. Though he was writing in Rome, the
market for his publications extended eastward over the whole domain of Greek
culture. Some of his writings were certainly known to Paul and this may well be true of three volumes
composed by him under the title On the Gods, still
extant in ampler fragments than is usual." [139-140].
"We have found Paul to be
capable of thinking and writing in four ways: first, as a Jew with
orthodox training in childhood; second, as
a man of Greek education with liberal tendencies; third, as a pupil of Gamaliel; and lastly, as an individual, a man transformed by a
singular and explosive religious experience." . [See: 1545].
Interim and Recognition
It is an astonishing fact--and the earnest student of
the New Testament will profit by learning
to live with it--that the passages of Paul's
Epistles which we most prefer as devotional readings exhibit the most influence
Among the foremost of these is the hymn to love, the
thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. It falls into two parts: the first seven verses are a unit, as also the
last six. The theme of the first unit is brotherly
love, which, like faith and hope, should prevail on earth; the theme of
the second unit is divine love, which is eternal and will prevail in
"Paul is a man of
visions and he cannot but think of the religious experience in terms of
vivid sensory experiences, vivid even to the degree of explosiveness. It is this
bent of his mind that makes him so partial to the word recognition and the
concept behind it. He takes this over from the public thought of his day but he extends it to
meet the necessities of his own structure of doctrine. The experience of the
resurrection is inevitably prefigured in terms of his own explosive experience
on the road to Damascus." .
'A last note is due on the
phenomenon of RECOGNITION. No
less in literature than in ancient philosophy and psychology it played a leading
role, especially when the effect was heightened by suspense and surprise. In the
drama the most gripping of all scenes were those in which a concealed identity
was revealed at last, as when Oedipus was
discovered by his own research to have been the murderer of his own father.
In the whole of the Greek drama, however,
no recognition scene can be found which for concentrated power of
passion and surprise is the superior of that
described in the unpretentious narrative of Luke, Acts 9:1-9, where Paul, prostrate and blinded, hears the words from
heaven: "I am Jesus, whom thou
Here in the brief space of a single paragraph we have
before us in unique combination the highest essentials of the tragic drama and no less the kindred religious
experience of spiritual discovery and
[165-166] [End of chapter IX].
'One of the first writings
of Epicurus was an encyclopedic work in thirty-seven rolls entitled On the Nature of Things. This would have made
a volume of perhaps fifteen hundred pages
if printed in the type and format of the Revised Standard New Testament. It was speedily supplemented by
what came to be called the Big Epitome, in seven
rolls, which would make a book of half the size of the Revised Standard
New Testament. This Epitome was
supplemented in turn by a Little Epitome,
which is still extant as a letter addressed to
Herodotus. It runs to twenty-five pages of
Thus we have the titles of three writings of Epicurus
covering the same ground but we are able to identify the level of knowledge
presumed by Paul in his readers as
corresponding to the Big Epitome. We are
able to infer this because we know that Epicurus set up three criteria of truth,
Sensations, Feelings, and Anticipations,
and of these only the Sensations find mention in
Paul's Epistles, as in Colossians
2:18: "taking his stand on what he has seen, puffed up without justification by
the mind of the flesh." This is precisely what we find in the poem of the
Roman poet Lucretius, who reproduced in Latin the
Big Epitome; he dwells upon the Sensations as criteria but offers no
exposition of the other two. There is another item of evidence pointing in the
same direction. When Paul in the verse
quoted above ["Colossians 2:18"] speaks of "the mind of the flesh," this refers plainly to the doctrine of Epicurus
that the mind is an organ of the body no less than the eyes or the ears, which
is emphasized by Lucretius while not
explicitly stated in the Little Epitome.' [170-171].
the topic of contentment
with little we are informed
by Cicero "that no one had more to say about it than Epicurus [see 1615]." He must have discussed it in
various writings but all that is left to us, beyond some isolated sayings, is
the charming letter to the lad Menoeceus,
which his ancient biographer chose for quotation out of more than three hundred
rolls. Other affiliations of this letter with Paul's Epistle to Timothy have been mentioned
elsewhere in this study, but here it is worth repeating that both letters
with little with reverence
for the divine being and in the letter
[to Menoeceus] of Epicurus we find the exhortation that Paul expresses in an identical context of thought
in Philippians 4:8: "think on these
We shall also gain something by observing that this
letter of Epicurus to Menoeceus deserves
to rank as the most fascinating specimen extant of the kind of writing known to
the Greeks as protreptic, that is, exhortation to the study of philosophy as the guide of
life. Now this style of writing, it is needless
to say, was indispensable to Christianity as a missionary creed, and Paul alone
among the apostles possessed the necessary training for it [see:
Ecclesiastical Corporation, #4, 123]. All the change that was needed was
transposition of his tone to another key, which Paul was amply qualified to make. The protreptic or hortatory tone pervades all his ["Paul"] writings and it is expressly designated in
this Epistle to Timothy, 6:2: "These things teach and exhort," as it reads in the
King James Version.
Thus we observe an
attitude, a complex of ideas, and even a terminology that is common to Paul with
Epicurus. Each item of this common store, taken by itself, may be discounted as
a mere possibility, but the sum of mere possibilities
can add up to certainty.' .
The forty Authorized
Doctrines of Epicurus constituted the most notorious brief piece of writing in
ancient times. Scholars have translated the title in a variety of ways,
such as Principal Doctrines, Sovran Maxims, and the like. In this study they are
called Authorized Doctrines, partly for
the reason that the shrewd judgment of Cicero so appraised them, but chiefly for the
reason that the author [Epicurus] encouraged his disciples to commit them to
The teachings of Epicurus
were well known to Paul and to multitudes of people in his day. A few
of the more outstanding examples are here appended...." .
"The Letter to
Paul shows himself familiar
with the letter to Menoeceus, which is the best specimen extant of the writings
of Epicurus. It belongs in the class known as protreptic or hortatory,
urging the study of philosophy as the guide of life. It was no more intended for the exclusive instruction of
Menoeceus than the Epistles to Timothy were intended for his exclusive
Epicurus to Menoeceus: Greetings. ...."
'Think on these
Meditate therefore by day
and by night upon these precepts and upon the others that go with these, whether
by yourself or in the company of another like yourself, and never will
your soul be in turmoil either sleeping or waking but you will be living like a
god among men, for in no wise does a man resemble a mortal creature who lives
among immortal blessings."'  [End of Appendix].
Explained or Translated
|[17:18: "Epicurean and Stoic|
philosophers" (see 1525)]
|[18:12-17: Gallio, brother of Seneca|
(see 1584, 1586, 1588, 1595)]
||58, 63-64, 154 |
||12, 160, 163|
||138, 160 |
||32, 57 |
||14, 99-103 |
||19, 72, 177-79 |
||24, 184 |
||19, 34-37, 81, 135 |
||12, 64 |
||77-78, 79-80, 111, 171 |
||38, 41 |
||7-9, 41-42 |
from: The Island of the Innocent, A Novel of Greek and Jew
in the times of the Maccabees, Vardis Fisher, "He shall deliver the island of the innocent"--Job, Abelard Press, c1952. [See: 1377-1408,
1473-1484 (Vardis Fisher (Biography 1407-1408))].
No experience has been more rewarding for me than the
reading of a great many books on the subjects of ancient Judaism and Christianity by both Jewish and
non-Jewish scholars. For one thing, it has been
amazing to observe how widely scholars can vary in their conclusions who examine
the same materials. For another thing, it
has been a lesson in intolerance. Though it is true, as Prof. Lake has said, that it is the "general tendency of ecclesiastical scholarship to consult
the records of the past only to find the reflections of its own
features"; though it is true, as Cumont has said, that "preconceived notions are
always the most serious obstacles to an exact knowledge of the
past"; it is also true, as Prof. Rylaarsdam reminds us, that the "co-operation of
Jewish and Christian scholars is one of the happy phenomena of our time." That
is a great deal to have won.
In an effort to see, not a
reflection of my features but the truth, I have read all the ablest
Jewish scholars available to me, including Abrahams, Baron, Bentwich, Dembitz, Ginsberg, Graetz,
Greenstone, Finkelstein, Kohler, Lauterback, Loewe, Marcus, Margolis,
Montefiore, Schechter, Waxman, Zeitlin, and others. Of course I do not
quote in the following Notes 'scholars', either Jew or gentile, who are merely
special pleaders....' .
'EPICURUS [c. 341
- 271 B.C.E.] Few great men have been so traduced. The typical Christian
attitude is that of the Catholic historian Duchesne. But Dill: "...a profoundly religious mind, to whom
personal immortality is not a necessity of
his religion." Thilly: "...not a doctrine
of sensuality." W. Walker: "in his own
life he was an ascetic." James: "The
dictum 'eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die' is a travesty of the
Epicurean philosophy." W.M. Macdonald:
"...must be acquitted of the charge of sensuality." Case: "...a brilliant exception to the general run
of men in that he ventured to withstand religion to her face. Other people were
terrified by the story of the gods, by thunderbolts, and the roar of the
electric storm. But these things only gave him fresh courage, filling him with a
desire to burst the fast bars of nature's portals and bring to men a knowledge
of the perfectly natural character of all physical phenomena." C.H. Moore: "The noble resignation, the high moral and
humane zeal, which characterized the Epicurean school at its best..." Hunkin: "The main purpose of Epicurus was to
deliver men from fear, especially fear of the gods and of life after death."
Oates: "sought...to rid men from certain
besetting fears..." Norton: "aimed to free
men from superstitious fear." Bevan: "We
have never been thoroughly frightened; the ancient world was frightened.
...There is no point upon which the ancient followers of Epicurus pour out their
gratitude to their Master more ecstatically than that he had delivered them from
religion, from all the terrors of the Beyond." Enslin: "to every Jew an abomination"--but not to
Hellenic Jews. Bentwich: "The hostility of Judaism toward...Epicurus"--a hostility
which Christianity inherited.'
 [End of entry].
called it not a religion but a misfortune; whatever it is, scholars find it
difficult to write objectively on this subject....
Breasted: "In the ancient East monotheism [related to
monarchism] was but imperialism in
As to its [Judaism] origen, Goldziher: "GENESIS...A MERE LITERARY CREATION." Driver: "their beliefs about the origin and early
history of the world, their social usages, their code of civil and criminal law,
their religious institutions, can no longer be viewed as differing in kind from
those of other nations...all, as is now known, have substantial analogies among
other peoples." McCown: "Their laws,
including some of their most highly ethical elements, were to be found, even
with improvements, in the Code of Hammurabi [see 1471-1472; etc.]. Their ideals of
the universal justice of God, of his disregard, even hatred, of wealth and
power, and of his care for the poor, the orphan, the widow had already been
proclaimed in Egypt or Babylonia or both, long before the birth of
Abraham."' [426-427 [End of entry].
from: Philo [Philo of Alexandria 13 B.C.E. - 45-50
C.E.] and the Church
Fathers, A Collection of Papers, David T. Runia, Brill, 1995.
|"Supplements to |
Formerly Philosophia Patrum
Texts and Studies of
Early Christian Life
J. Den Boeft--R. Van
Den Broek--A.F.J. Klijn
and the Beginnings
University of Utrecht " ["1"].
"The difficulty of determining the role that Philo played at the beginning of Christian thought
and the widely divergent answers that are given to this question result from the
fact that a conflict can very easily arise between an historical and a
systematic approach to the question. As I observed earlier, the Philonic corpus was saved from total destruction by the
efforts of the early Christians [see 1558]. It would seem obvious, to
start with an investigation into the preservation and reception of Philo's works
in this tradition. The first step then must be to distinguish between A  DIRECT AND AN  INDIRECT LINE OF TRANSMISSION. The direct line is the more easily dealt with. Philo [13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.] is first explicitly mentioned and cited by Clement of
Alexandria [c. 150 - 211-215], who
appropriates large sections of his writings.36 After that he is referred to in a large number of
Patristic authors. The dissemination of Philonic
ideas in Patristic authors is greater than is often thought. But here
too there are considerable problems. Very often direct citations are not a very
sound guide to the way sources are exploited in Patristic works. An extreme case is furnished
by of Ambrose [339 - 397], who uses Philo
on about 600 occasions--often in a way that we would regard as plagiarism--, but
only refers to him on a single occasion.37
But it is not very likely that all these fathers made a
direct and intensive study of Philo's works. Another possibility is that his
ideas were transmitted in an indirect manner. This occurs especially via
the Alexandrian tradition of Clement, Origen and Didymus, and to a lesser degree via the works of
the brothers Basil and Gregory of Nyssa,
which were later extensively read in Byzantium. Above all Origen's great (but lost) Commentary on Genesis is thought to have played a
central role in the appropriation and transmission of certain Philonic
philosophical themes in the exegetical tradition.38 IT IS A REMARKABLE
AND LITTLE OBSERVED ASPECT OF BOTH THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN
EXEGETICAL TRADITION THAT NAMES OF INDIVIDUAL EXEGETES ARE SELDOM
MENTIONED, in marked contrast to the Rabbinic tradition, but also to that of the
Platonist commentators, where names of
predecessors occur on almost every page.39
THIS MEANS THAT LATER INTERPRETERS OFTEN HAD NO
IDEA OF THE ACTUAL ORIGIN OF IDEAS THAT THEY REPORT AND UTILIZE....
Now, if the difficulties we face were confined to the
unravelling of a direct and an indirect
tradition, then matters would still be reasonably under control. But
there is a further complication. Before we reach Clement there are a number of early Christian
writers who do not mention by [sic] Philo
by name, and whose writings do not allow us to prove beyond all reasonable doubt
that they had read his books. Yet they do mention themes that are so closely
related to Philonic thought that some kind of relationship cannot possibly be
denied.41 The same
can be said--with all due caution--of the New Testament.42 For this reason I am compelled to propose a third tradition, which I call THE  BROADER OR GENERAL
TRADITION. This third line of transmission is caused by the fact
that Philo was without doubt the greatest and
best-known exponent of Hellenistic-Jewish thought, but he did not stand
alone. The anonymity of the exegetical
tradition means that he [Philo] is
indebted to a broader current of thought, which also exercised an
influence outside the direct line of his works.43 Because this rich
literature has almost entirely disappeared, we are unable to reconstruct its
precise contours, and are left guessing as to the influence it may have
What should one do in this situation? If I take only the
direct and indirect line of transmission, I will be leaving out of consideration
a number of important stimuli for the appropriation of explicitly Philonic
material in the subsequent tradition. On the other hand I cannot simply
attribute the broader tradition to Philo, not only because this would be
irresponsible from the historical point of view, but also because it would then
be easy to lose sight of what is specifically Philonic. The solution which I tentatively suggest this afternoon is
the distinction between Philo and Philonism. Philo, we have seen, is
the most important and most vital representative of a wider movement, in which
the biblical tradition was first brought in direct contact with the
philosophical thought that was developed in Greek culture. In actual fact this movement ["Philonism"] goes back at least as far as the translators of the
Septuagint [apparently, 3rd-2nd centuries B.C.E. (Ox. Dict. C.C.)]. They made
various striking choices, which certainly would have been different without the
philosophical tradition in the background, as for example in the case of the
divine name...[1 + 2, Greek letters] (he who is).44 It is on account of
this wider background that I have adopted the term Philonism, and not the name
Philo, in the title of my address.
We now finally return to our question, now posed in a
slightly modified form: to what extent did
Philonism play an important role in the development of early Christian
thought? It is possible in my view to give
at least four answers to this question. It goes without saying that these can
now only be presented and discussed in very general terms...." [9-12].
"Epithets indicating connections with philosophical schools
[Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - 211-215]
Before looking at particular examples, we must first
address a preliminary question. What do terms such
as 'Pythagorean' and 'Peripatetic' refer
to? Here there is an important distinction that needs to be made.
In the first place such terms will very often indicate
membership of or affiliation to a...philosophical 'school' or, perhaps
better, 'school of thought'.28 In Clement's time
[Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - 211-215], as is well known, philosophers were
generally identified by their allegiance
to one of the rival 'schools' that went back to the earlier period of the Greek
philosophical tradition. These 'schools' scarcely existed in the institutional
sense to which we are accustomed....
One could also be 'affiliated' with...a 'school of
thought' without teaching philosophy professionally. Here we think of
men such as Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.], who
regarded himself as an 'Academic', the
'Platonist' Plutarch [c. 46 - after 119 C.E.], the 'Stoic' Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], and so on. Such
membership could be projected into the distant past, e.g. Empedocles [c. 490 - 430 B.C.E.] could be called
'the Pythagorean' because he came from Western Greece, was thought to have been
a pupil of Pythagoras [c. 580 - c. 500
B.C.E.], and maintained similar doctrines (e.g. reincarnation).30
It is also possible, however, to use these terms in a
different sense, to indicate not a membership of or an affiliation to a 'school of thought', but rather an affinity to the thought of...." [61-62].
[the above, will serve as a reminder: descriptions such as Epicurean, Stoic, etc., until proven
otherwise, should be interpreted as: "affinity to the thought
Relax rigidity! (see 1601 ("not as a rigid
from: Philo of Alexandria [c. 13 B.C.E. - 45-50
C.E.], an Introduction, Samuel Sandmel
[1911 - 1979], Oxford, 1979.
'The Roman historians stress that Egypt in general and
Alexandria in particular were hotbeds of both resentment against Rome and
rebelliousness. That Egypt was ruled by a prefect subject not to the Roman
Senate but to the Emperor himself reflects the Roman anxiety about the stability
of the Roman rule there. Culturally, Alexandria and
its eminence challenged the supremacy of Rome. Politically, there
existed some adversary presumptions between Alexandria and Rome. In the areas in
which Rome was suspicious of Alexandria, the Jews of Alexandria were an
additional factor of Roman disquietude. In other words, Rome had its problems with Alexandria. The Jews there constituted a complication to those
community [in Alexandria] in
Philo's time was immense, outnumbering the Jewish population of Judea.
Philo (Flaccus 43) speaks of the Jewish population of Egypt
as more than a million. Modern demographers do not fully accept this figure but
are agreed that the population was huge.8
Philo [c. 13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.] speaks of the many synagogues that existed in
Alexandria. Rabbinic tradition mentions a sort of "great synagogue" of
great size and luxury, but this may be only legendary.9
Were the Jews of Alexandria "Alexandrians?" What was
their political status before Egypt became Roman? What was it after? Answers to
such important questions are elusive, for the sources provide neither full nor
clear information.' [6-7].
'....the documents which he [Josephus c. 37 - c. 100 C.E.] provides elsewhere
(especially in Antiquities, Book XIV) are not
taken at face value by many modern scholars, especially by Victor Tcherikover.12 [see footnote, 1563] That there is "forgery" in the
documents, or that whole documents are forgeries, is a frequent though contested
conclusion among scholars. If there was indeed
forgery, it might have been present already in the documents Josephus quotes, or
he himself may have been the forger. Tcherikover's conclusion respecting
Jews of Alexandria is negative, that is, Jews did not possess fullest equality
in the matter of civil rights, despite the term isopoliteia which Josephus used.' .
Tcherikover 1894 - 1958] reasonable conclusion is that it was habitual
rather than strictly legal for Jews to abstain from the worship of Greek gods, and from regarding the emperor as a
god....Except in the case of Gaius
Caligula [Emperor 37 - 41 C.E. (12 - 41)],
Jews seem to have had no difficulties in abstaining from emperor
"We must balance the circumstance that he [Philo] was not a writer for the masses with the
fact that a great abundance of what he wrote was copied and preserved. Philo's writings were preserved and
transmitted by Christians, not by Jews.24 His legacy of writings was lost to
JEWS (who HAVE PRESERVED FROM THAT AGE ONLY MATERIALS IN HEBREW OR
ARAMAIC AND NONE AT ALL IN GREEK [reflect on the (Greek) New
Certainly at various stages in the early Christian
centuries there were those who thought Philo was worth preserving. In his own
time, were his followers a large group, or a small one--indeed, no more than a
coterie of fellow intellectuals? We simply do not know....
There is very little of significant accidental
inconsistency in Philo. Repetitious and prone to digression though he was,
Philo can nevertheless be credited with the ability to control his material; he is
never controlled by it." [14-15].
'There is universal
agreement among scholars that the Greek culture reflected in Philo is both broad
and penetrating, the result of reading and study in intensity and depth. He
quotes some fifty-four classical authors directly and accurately.
His Greek is the koine [koine,
reportedly (see Adolf Gustav Deissmann 1866 - 1937; et al.), is the Greek of the New
Testament], but it is in the pretentious imitation of Athens that this
is customarily called Atticistic.
Philo's content, even when it is Scripture he is
explaining and Judaism he is defending, is always Grecian, except in one matter.
In the mechanics of Philo's use of allegory--to which we presently turn--Philo
gives us the translation into Greek of the
Hebrew names of biblical personalities....But apart from the etymologies of the
biblical names, virtually everything else in Philo is thoroughly Grecian.
Perhaps one might put things in the following way: Philo's basic religious ideas are Jewish, his intuitions
Jewish, and his loyalties Jewish, but his explanations of ideas, intuitions, and
devotions are invariably Greek. Scripture has its array of prophets,
and Philo "believes" in prophecy; when Philo explains what prophecy is and how
it works, his [Philo] exposition
comes from Plato [c. 428 -
348-347 B.C.E.].' .
'The more one works in
Philo, the stronger is apt to arise the suspicion that the account of
the Therapeutae is hardly one of restrained, accurate reporting [?
(see above: "Philo can....")]. In recent
years a variety of "communes" have arisen, and comparable idealization has
seemed to me present in the glowing reports I have heard or read on the part of
participants, and especially on the part of would-be participants.' .
'Philo now feels
called upon to comment on the circumstance that he and the other Alexandrian Jews utilized not the original
Hebrew [Hebrew Bible] (PHILO SAYS
"CHALDEAN" [note: this reference to
'"Chaldean"', is very stirring]), but the translation into Greek
[a Greek version, of a
Hebrew version [see: Encyc. Religion, 1987, Vol. 2, 152-173; etc.] [consider
possible influences of possible versions, in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, other
languages?, dialects?], regarded as a
Septuagint version ("Septuagintal type" (see 1562))].
How, in view of the defects
usually inherent in a translation, could the Mosaic Laws as found in the Greek be regarded as firm, unshaken, and
immovable? Philo answers the question by repeating the substance of the account
of the origin of the Greek translation as
related in The Letter of Aristeas [see 1562]. Philo offers some embellishment of his own. The
account in The Letter of Aristeas tells that Demetrios of Phaleron, the librarian, had lamented
to Ptolemy Philadelphus [see #24, 494]
that the great library at Alexandria [see #24, 534-540, 545] lacked the
Pentateuch ["Five Books of Moses"
(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) (see 1562)]. With the
sanction of Ptolemy Philadelphus, Demetrios had invited to Alexandria
seventy-two priests of Jerusalem who knew Greek as fluently as they knew Hebrew. In Philo's version,34 Demetrios
goes unmentioned [see 1562]; the credit is
ascribed solely to the Ptolemy. Also, in Philo's version, the translators found
a suitable isolated place on the island of Pharos. Gathered there, they held the
sacred books in hands stretched out to heaven, asking God that they not fail in
their purpose. Then, "they became as it were possessed and, under
inspiration,35 wrote, not each scribe something
different, but the same word for word, as though dictated by an invisible
prompter." As a result, "if Chaldeans have learned
Greek, or Greeks Chaldean, and read both versions...they regard them with awe
and reverence as sisters....[They] speak of the
authors not as translators but as prophets and priests and prophets of the
"12 Philo and
'One motif of great significance in Hellenistic Judaism
and Hellenistic Christianity is that of "wisdom." WE HAVE SEEN
THAT PHILO'S LOGOS [see 1561, 1564] IDEA HAS A DUAL ANCESTRY, THE JEWISH HOKMA AND THE GREEK SOPHIA.2 In
recent scholarship, both in Old and New
Testament, there has been a high emphasis on the "wisdom" tradition,
and a vast literature now exists.3 A range of
related ideas had come into being which utilized biblical passages, such as
Prov. 8: 22-31, to assert, first, that God had himself utilized wisdom in his
acts of creation; next, wisdom was an entity potentially available to man as
well as to God; and, indeed, wisdom was capable of being personified (as in
Proverbs, chapter 8), or, beyond that, conceived of as a "hypostasis," a discrete entity. The idea in hypostasis was that wisdom was truly capable of
acting and of doing.... [compare: hocus-pocus; abracadabra; voodoo;
etc.] [see #3, 45, 215.; 67, 352.; etc. (hypostatization)]
In the unfolding views found in Christian literature
there are some general echoes of the conception of God as over and above this
world, and of the Christ as more or less equivalent to the Logos. The direct
identification of Logos and Christ occurs in the prologue to the Gospel
According to John [see 1561, 1564]. Yet there is a necessary prelude
that needs to be emphasized. The Logos in Jewish
writings, such as Wisdom of Solomon and Philo, is distinct from Christian views
in that in the Jewish writings, Logos is what we might call a timeless
idea; the Logos in Christian thought is
always connected with the event of Jesus. That is,
on a historic occasion, the Logos, in John's words,
became incarnate in Jesus [see 1561]. Hence, while similarities
exist in the Christian form of the exposition of the nature of God, there is
this difference: Philo's effort is to set forth the
philosophical conceptions, while the
Christian effort is to fit the event of the Christ
into its unfolding views.
Still another difference within the context of
similarity is to be noted. Philo was a diligent
student, an erudite master of the Greek philosophic tradition antecedent to
him. A person such as Paul was
not a student in this sense; Paul's philosophical
knowledge came to him from the atmosphere and not from some diligent poring over texts. One
might say, especially respecting Colossians and Ephesians, that these reflect
the need to fit the Christ into the general religious ideas of the time, whereas
Philo is concerned to provide a pedantic explanation of these general ideas.'
'THERE IS AN ABUNDANCE OF
LITERATURE4 [see footnote, 1563]
THAT LINKS PHILO AND PAUL TOGETHER. At one
extreme, rejected by all other scholars I have read, is a view that assets that
Paul had read Philo.5 Wrong as the statement seems to be, it nevertheless
underscores how the two echo [?] each other, not [?] from direct literary
dependence but rather out of a common [? (too general, and details unknown)]
atmosphere. This overlap is to be found in the Epistles of Paul, not in the Acts of the Apostles. THE PORTRAIT OF PAUL, AS FOUND IN ACTS, IS A VERY OLD
PROBLEM IN NEW TESTAMENT SCHOLARSHIP [amusing! Fiction, is not a
"problem" (see #4, 105-151 (Paul))]; for our present purposes, it is the Paul of the Epistles alone that is here under
As to the elements in common, both Philo and Paul have a view of God as fully
transcendent and therefore both faced the need to bridge that gap. In both there is found a dualism7 in which man is composed of a material side which
by assumption is evil and an immaterial side which by assumption is
good. In both, man is challenged to rise above
body and to live in the "intelligible world," as Philo phrases it, or in the
"spirit" as Paul does. We need,
though, to note some differences that affect at least how each expresses his
characteristic views, even if they are basically similar. Thus, PHILO WAS FULLY A RATIONALIST, PAUL
NOT. Paul lived in a universe controlled or
inhabited by the devil and governed by principalities
["supramundane powers often in conflict with God. Ephes. 6:12." (Random House); etc.];
these ideas are not expressed in Philo at all....' .
"....In Philo a
man, under providence, merits reward or punishment for his deeds; in Paul man cannot work his own salvation but needs
to have salvation divinely wrought for him. In Paul the saved are those whom God has predestined
Both solve the problem of
God's transcendence in similar ways. The terms central to each are different,
KEY WORD IN PHILO BEING THE LOGOS, WHILE IN PAUL IT IS THE CHRIST.
In more than one sense the
two diverse terms ["Logos"--"Christ"] are
synonymous, for both terms suggest the mechanism whereby the transcendent God
becomes immanent. Yet despite this vague similarity, there is an acute
difference. In Philo all is static, and history of little import, since in Philo
the Logos is timeless and unconnected with time or space; in Paul, as already suggested, event is the crucial
matter in that the Christ became Jesus in Judea in the
immediate past history, and then the Christ appeared to Paul. Though
Philo reports that recurrently the Logos had permeated his being, there is a
noticeable difference in the way in which the Christ enters into Paul, almost
constantly permeates him, and alters him." [151-152].
'The New Testament writing
that has yielded the most abundant literature on possible relations with Philo
is the Gospel According to John. As is
known, the prologue to the Gospel ["According to John" (see 1560,
1564)] utilizes the word "Logos"; in the
Epistles of Paul where the genuineness of
Paul's authorship is not disputed ["the genuineness of Paul's authorship [and, "genuineness" of Paul] is"
[are] disputed [see #4, 105-151, passim; etc.]],
the word does not appear, though the identification of Christ with Logos seems
implicit. It is the explicit identification in John that has yielded
the harvest of so much literature, with both theories of a direct dependency of
John on Philo15 and fervent denials of even an
indirect dependency. The problem is complicated by the diversity of views on the
Gospel, for example, that which regards the Logos
prologue as permeating the entire Gospel, and a contrary view which
regards the prologue as if it were engrafted onto the Gospel and thereafter
There is rather universal agreement, within the
controversies, that the Logos prologue
[John 1: 1-18 (see 1560, 1564)] is better illumined
by an understanding of the Logos idea in Philo than by any other non-New
Testament writing; it is agreed that Philo is by far the largest available
source for the idea contained in the word Logos [see 1564]. The caution
is nevertheless necessary that, as is the case of
Paul, John associates the Logos with
event, that is, the Logos on a historical occasion became incarnate in the
Jesus [see 1560], while in Philo the
Logos is never brought into relationship with history in this way....'
[154-155]. [See: 1560].
[See: 1564 (Logos)].
"Appendix: Tools and
'Since it is the Greek
Bible which is the basis of Philo's interpretation, it is an ordinary procedure
to say that Philo used "the
Septuagint." However, modern students have
become increasingly leery of speaking of the Septuagint, for research has led to a questioning of older views
[Propaganda!]. The Letter of Aristeas
[see 1559], apparently written between 100 and 50 B.C. ascribes the origin of
the Greek translation as follows. During
the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus [see
1559], the eminent librarian Demetrios [see 1559] of Phaleron lamented to the
king that the celebrated library [see
1559], containing the greatest collection of books ever assembled, lacked the
Five Books of Moses. The Ptolemy
authorized Demetrios to procure a translation. To that end he invited to
Alexandria seventy-two priests from Jerusalem who knew Greek as fluently as Hebrew. After a hospitable
reception, and a banquet, reminiscent of a Platonic Symposium, the translators
set to work and accomplished the objective. (Philo hearkens back to this matter
in On Moses II; see pp. 51-52). The implication is
that the Septuagint (meaning "seventy," a shortening of the actual number of
seventy-two) was the result of a deliberate and single incident.
The historical reliability
of the tradition found in the Letter of Aristeas has been challenged on two
different bases. One has been the allegation that the tradition in the Letter of Aristeas is only a
legend, a bit of Jewish apologetics, and is quite incredible. The other
basis for challenge has been the assertion that in
reality the so-called Septuagint is the end result of a slow process
whereby out of a range of earlier, tentative translations, the Septuagint in
more or less fixed form slowly emerged. If the
Septuagint is the result of a process, then one should more properly speak of
early efforts at translation not as the
Septuagint, but of "SEPTUAGINTAL TYPES." Consistent with the
latter view, it would be more precise to say that THE BIBLE PHILO UTILIZED WAS OF A SEPTUAGINTAL TYPE, rather than "the
The matter of Philo's
biblical text is a concern more for students of the origin and development of THE SEPTUAGINT AND
OTHER GREEK VERSIONS
[of the Hebrew Bible
versions (see 1559)]
[needed, in Theological investigations (Bible versions,
etc.), is the equivalent of DNA studies in the Zoological world (which studies,
have negated romances of monogamy, in the vertebrate world)]
than it is for Philo and
his thought.' [168-170].
[See: Addition 25, 1180-1181 (Septuagint)].
[not referenced above] "2. He [Philo c. 13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.] assails Pontius
Pilate in Leg. 299-305 (see Ch. 3, p.
000). There is no mention of Jesus in the
passage [OR, ANYWHERE!].
[not referenced above] 3. PHILO'S WRITINGS BECAME USEFUL TO CHRISTIANS IN
ALEXANDRIA [years?]. A result was the Christian rewriting of at least
one passage, the first part of Prov [De Providentia]. The view arose that Philo had
converted to Christianity; baseless as this is, it nevertheless points to the
congruencies between Philo's theological position
and that of Christians such as Clement and Origen." .
[see 1557] '12. See, in his [Victor Tcherikover] Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, tr. by S.
Applebaum (Philadelphia, 1959), pp. 309-32. He [Victor Tcherikover] says (p.
309) that on the question of Jewish
rights, "Josephus is to be estimated, in
the main, not as a historian but as a Jewish apologist...."' .
[not referenced above] "1. The great scholar of
Tübingen, F.C. Baur [1792 - 1860], treated
the issue of the rapid Hellenization of Christianity by denying that it had
taken place. His view was that MOST OF THE
LITERATURE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS COMPOSED IN THE SECOND CHRISTIAN CENTURY;
most of the Epistles of Paul were second-century writings which falsely ascribed to Paul the authorship of
Epistles written at least a century after his time. If so, there was no rapid Hellenization. I do not recall any
attention by Goodenough [Erwin Ramsdell
Goodenough 1893 - 1965] to the Baur theory." .
[see 1560] '4. Henry
Chadwick, "St. Paul and Philo,"
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library XLVIII
(1965-66): 286 ff.; Wilfred L. Knox, St. Paul and the Church of Jerusalem (Cambridge,
1925), has a list of passages (pp. 129-36)
in which Paul and Philo echo each other
[see 1560]. Knox (p. 135) goes on to say that "it is by no means unreasonable to
suppose that the resemblances between the thought of S. Paul and Philo are attributable to their common
use of other writings now lost, which put forward the allegorical interpretation
of Judaism on lines somewhat less radical than those favoured by Philo, and more
in accordance with the letter of the O.T. and its traditional rabbinical
interpretation. It is however quite possible that S. Paul may well have had some slight general
acquaintance with Philo....At the same time the
probability is very strongly in favour of the view that...both S. Paul and Philo
are acquainted with and make use of the general outlook of Hellenistic Jewish
thought...."' . [Did "Paul" (writers) use Philo? (see 1576-1579)].
[not referenced above (see 1560, 1561)] "16. I have not
been persuaded that the prologue ["Logos prologue" (156) [John 1: 1-18]] is a
pre-Christian gnostic hymn. In Judaism and Christian
Beginnings (New York, 1978), pp. 373-74, I gave an interpretation along
this line, that Jews and
Christians in common sought for communion with the Logos. The
prologue is a Christian argument addressed to Jews, asserting that the quest for
the Logas [Logos] is no longer necessary, for
LOGOS AND JESUS WERE ONE AND THE SAME
[this was my comment, in one of my early handouts (to
(see #3, 85, 200.)]. [see 1560, 1561]." .
[Comment (6/27/2001): Jesus (was) is a deus ex machina
(see 1509, 1578)].
"word," "reason," "method," "cause." It answers to the Hebrew Dabar," word," "method," "act." ....This term, as used
in the New Testament, came to educated Jews from Greek philosophy....
Pythagoras [c. 580
- c. 500 B.C.E.] spoke of a "spirit, light, or life, pervading all things; a god
vivifying the universe--a light of heaven, and father of all, producing, and
giving motion to his own immensity." Parmenides (500 B.C.) speaks of the Logos as a
deification of Reason, in which he urged men to trust rather than in the senses
or the imagination (Prof. L. Mills, Rl. Asiatic Socy. Journal,
Oct. 1902). Anaxagoras (460 B.C.) is said
by the Greeks to have been the first to recognise the Logos. Herakleitos of Ephesus (450 B.C.), and others,
spoke of the Logos as a powerful and eternal heat or fire, without which there
is no life or motion. He regarded it as the Reason, and eternal Law, of motion
in the strife of the elements, dividing and uniting. By such strife alone life
becomes possible. The Logos as Cause, Fate, Creator, or Reason, directs all such
conflict. The term was familiarised by the writings of Plato about 350 B.C.: and his philosophy was
adopted by Philo (50 B.C.) the Alexandrian
Jew....' [455, 456] (Encyc. Religions, Vol. 2, Forlong, 1964 (1906)).
"Logos (Gk...[Greek word], 'Word' or 'Reason'),
used esp. in Christian theology with reference to the Second Person of the
Trinity. The term was known both in pagan and in Jewish antiquity. Heraclitus (c. 500
BC) conceived of the Logos in a pantheistic way as the universal reason
governing and permeating the world, and the Stoics took over the idea and popularized it...."
(Ox. Dict. C.C., 1997)].
Philo in Early Christian Literature, A
Survey, David T. Runia. Van Gorcum, Assen; Fortress Press, Minneapolis,
Philo and the Church Fathers, A Collection of
Papers, David T. Runia. Brill, 1995.
from: The Encyclopedia of Unbelief, Gordon Stein,
Editor, Two Volumes, Volume One, A-K, Prometheus, 1985. [Note: the following
(1565-1567) abstracts, are very powerful (author: G.A. Wells (on, and from,
(1809-1882), German theologian and historian, wrote
searching criticisms of the Gospels from 1840 to 1842 and supplemented
these with his Critique of the Gospels and History of
Their Origin (4 vols., 1850-52), all of which Albert
Schweitzer [1875 - 1965] has justly
called "the ablest and most complete
collection of the difficulties of the life of Jesus which is anywhere to be
found." The earlier of these works led the Prussian authorities to
dismiss Bauer from his university post in theology at Bonn in 1842, after which
he lived privately in Berlin.
Bauer argued that the early Christians constructed a redeemer
whose suffering and final glorification was modeled on Septuagint portraits of
the prophets. Against David Friedrich
Strauss [1808 - 1874], he held that it was Christians who first
discovered messianic prophecies in the Old
Testament (the messianic ideas of, for example, the Talmud being, in
his view, later and formulated in controversy with Christianity). In his books
of 1850-52 and his later Christ and the Caesars
(1877) [see 1568] and The Original Gospel (1880)
[BAUER] DENIED THE
HISTORICITY OF JESUS AND SAW CHRISTIANITY AS ARISING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 1ST
CENTURY FROM A FUSION OF JUDAIC AND GRECO-ROMAN IDEAS IN TWO PRINCIPAL CENTERS,
ALEXANDRIA AND ROME....' . [Superlative Summary! (see #10, 234
'Bauer noted that
in Alexandria, Philo (born c. 10 B.C.) took up Heraclitus'
[c. 540 - c. 480 B.C.E.] old idea of the Logos and made it the incorporeal first-born of
God, the high priest who stands before God on behalf of the world. He is a
personal and enduring mediator between God and man, the bread of life given to
man's soul. He is God's cupbearer, who offers himself as refreshing wine--not to
the rulers of this word, who are due to be overthrown, but to the lowly wise
man, guiding him to a higher word not attainable by flesh and blood. Philo sees
the Logos as related to the "word" with which God, in the Jewish scriptures,
ordered things on earth, and he interprets these divine ordinances in a highly
spiritualized way, as did the Therapeutae,
whom he mentions as being numerous in Egypt. They looked for hidden meanings in
the scriptures by way of allegorical analysis. BAUER CALLS THEM PROTO-CHRISTIANS [see #5, 161
'Philo [c. 13
B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.] writes of "Wisdom" as of a synonym of "Logos," and in
pre-Christian Jewish Wisdom literature. Wisdom is a savior figure calling "come
to me, you who desire me and eat your fill of my fruit" (Ecclesiasticus 24:19).
Of this, says Bauer, Matthew 11:28 is an
obvious reflection; and modern commentators agree that it is a piece of early
Christian church writing based on Jewish literature and put into Jesus'
mouth. One of Bauer's great services
to New Testament criticism was to show how much of what
Jesus is made to say in the Gospels represents, NOT HIS [JESUS] EXPERIENCE,
BUT THAT OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY....' . [See: #3, 65-66 ("The
pointed to SENECA (4 B.C.-65 A.D.), who
TAUGHT IN ROME THAT MAN BEST ENJOYS THE DIVINE WHEN
HE PUTS ASIDE ALL EARTHLY CARES AND LOOKS FORWARD TO THE LIBERATION OF HIS
SPIRIT FROM THE WORLD'S DARKNESS AND ITS RETURN TO HEAVEN WHERE IT
SENECA cited many
historical figures as examples of noble conduct and of courageously borne
suffering, and HELD THAT THE TRULY GOOD AND WISE MAN MUST CHOOSE A MASTER--A
HISTORICAL OR EVEN IMAGINARY PERSONAGE
TO BE KEPT CONSTANTLY IN MIND AS THE JUDGE OF HIS
[the above 3 lines appear to be from: Seneca, Ad Lucilium, Epistulae Morales, Epistle XI
[see 1615 (see also, 1617)]. If so, "imaginary
personage" (or the concept), does not appear in the translation by Richard
[see Epistle XCV: 45-46 ("Supreme Good"; "ideals"; (not
SENECA HELD THAT THE WORLD
IS SO CORRUPT [? (source?) (Christian expression?) (see 1570, 1614)]
THAT IT WILL HAVE TO GO UP IN FIRE BEFORE IT CAN BE
RENEWED, AND THAT STAR WILL COLLIDE WITH STAR [see 1570, 1614] IN THE PROCESS. (Bauer noted that 2 Peter 3:12-13 draws on
similar ideas for its depiction of the Last Judgment.)
WHEN SENECA DESCRIBES THE
REBIRTH OF THE WORLD FROM SUCH RUINS, HE SAYS THAT THERE WILL THEN BE A MAN WHO
KNOWS NOTHING OF CRIME AND WHO WILL BE BORN UNDER THE MOST FAVORABLE
AUSPICES [source?]. Bauer argued that, while Philo made the Logos a priestly
mediator, hovering between heaven and earth, Seneca brought him down to earth
and made him ["Logos"] prove his worth by
his suffering there...." .
some 25 years (after Seneca's [c. 4 B.C.E.
- 65 C.E.] influence) for the formation of
the original gospel and a further 25 for the stage reached by the fourth Gospel.
He was unwilling to concede that any extant Christian literature is earlier than
the late 1st century. He argued, plausibly enough, that the Acts of the Apostles is a late work, because it depicts
Paul as a mere copy of Peter, to whom Paul is made to give precedence and whose
subservience to the Jewish law he apes.
However, Bauer's view that the principal letters ascribed to Paul are 2nd-century
forgeries--which makes Paul
completely independent of Peter as a counterblast to the Paul of Acts and as an idealization of the obscure
Paul of history [not historical! a Fictional
character!]--is untenable [tenable!], although this dating was forcefully
argued early this century by all such radical Dutch
theologians as Willem Christiaan van
Manen [1842 - 1905] and Gustaaf Adolf van
den Bergh van Eysinga [1874 - 1957]...." [45-46]. [See (Paul): #4,
'Modern theologians mention Bauer [Bruno Bauer 1809 - 1882] (if at all) only
briefly and with contempt, Schweitzer
[Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965] and Wrede
[William Wrede 1859 - 1906] being notable exceptions. Adolf Harnack [1851 - 1930] also praised Christ and the Caesars [see 1568-1572] for
appreciating both "the real significance of the
Greek element [see: #5, 157-158; Addition 31, 1379 (Greek influence [see 1641-1643])] in the gentile [religion (Christianism)] Christianity which
became the Catholic Church and doctrines," and also "the
influence of the Judaism of the Diaspora as a preparation for this
gentile [religion (Christianism)] Christianity."'  [End of entry] [G.A. Wells].
[Note: this is a classic! G.A. Wells (see biography, Who's Who in Hell, 2000,
p. 1168), writing on Bruno Bauer].
from: Christ and the Caesars, The Origin of Christianity
From Romanized Greek Culture, by Bruno Bauer, English Translation by
Frank E. Schacht, Ed.D., Alexander Davidonis, publisher, Charleston, SC, 1998
"CHRISTIANITY ITSELF IS NOTHING MORE THAN METAMORPHOSIZED
'The gentle reader will
have recognized in all these sentences old acquaintances with whom he is
familiar since childhood. They are known to us since our first Bible
lessons. The body as a hostel of the divine corresponds to the temple
of God whom the apostle ["Paul"] (1 Corinth. 3, 16) wants to have respected
in the bodies of the faithful. When Seneca
[c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], in spite of this importance of the body, groans for
liberation from its oppressive burden, the
apostle too sighs (Romans 7, 24. 8, 3) for deliverance from this death-bound body. The desire of Seneca's citizens of heaven to get rid of
this burden sounds like the words of the New Testament. "To die is my
gain. I desire to die and be with Christ." When Seneca exclaims (Epist. 102): "We cannot yet see
the heavenly fatherland except from a distance," the apostle consoles himself (1 Corinth. 13. 12)
that: "Now I know in part but then I shall know..." Just as Seneca recommends that the body soar upward even
before the birthday of eternity when the bodily wrap will be taken from the
soul, the apostle too says (2 Corinthians
5, 1-9) that: "we know that if the earthly house in which we dwell is destroyed,
we have a building from God, a house not made by human hands, eternal in the
heavens..... therefore we strive, whether at home or abroad, so that we might
please Him." "Our walk is in heaven," continues the letter to the Philippians 3,
18-20 this observation, whereas for the others their "god is their stomach," and
central point of this entire series of thoughts also dominates the letter to the
Hebrews where the patriarchs (chpt. 11, 13-16) on their road to the heavenly
home think of themselves as strangers here on earth.
However, IF WE LOOK FROM
SENECA BACK TO ANTIQUITY NONE OF HIS SENTENCES
OFFER US ANYTHING NEW. Only the complaining and cutting accent with
which he presents his thoughts and the actuality with which they constantly
press down on him as well as their arrangement is original. But the content
itself--all that sighing of every creature--(to use a post-Senecan expression)
all those worries about the "one thing necessary" (to use once more a later
formula) has come into the world at an earlier time. THE AUTHORS ARE PLATO
[c. 428 - 348-347 B.C.E.] AND THE STOA [see Addition 26, 1239-1241].
The most eloquent
pupil [Plato c. 428 - 348-347
B.C.E.] of Socrates [c. 470 - 399 B.C.E.]
created the basis of the theology to come.
The attempts of the old philosophers, from Thales [c. 625 - c. 547 B.C.E.] to Democritus
[c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.E.], to explain the creation of the world from the
development of the real elements failed because of
the weakness of the natural sciences and the power that the declining
divine service of the Greeks still had in
the course of its dissolution. It was left to a later world to resume once more
the experiments of the Ionians and Democritus on the basis of a richer knowledge of
the laws of nature and to replace theology with
mechanics and physics. THE TWO
THOUSAND-YEAR INTERIM WAS DOMINATED BY PLATO....' [35-37].
"THE ROAD THAT LEADS BY WAY OF PLATO [c. 428 -
348-347 B.C.E.] AND THE
STOICS TO PHILO [13 B.C.E. - 45-50 C.E.] AND SENECA [c. 4
B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] AND
THROUGH THE LATTER TWO INTO THE WRITINGS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IS DOMINATED BY
HERACLITUS [fl. 500 B.C.E.] FROM A BRILLIANT HIGH
POINT...." . [See: 1564 (Heraclitus)].
"SENECA IN THE NEW
"We shall show that the wisdom of Seneca's sayings
formed the first unifying point in a community in which the elements of a
spiritual opposition to the Roman military dictatorship and to the government
supported priesthood came together, and then, after it had interwoven with
Jewish ideas, held its position as the beginning of a new entity. The fact[s]
we present in the following lines will offer proof
that Seneca's sayings not only circulated in the oral tradition and formed the
stem on which grew the new structures, but also that the teachers of that
Roman-Jewish community owed THE MASTER HIMSELF [SENECA] important inspirations and took from him [Seneca]
WHAT IS DISCUSSED HERE ARE THE PARALLEL CONTACTS BETWEEN
THE SAYINGS OF SENECA AND THOSE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT." .
'Let us finally not omit (without a distracting look back on Heraclitus [c.
540 - c. 480 B.C.E.] and the older doctrine of the
Stoa) to point out how SENECA, BY
DEPICTING THE WORLD CONFLAGRATION THAT WOULD
PRECEDE THE RENEWAL OF THE COSMOS, DELIVERED TO CHRISTIAN AUTHORS THE MATERIALS
FOR THEIR PICTURE OF THE LAST JUDGMENT. "The
world["], he writes (Ad Marciam, chpt.
26) ["]will in its transition to its
restoration (se renovaturus) go up in flames, all will destroy itself through its own
power, star will collide with star and all that is now in shining order will
burn in a mass of fire." The same colors
sparkle in the picture of the last judgment in the New Testament (2
Peter 3, 12-13): 'On the day of the Lord the heavens will dissolve with a bang,
the earth and everything on it melt away in fire.' . [See: 1566]. [See: 1614
(Seneca ("To Marcia On Consolation"))].
letter of consolation to Marcia (chpt. 25)...states that her departed son, before
he ascends to the height of the blessed spirits, purifies himself (expurgator) in an interspace from the remainders and
debilities of earthly life [see 1614]--from this
emerged up to the end of the second century the doctrine of an intermediate
condition of purification of the departed soul until it reaches the peace of the
blessed, and later on the classic formula
of Augustine [354 - 430]: ignis purgatorius (purgatory fire)." . [See: 1614 (Seneca ("To Marcia On Consolation"))].
'While we leave this part of our work, some of our readers might still have on their tongue the
question whether it was then a fact that the authors of several New Testament writings really had in their hands the letters and essays
FIRST WE REMIND
them ["READERS"] OF THE QUOTATIONS OF THE BIBLICAL AUTHORS THEMSELVES THAT
PROVE THAT THEY WERE NOT UNTRAINED IN CLASSICAL LITERATURE AND KNEW WELL ITS
CONTACT WITH THEIR OWN MESSAGE.
When Paul in his letter to
Titus, whom he had left behind in Crete to fight the seducers there,
admonishes him to persevere, he points out to him
the words of a Cretan poet who had said that his countrymen "are always liars, bad people and lazy stomachs."
According to the church fathers who were still in possession of the relevant
literature it is the Cretan Epimenides
[fl. 6th century B.C.E.?] who paid this compliment to his countrymen in one of
the mystical- philosophical poems attributed to him.' [54-55].
'Christian authors received
counsel also from Plato. The saying with which the leaders of the first
community twice justify themselves before the High Council in Jerusalem (Acts 4,
19. 5, 29): "One must obey God more than
you," is borrowed verbatim from the speech
of Socrates to his judges as reported in the "Apology" attributed to Plato, and just as the Athenian sage
continues: "As long as I breathe, therefore, I shall not cease to dedicate
myself to philosophy," the disciples of the Christian community also continue
their preaching, unshaken after they were threatened by the High Council.'
'But, one will object,
Seneca is mentioned nowhere in the parallel passages of the New Testament.
Neither is Plato when a basic passage is borrowed from him. Nor
Philemon [c. 368 - c. 264 B.C.E.], the
poet of the comic stage when, e.g. in 1 Timoth [Timothy] 2, 11-12, in
his words the submission of woman to man is recommended, or Menander [342 - 292 B.C.E.] when in the
question of the first letter to the Corinthians (6,7): "Why don't you rather suffer injustice" (instead of
quarreling with each other at court)? the author has obviously in mind the
saying of the master of the comic stage [Menander (see 1508)]: "He is the best
among men who best knows how to suffer injustice."
Seneca could not be quoted for
the simple reason that his Latin did not fit in with the literary contact
carried on in Greek between Greece,
Alexandria and Rome. Besides, WE HAVE IN THE
ALLEGED PAULINE LETTERS A LATER LITERATURE that was preceded by a
number of modulations on Greek and Latin
basis that are still obvious to us in the first three gospels with the different
types and attempts they have for their original base it can therefore be assumed
with certainty [?] that the Roman-Jewish circle formed in Rome at the time of
the Flavians was often involved in changing Seneca's treasures into the symbols
of its own community and in spreading the wisdom of the new sayings also to
Greece and the Orient through Jewish nomads and their outside contacts without the final compilers of these
saying[s] knowing their first source [this paragraph seems
abstruse. If so, the author? the translation (from the German of Bruno Bauer)?
"the concurrence in style
found between the main tenets of Seneca and the parallel passages in the NEW
TESTAMENT remains in all these considerations a SURE PROOF that THE AUTHORS of
these parallels like, e.g., the first ones with whom we began this chapter, HAD
BEFORE THEIR OWN EYES THE WRITINGS OF THE ROMAN SAGE [SENECA]. Fleury compared only the parallels between
Seneca's short sentences or key words and the Bible, but if one considers the
stylistic form of composition and diction on both sides one will realize that,
on the part of the Roman [Seneca], content and form develop as originals and
have their natural motivation whereas in the New Testament given [plagiarized, etc.]
material is sharpened to make new
"Seneca's contribution to
religion was based on the combination of the unshakability of the Stoic
sage [apparently, a generic "Stoic
sage"], who was supported by Platonic
ascetics, and the mild ideal of the sufferer tested in pain and shame,
an ideal that flashed to him from the night of the civil wars. And in the
fullness of his development he [Seneca]
also made friends in a complete way with the
morality of Epicurus [341 - 270 B.C.E.], a man, as he often puts it in his letters to Lucillius
even if, figuratively speaking, he goes around in women's clothing. He [Seneca] needed the equanimity and the inner peace
of this man [Epicurus] in order to
reconcile himself and his friends completely with the withdrawal from the world
and its doings." .
"The Paul of the Acts
of the Apostles"
"he [Paul] still
follows Peter's principle (Acts 3, 25. 26)
that the message of the resurrected belongs first
to the Jews. During his missionary travels he always addresses first
the Jews, and their antagonism drives him forcefully to the gentiles. ONLY THE HATRED OF THE JEWS [see 1599 (Seneca)]
AND THEIR STUBBORNNESS MAKES THE GOSPEL A PROPERTY
OF THE NATIONS. They [nations] owe the new message to an accident. The Jews must first have made themselves
disowned of salvation, and rendered salvation itself without a master, so
that it can be transferred to the gentiles. In Rome too he follows this law of
his mission, turns first to the Jews and threatens, after he saw the hearts of
his clansmen hardened, that he will find an ear among the gentiles." [339-340].
"Conclusion of Peace
Between Peter and Paul"
[Note: "Peter and Paul", not historical. Fictional
"Of the greatest
importance is furthermore that ACCORDING
TO THE SACRED ORIGINAL STORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT NO ISRAELITES
[persons] NOR JEWISH NAMES STAND OUT IN THE
COMMUNITY. The names of the expanded
circle of followers who in the alleged Pauline letters send and receive
greetings are ROMAN OR GREEK. The Gnostics and
apologists of the second century, men like Justinus [Justin Martyr c. 100 - c. 165] and
Athenagoras [2nd cent. ("Greek Christian
apologist")], are GREEKS or ROMANS.
The legend of martyrs knows (according to
the alleged apostolic blood witnesses) no
Jews and from the time of Tertullian to
the conversion of Saint Augustine [354 - 430] we hear nothing of important Jewish men who devote
themselves to the service of the new church. From the days of Horace and Augustus to the highest point of unrest under
Hadrian THE JEWS WERE AN IMPORTANT FERMENT BUT THE
PRODUCTIVE STRENGTH CAME FROM THE ROMAN-GREEK CIRCLE [see (Greek): #5, 157-158; Addition 31,
1379; 1641-1643]." .
from: The Sources and Development of Christianity,
by Thomas Lumisden Strange [1808 - 1884], Late a Judge of the High Court of
"Go to Agni, for he is nearer to thee than I
Indra's reply to the supplication of Sunehsepha.
London: Trübner & Co., 57 and 59 Ludgate Hill, 1875.
[Received, and first seen, 6/28/2000]. [I thank Daniel M. Tredwell (see Addition
26, 1214) for this author].
"By the same author. The Bible;
Is It the Word of God?...The Speaker's
Commentary Reviewed....The Development of Creation on the Earth....The Legends of the Old
Testament. Traced to their Apparent Primitive Sources." [opposite
|"I.--The Era of
|"The absence of
evidence to Christianity in the writings of Josephus
|"The writings of the
|The alleged letter to
Pliny to Trajan
|The passage as to
Nero's persecutions in Tacitus
|The statement ascribed
|None of these passages
cover the facts alleged for Christianity
||37" ["xv"]. |
|"The Greek element in
the Christian writings
||56" [xvi]. |
|[See: 1496, 1508, 1641-1643].
|"II.--The Constituents of
|The projection of the advent of the
||The Essene tenets of Oriental origin
|The Christian appropriation of The Jewish
||Etymology of the name of Essene
|The Jewish character formed after the exile,
and their hopes from that time in a Messiah
||The Essenes associated with the
representation raised on the downfall of the Jewish
derivable from Essenism
probable field of the new religious movement
||The religious principles enforced in Christianity already prevalent among
the Jews and other people
|The deification of the word and power of
||The precepts and example of Socrates
|The Messiah as depicted in the book of
Pythagoreans, and Stoics
|The studies and temperament of Philo Judaeus
||The elements from
these sources passed into Christianity
|His delineation of the Logos
||The materials for
Christianity apparent in the writings of
|The Therapeuts and
Essenes. The features in common to them and the
||Those occurring in the Jewish writings, and
prominently in the Talmud [emphasis on sources]
|The sources of the Essene beliefs
resources from which Christianity was evolved
|Antiquity of the Essenes and Therapeuts
[note: commas, and leaders ("dots"), omitted]" [xvi]. [end
Gentile Moulds of Christianity. |
|The forms of
belief met with in Alexandria
||Resources also found in Egyptian faiths
adapting them to Christ
|| Mediation and
who overcame evil or devoted themselves for the good of
||Judgment of the dead
[See: The Judgment of the Dead, S.G.F. Brandon,
|| The future
|| The doctrine of a
|| The unity of the
| Metius Curtius
|| The doctrine of
|| The book of the
| Menippe and
elements of religion adaptable to the Christian
| Admetus and
||The Oriental beliefs
| Orpheus and
||The Buddhist canon
||The character of Buddhism
Pythagoras, and Plato
||Nirvána, and belief in immortality
| Dionysus, Persephone,
Buddhism with Christianity
||The history of Buddha
|The Greek elements
of religion adaptable to the Christian creed
||The spread of Buddhism
|The defences of the early Christians against
the said adaptation
||Buddhism known of
to the early Christians
...." [xviii]. [See: 1496, 1641-1644].
'Philo engaged himself in
setting forth the Jewish scriptures in a light more acceptable to minds
philosophically governed as his own, than was presented by the bare features of
the narratives of the Pentateuch. This he effected by an elaborate and very
wilful system of allegorizing, substituting speculative moral conclusions for
the facts of the text before him. The world was said to have been made
in six days, because six is a perfect number in its parts and its entirety. This
number represents orderly arrangement, such as creation calls for. The fourth
day in which the heavens were "adorned" also involves a numerical perfection.
The completed seven days have a very high numerical value, on which the author
dilates copiously. The paradise in which the first human couple were placed,
stocked with plants possessing the different virtues of the soul, was a symbolic
representation rather than what was "strictly accurate." It typified "the
dominant character of the soul, which is full of innumerable opinions as this
figurative paradise was of trees." The serpent "is the symbol of pleasure,
because in the first place he is destitute of feet, and crawls on his belly with
his face downwards. In the second place, because he uses lumps of clay for food.
Thirdly, because he bears poison in his teeth, by which it is his nature to kill
those who are bitten by him," and so on. Working upon the Greek speculative
philosophy with which he was imbued, he aimed at analyzing and delineating the
attributes of the Almighty, giving them specific shape; and the exaltation of
mind that ensued when the thoughts were let loose in this direction, he mistook
for direct inspiration. In the present day we
should know how to deal with a writer thus influenced, but Philo was addressing
congenial spirits in an atmosphere suitable for the reception of his
lucubrations [products of "laborious or intensive study", etc.]. That he should be attracted to the operations of the
imaginary Grecian Logos, and model this object on a Jewish Messianic form, was a
result natural to such a writer at such a time. But what becomes of the authority of the Christian
canonical record, it must be asked, when we find the attributes of its central
figure, in all their high and very remarkable specialties, anticipated and drawn
by the pen of a fanciful writer, such as this, himself standing absolutely free
I take advantage of Mr
Bryant's [see 1577] labours in presenting
the following compendium of Philo's views of the Logos
in their bearing upon the canonical representations [New
states him [Logos [see 1561,
1564]] to be:
The Son of God
(Mark i. 1; Luke iv. 41; John i. 34; Acts viii. 37).
Divinity (John i. 1).
The first-begotten of
God (Heb. i. 5, 6; Col. i. 15).
The image and likeness of
God (2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3).
Superior to angels
(Heb. i. 4, 6).
Superior to all things in
the world (Heb. ii. 8).
The instrument by whom the
world was made (John i. 3; 1 Cor. viii. 6; Col. i. 16; Heb. i. 2, 3,
The substitute of God, upon
whom all things depend (Eph. iii. 9).
The light of the world, and
intellectual sun (John i. 4, 9; viii 12; 1 Pet. ii. 9).
The Logos only can see
God (John i. 18; vi. 46).
He has God for his portion,
and resides in him (John i. 1, 18; xiv. 11).
The most ancient of God's
works, and before all things (John i. 2; xvii. 5, 24; 2 Tim. i. 9).
Esteemed the same as
God (Mark ii. 7; Phil. ii. 6).
Eternal (John xii.
He sees all things
(Heb. iv. 12, 13; Rev. ii. 23).
He supports the
world (John iii. 35; Col. i. 17; Heb. i. 3).
Nearest to God, nothing
coming between to disturb that unity (John x. 30; xiv. 11; xvii. 11).
Free from all taint of sin,
voluntary and involuntary (Heb. iv. 15; ix. 14; 1 Pet. ii. 22).
Presiding over the
imperfect (Luke v. 32; 1 Tim. 1. 15).
The fountain of wisdom, to
which all should diligently repair, that by drinking from that sacred spring
they may, instead of death, obtain everlasting life (John iv. 14; vii.
37, 38; 1 Cor. i. 24; Col. ii. 3).
A messenger sent by God to
man (John v. 36; viii. 29, 42; 1 John iv. 9).
The advocate and
intercessor for mortal man (John xiv. 16; xvii. 20; Rom. viii. 34; Heb.
vii. 25; 1 John ii. 1).
He ordered and disposed of
all things (Col. i. 15, 16; Heb. xi. 3).
The Shepherd of God's
flock (John x. 14; Heb. xiii. 20; 1 Pet. ii. 25).
Possessed of creative and
princely power (1 Cor. xv. 25; Eph. i. 21, 22; Rev. xvii. 14).
The Physician that heals
all evil (Matt. ix. 12; Luke iv. 18; vii. 21; 1 Pet. ii 24).
The Seal of God
(John vi. 27; Eph. i. 13).
The sure refuge, to whom,
before all others, we ought to seek (Matt. xi. 28; 1. Pet. ii. 25).
The heavenly nutriment of
the soul (Matt. v. 6; John vi. 51, 53).
The instrument of spiritual
liberty (John viii. 36; 1 Cor. vii. 22; 2 Cor. iii. 17; Gal. v. 1, 13).
Who frees men from
corruption, and entitles them to immortality (Rom. viii. 21; 1 Cor. xv.
52, 53; 1 Pet. i. 3, 4).
God's beloved Son
(Matt. iii. 17; Luke ix. 35; Col. i. 13).
Through whom the
well-disposed disciples of God will be one day translated to an incorruptible
and perfect order of beings (Rom. viii. 17; Eph. i. 11; Col. i. 12; 1
Pet. i. 4).
By whom the just man, not
given over to utter death, shall be raised and brought near to God in heaven
(John vi. 44; xii. 26; xiv. 1-6).
The true High Priest,
without sin, and anointed with oil (John i. 41; viii. 46; Acts iv. 27;
Heb. iv. 14; vii. 26; 1 Pet. ii. 22).
The Mediator (1
Tim. ii. 5; Heb. viii. 1-6; ix. 11, 12, 24).
Bryant on Philo, 107-154.' [66-68]. [See: 1578-1579].
1715 - 1804. The sentiments
of Philo Judeus concerning the logos, or word of God; : together with large
extracts from his writings compared with the scriptures on many other particular
and essential doctrines of the Christian religion", Jacob Bryant,
Cambridge; London, 1797. [from:
University of California, catalog ("Melvyl")]].
'The Jews of Alexandria
became indoctrinated with the Greek philosophy, the imaginative system of the
orientals, and the views of Pythagoras and Plato, which ingredients through them
passed into Christianity (Reuss, Hist.
de la Theo. Chrèt.,
writings of Philo awakened a profound interest in the teachings of Socrates and
Plato in the Jewish world and among the primitive Christians (Young,
Christ of Hist., 159, 160). Philo considered the
flesh the seat of original sin, warring against the soul, the spirit of God ever
arousing the soul to resist the invasions of sin. He recognized two classes of
men, those who lived in the flesh, and those who lived in the spirit. The sin of Adam was the source of misery and death to his
descendants. The soul was to be fed at first with milk and plain
nourishment, and afterwards with strong meat. Almost in the language of Heb. ix.
he [Philo] describes Abraham as seeking a better country which God
would give him, and finding his reward in regarding
the things that are not as though they were [compare: faith; negation].
Righteousness he [Philo] held to be the
gift of God to man, not of debt, but of grace. Faith, hope, and love ruled
before him [who is "him"? "Righteousness"?]. Faith was the substance of things
hoped for, but the highest attribute was love. He [Philo] compressed the law into two great
commandments, and spoke of "the stewards of the divine mysteries," of "the true
riches," and of "hungering and thirsting after righteousness." He furthermore
treated of a Holy Ghost, of a first and second Adam, of the faith of Abraham,
and of bread, which came down from heaven (Prof. Jowett, The Epistles of Paul, I. 494-514). Philo viewed God as one whom we should love,
serve, and imitate in holiness. He rewards humility and punishes pride. The
happiness of man is his union with God, and his misery is the being separated
from him. Men can pray only as he teaches them. We are not to hurt our enemies
or avenge ourselves on them. It is better to suffer wrong than to do it. God is
the sole cause of good, and cannot be the cause of evil. The love of our
neighbours should be founded on our love of God. The world is nothing but
corruption, and we should fly from it to cleave to God who is alone our health
and life. In this world we are surrounded by enemies with whom we have
continually to combat so as to endure. We cannot conquer but by God or angels
sent for our help.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE
[in part, a PROTO-DEUS EX MACHINA (see 1509)]
[in part, a PROTO-JESUS [JESUS (WAS) IS A DEUS EX
MACHINA (see 1509, 1564)]]
[see 1561, 1564, (Logos)]
GIVES HAPPINESS AFTER
DEATH. THE SOUL IS IMMORTAL; THE DEAD RISE AGAIN TO A FINAL JUDGMENT OF THE
RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED, WHO PASS TO ETERNAL HAPPINESS OR MISERY
(E.P. Meredith, The Prophet of
Nazareth, 437, citing M. Dancier).
TO THESE STRIKING
ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE CONSONANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES WITH THE TEACHINGS OF
PHILO I ADD A FEW OTHERS, WHICH WILL BE FOUND IN PHILO'S WORKS,
IV. 223, 243, 244, 250, 263, 266, 274. Philo put the
Deity before him in that paternal aspect in which the Christian scriptures
represent him. "There is no form of address," he observes, "with which a king
can more appropriately be saluted than the name of father " (Matt. xi. 27; John
i. 18; iv. 23; vi. 46; x. 38; xiv. 6, 11). He recognized the working of the
conscience as a divine instrument used for the governance of mankind. "The
mind," he says, "is the witness to each individual of the things which they have
planned in secret, and conscience is an incorruptible judge, and the most
unerring of all judges." "Who is there who does wrong who is not convicted by
his own conscience, as if he were in a court of justice, even though no man
correct him?" (Rom. ii. 14-16; viii. 27 1 Cor. ii.; 10; Rev. ii. 23). The
warfare between God and the world was with him as the struggles of light with
darkness" (John i. 5; viii. 12; xii. 46; Rom. xiii. 12; 2 Cor. iv. 6; vi. 14;
Eph. v. 8; 1 Thess. v. 5; 1 John i. 5-7). "It is as impossible," he declares,
"that the love of the world can co-exist with the love of God, as for light and
darkness to co-exist at the same time with one another" (John viii. 23; xv. 18,
19; xvi. 33; xvii. 14, 16, 25; xviii. 36; Gal. vi. 14; James iv. 4; 1 John ii.
15-17; iii. 1; v. 4, 5). The future state and its unknown glories were before
him. He could speak of one who "dies as to this mortal life, but still lives,
having received in exchange a life of immortality" (Rom. vii. 9; 1 Cor. xv. 22, 31; 2
Cor. v. 15; vi. 9; Phil. i. 21), wherein "perhaps he will see what he never saw
before" (Rom. viii. 24, 25; 1 Cor. ii. 9; 2 Cor. iv. 18; Heb. xi. 1). He
apprehended that it required a mediator to allow of God dealing with the
material creation. "The things of creation are far removed from the uncreated
God, even though they are brought into close proximity following the attractive
mercies of the Saviour" (John i. 3; Eph. iii. 9; Col. i. 16; Heb. i. 2).
Disallowing the efficacy of the Jewish ordinances, he exclaims, "What can be a
real sacrifice except the piety of a soul devoted to the love of God?" (Rom.
xii. 1; Heb. x. 5-7). "Since God," he concludes, "penetrates invisibly in the
region of the soul, let us prepare that region in the best manner that we are
able to, or rather that it may be a habitation fit for God; otherwise, without
our being aware of it, God will depart and remove to some other abode" (1 Cor.
iii. 16, 17; vi. 19; 2 Cor. vi. 16; Eph. ii. 22).
Springing out of Judaism,
it is natural to expect that the older system should have provided materials
that might find their way into the new [Christianism ("Christianity")], and
such certainly has been the case. The change wrought in the character
of the Jews, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, introduced among
them religious sentiments and aspirations which readily passed into the workings
of the religious life aimed at by the Christians, so that the devotional elements of Christianity, fed from all
sources to that time prevailing among the seriously disposed in the surrounding
nations, found fixed aims and persuasions, and peculiar methods of expression, in the forms current among
their elder brethren the Jews.' [94-97]. [See: 1506-1518 (Shires)].
from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and
Mythology, by Various Writers. Edited by William Smith, In Three
Volumes--Vol. III., AMS, 1967 (reprint of 1890 edition) ("1844-49").
Annaeus" c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] 'People
will judge of Seneca, as they do of most moral writers, by the measure of their own opinions. The less a man cares for the practical, the real, the less
will he value Seneca. The more a man envelops himself in words and ideas
without exact meaning, the less will he comprehend a writer who does not merely
deal in words, but has ideas with something to correspond to them. Montaigne [1533 - 1592] (Defence of Seneca and Plutarch) says: "the familiarity I have had with these two authors, and the
assistance they have lent to my age and to my book, which is wholly compiled of
what I have borrowed from them, obliges me to stand up for their
honour." In another place (Essay of
Books) he compares Seneca and Plutarch [c. 46 - after 119 C.E.] in his usual
lively way: his opinion of the philosophical works of Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] is not so favourable as
of Seneca's; and herein many people will
agree with him [Montaigne: see 1590,
1614]. The judgment of Ritter (Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. iv, p. 189) is a
curious specimen of criticism. If Diderot
[Denis Diderot 1713 - 1784] is extravagant in his
praise of Seneca, Ritter and others are equally extravagant in their
censure. Ritter finds contradictions in
Seneca; and such we may expect in a man who lived the life that he did.
We cannot suppose that his conscience always approved of his acts. A practical philosopher, who has lived in the world, must
often have done that which he would wish undone; and the contradiction which
appears between a man's acts and his principles will appear in his
WHICH IS THE WISER, SENECA
OR HIS CRITIC, LET EVERY MAN JUDGE FOR HIMSELF.' .
'SENECA, like other educated Romans, rejected the
superstition of his country: he LOOKED UPON THE CEREMONIALS OF RELIGION AS A MATTER OF
CUSTOM AND FASHION, AND NOTHING MORE. His religion is simple Deism:
The Deity acts in man and in all things; which is the same thing that Paul said when he addressed the Athenians, "for in
him (God) we live and move and have our being" (Acts, xvii. 28). Indeed there have been persons who, with the help of an active
imagination, have made Seneca a Christian, and to have been acquainted with
Paul, which is a possible thing, but cannot be proved. THE RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN MANY PASSAGES IN SENECA AND
PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS [ARE] MERELY AN ACCIDENTAL CIRCUMSTANCE[S] [?]. Similar resemblances
occur in the Meditations [written in Greek] [167 C.E.] [another source,
and/or rewriting source, for the New Testament? Do not be beguiled by the dates
for Marcus Aurelius Antoninus] [see 1536 ("moral instruction")] of the Emperor
Marcus [Aurelius] Antoninus [Emperor 161 - 180 (121 - 180)]
[famous Stoic philosopher]. The fourteen letters of
Seneca to Paul, which are printed in the old editions of Seneca, are
 [George Long, Cambridge].
from: A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects
and Doctrines; During The First Eight Centuries. William Smith, Henry
Wace, AMS, 1967 (1877-1887).
Annaeus" [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] 'The great popularity of Seneca as a
writer in his own day is attested by Quintilian [c. 35 - c. 100 C.E.] [see 1587, 1601,
1609] (Inst. Or. x.
1, Section 128), who, however, finds some fault with his style. In later times,
among the Christian fathers, there gradually grew
up a belief that he was almost, if not quite, a Christian. Bishop Lightfoot [Joseph Barber Lightfoot 1828 -
1889] gives a compendious account of the growth of this belief, which may be
quoted. "The earliest of the Latin fathers, Tertullian [c 160 - c. 225], writing about a
century and a half after the death of SENECA, speaks of
this philosopher as 'OFTEN OUR OWN' (Tertull. de Anim 20). Some two
hundred years later St. Jerome [c. 347 - c.
420], having occasion to quote him, omits the qualifying adverb and calls him broadly 'OUR OWN SENECA' (adv. Jovin. i. 49).
Living midway between these two writers, Lactantius [c. 240 - 320] points out several coincidences with the teaching of the
gospel in the writings of Seneca, whom, nevertheless, he styles 'the
most determined of the Roman Stoics' (Div. Inst. i. 5).
From the age of St. Jerome, Seneca was commonly
regarded as standing on the very threshold of the Christian church,
even if he had not actually passed within its portals. In one ecclesiastical council at least, held at
Tours in the year 567, his authority is quoted with a deference generally
accorded only to fathers of the church. And
EVEN TO THE PRESENT DAY IN
THE MARIONETTE PLAYS OF HIS NATIVE SPAIN ST. SENECA TAKES HIS PLACE BY THE SIDE
OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL IN THE REPRESENTATIONS OF OUR LORD'S
PASSION." [see 1606-1608]
(Bp. Lightfoot on the Epistle
to the Philippians, p. 268.) The belief in the
Christianity of Seneca was largely increased if not caused by that collection of
letters, purporting to have been exchanged between him and St. Paul, which was current first, as far as we
know, in the time of Jerome (who certainly
seems, on the whole, to have believed in their genuineness), and which is extant
in our own day. The letters contain nothing worthy of either of their reputed
authors, and are now universally (and no doubt justly) held to be spurious. They
were, however, very popular in the middle ages....'
 [John Rickards Mozley, Cambridge].
from: The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Edwards,
Editor in Chief, Volume Seven, Macmillan, 1967.
Annaeus" [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]
'Seneca's primary aim is to
persuade us to act and think rightly, not to prove that certain ethical
propositions are true. To achieve this, he depicts with extreme vividness the
benefits of virtue and the disadvantages of vice. He is at his best when
enlarging upon the disastrous effects of the emotions. Pain, pleasure, fear, desire--all are equally to be
avoided. He examines with almost clinical precision the vicious effect
of the passions on men and then proceeds to explain how they may be brought
under control and finally conquered, illustrating his argument with a wealth of
examples, cautionary or encouraging.
This method obviously does not lend itself to the
exposition of an all-embracing and coherent philosophical system. Indeed,
lack of consistency and logical development both
between different works and within the same work, have long been major
criticisms of Seneca. This cannot be denied, but it can be explained.
Seneca was a practical moral teacher, a kind of
spiritual guide or father confessor to his friends. In a favorite metaphor, he was a "physician" of the
soul. Thus, he concentrates on particular moral or psychological problems
(he would not have distinguished between them) and provides particular answers
to suit both the problem and the person who raises it. The stance taken and the
arguments produced vary according to the stage in the Stoic faith which his questioner has reached. This
practical aim is brought out in his emphasis on the value of moral "progress
[see 1625]." This was an early modification in Stoic teaching which Seneca
eagerly adopted. While not deserting the fundamental and austere concept of the
true "Sage," it recognized the importance and relative moral worth of determined
effort to attain that ideal, thus bridging the
abyss between the perfect "Sage"
and the great mass of "fools," a compromise vital to Seneca's practical
Seneca has nothing
to offer the philosopher who studies the structure of language or intellectual
processes, but the acuteness of his psychological
insights and the sanity of his particular moral advice make him of the greatest
interest to those concerned with the human heart and its strivings after
[406-407] [(excepting Bibliography) End of entry] [James
from: Gian Biagio
Literature, A History, Translated by
Joseph B. Solodow, Revised by Don Fowler and Glenn W. Most, Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1994 (Italian 1987).
"The impetus to compose
philosophical letters addressed to friends probably came to Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] from Plato
[c. 428 - 348 or 347 B.C.E.] and especially
from Epicurus [341 - 270
[compare: "letters" (epistles) of "St. Paul"].
"5. The Tragedies
The tragedies occupy an
important place in Seneca's writings. Nine are generally regarded as
authentic (doubts remain only about the Hercules
Oetaeus), all on subjects from Greek
mythology. And yet we know very little about them, about the
circumstances of their actual performance or the date of their composition...."
"Seneca's are the only
Latin tragedies to have come down to us complete. Apart from this,
which makes them valuable witnesses to an entire
literary genre, they are also important as
documents of the revival of Latin tragic drama, which took place after
the scarcely successful attempts of Augustan cultural policy to promote a
rebirth of theatrical activity (one event in this program was the production in
29 B.C. of Varius's Thyestes, in which the
anti-tyrannical polemic embodied in the subject may have had Antony for its
target). In the Julio-Claudian period and in the beginning of the Flavian
period, until the Flavians reformed the Senate socially and thereby altered its
political attitude as well, the intellectual senatorial elite seems actually to
have turned to tragic drama--Persius [34 -
62 C.E.], Lucan [39 - 65 C.E.], and others had written
tragedies--as the literary form most suitable for expressing its opposition to
the regime (Latin tragedy, taking up and glorifying
an aspect already basic to classical Greek tragedy, had always been strongly
influenced by republicanism and the hatred of tyranny)." .
'In the case of
nearly all of Seneca's tragedies, as was
said, we have the corresponding Greek
[tragedies] originals; through
comparison we can assess his stance towards them. Compared with the stance taken
by the early Latin tragedians, Seneca's shows greater independence (after the
great age of Augustus, Latin literature no longer limits itself to
"translating," but regards itself as equal to Greek, in free rivalry with it), and yet at the
same time it presupposes a continuous relation with the original, which Seneca contaminates, restructures, and
rationalizes in its dramatic approach. The
relation with the Greek originals, even though direct, is mediated nonetheless
through the filter of Latin taste and the Latin tradition....' .
from: Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean, Greece and
Rome, Edited by Michael Grant and Rachel Kitzinger, Three Volumes,
Volume III, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988.
"More than any other ancient
philosophical writer, Seneca insists that slaves are fellow human beings, who
should be treated with the same respect as any other human being. Insofar as we are subject to passion, Seneca argues, we are
the real slaves, not the persons who have been bought." .
has enjoyed great popularity over the centuries, his reputation has been clouded
by the charge of hypocrisy. He claims in
his writings that virtue is the supreme and indeed only good, and that wealth
and power make no difference to happiness; and he extols poverty and the simple
life. Yet Seneca seems to have been strangely tolerant of Nero's murders and
other abuses and he himself secured great power and amassed great wealth.
In defense of Seneca, it may be said that
he used his influence at court to curb Nero's excesses and left the court when
he could no longer do so. Seneca's praise of the simple life, moreover, seems
sincere. Seneca suffered a long period of deprivation when he was in exile, and
he knew that he might at any time be deprived of all his influence and
possessions. He prepares and consoles himself for this eventuality by contending
that adversity is not an evil." [1644-1645]. [See: 1609; etc.].
[See (some "defense" of Seneca, via the words of
Seneca): Seneca Moral Essays ["Dialogues" (xi)] [see 1614], "To Gallio ["elder brother of Seneca" (98), mentioned in Acts 18:12-17 [see 1586, 1588,
1595]] On the Happy Life" (98-179)].
"SENECA WAS THE LAST MAJOR
ROMAN WRITER OF THE PAGAN ERA TO WRITE PHILOSOPHY IN LATIN. The period
of pagan Latin philosophical writing was short, but fruitful. Lucretius [c. 100-90 - c. 55-53 B.C.E.] gave the
impetus with his poetry, and Cicero [106 -
43 B.C.E.] and Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65
C.E.] responded by developing a philosophical rhetoric in prose. Each of the
three writers succeeded in creating a distinctively Roman philosophy, having
relevance to Roman society."  [End of entry]
from: Seneca in English, Edited by Don Share,
Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], statesman, philosopher, advocate and
man of letters, was born at Cordoba in Spain around 4 BC. He rose to prominence
in Rome, pursuing a career in the courts and political life, for which he had
been trained, while also acquiring celebrity as an author of tragedies and
essays. Falling foul of successive emperors (Caligula in AD 39 and Claudius in AD 41), he spent eight years in exile,
allegedly for an affair with Caligula's sister. Recalled in AD 49, he was made
praetor and was appointed tutor to the boy who was to become, in AD 54, the
emperor Nero. On Nero's [Emperor 54 - 68
(37 - 68) succession, Seneca acted for some eight years as an unofficial chief
minister. The early part of this reign was remembered as a period of sound
government, for which the main credit seems due to Seneca. His control
over Nero declined as enemies turned the emperor against him with
representations that his popularity made him a danger, or with accusations of
immorality or excessive wealth. Retiring from
public life he devoted his last three years to philosophy and writing,
particularly the Letters to Lucilius. In
AD 65, following the discovery of a plot against the emperor, in which he was
thought to be implicated, he and many others were compelled by Nero to commit
suicide. His fame as an essayist and dramatist
lasted until two or three centuries ago, when he passed into literary
oblivion, from which the twentieth century has seen a considerable recovery."
"Envied by Caligula [Emperor 37 - 41 (12 - 41)], exiled by
Claudius [Emperor 41 - 54 (10 B.C.E. - 54
C.E.)] and finally executed by his pupil Nero, the playwright and philosopher Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) wrote in a violent, epigrammatic and
extreme style which has often seemed excessive to those living in calmer times.
Yet it was from
him [Seneca] that Shakespeare [1564 - 1616] and his contemporaries adapted some of the crucial elements
of their tragedies: the general atmosphere of lust, fatalism and murder; the
vengeful ghosts crying out for blood; the heroes facing death with unflinching
resolve; even the basic five-act structure. His works were imitated by
writers ranging from Jonson to Johnson, from Milton to Marvell, and, in our own
turbulent century, they have also inspired T.S. Eliot, Robert Lowell and Ted
Hughes. This superb selection of translations,
adaptations and variations opens in the 1550s, focuses on the Renaissance and
closes in the 1990s, vividly demonstrating Seneca's powerful, continuing
presence in English poetry." [back cover].
from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
Church, Oxford, 1997.
"Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
(c. 4 BC-AD 65), Roman moralist and tragic poet. The son of a
rhetorician of Córdoba, prob. of Italian descent, he embarked on a senatorial
career at Rome, but was banished by the Emp.
Claudius to Corsica (41-9) and then, through the influence of the
Empress Agrippina, recalled to become
tutor to her son, the future Emp. *Nero. After Nero's accession in 54, Seneca was the chief adviser of state, but he lost
favour, retired from public life in 62, and in 65 he was charged with complicity
in Piso's conspiracy and forced to take his own life.
His [Seneca] brother *Gallio [c. 5 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] (q.v.) is mentioned in Acts 18:12
[see 1584, 1588] (this is very amusing!
compare: "the Passion narratives
of Mt 27; Mk 15; Lk 23; Jn 18-19." (Dict.
Bible, McKenzie, 677)).
Dramatis personae ("cast of characters") (in
these ["the Passion narratives"; Acts] formulas for Fictions!):
"Jesus [a Fictional character]"; "Paul [a Fictional
character]": "good guys" (pushing their religious business [see 1599
Jews: "bad guys".
Pilate (Prefect); Gallio
(Proconsul): beleaguered Roman officials ("just trying to do their jobs")].
Seneca was the author of
several surviving tragedies, prob. of the Apocolocyntosis (a skit on the *apotheosis ["deification", etc.] [see Addition 21,
1078-1079, 1082, 1085-1086, 1091, 1104] of the late
Emp. Claudius), of essays couched as letters to his friend Lucilius [? (see 1615-1624)], and of
various treatises (some now lost); both the treatises and the letters are mostly
concerned with ethics, but some bear on physics,
psychology, and logic. Seneca was a professed Stoic, though he took some ideas
from other schools, and his writings are one of the
chief sources of our knowledge of Stoicism. Both ancient and modern
critics have contrasted their moral austerity with his life as a very rich man
and a courtier ready to preserve his influence by compromise. Apart from his
letters, perhaps the most notable of his writings are the De Clementia, outlining his ideal of the good emperor,
and the De Beneficiis, which examines in detail
our duty to do good to others and to requite benefits received. The Stoic morality which he mediated has often since
*Lactantius [c. 240 - 320] been compared
and contrasted with that of Christianity.
There is also in existence an apocryphal correspondence of 14 letters between
Seneca (8 letters) and St *Paul
(6 letters). Their commonplace
manner and colourless style show that they cannot be the work either of the
moralist or of St Paul. They are prob. the same letters as those
known to St *Jerome [c. 347 - c. 420] (De Vir. III. 12), who on the strength of them reckons
Seneca a Christian, and to St *Augustine [354 - 430] (Ep. 153. 14), though some critics have denied the
identification and assigned the extant letters to a much later date. The oldest
MSS date from the 9th cent., and the text is transmitted in a corrupt state."
 [Bibliography follows].
from: Seneca the Philosopher and His Modern
Message, Richard Mott Gummere, Cooper Square Publishers, 1963.
is, without doubt, one of the world's wise
men, as Emerson [Ralph Waldo
Emerson 1803 - 1882] testifies: "Make your own
Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your
reading have been to you like the blast of triumph out of Shakespeare [see 1585], Seneca, Moses, John and Paul."' [xvi].
'By the year 60,
therefore, SENECA [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]
WAS, in the words of the Elder Pliny [23 -
79 C.E.], "THE LEADER IN LETTERS AND THE LEADER IN
GOVERNMENT." He [SENECA] INTERPRETED THE LAWS AND ADMINISTERED THE [ROMAN]
STATE, wisely leaving military matters to
his trusted friend Burrus
Afranius (d. AD 62), praetorian prefect (51-62) and, with Seneca, the chief adviser of the Roman emperor
Nero (reigned 54-68)." (Encyc. Brit.)].' .
"II. Seneca: His
Upon Pagan Rome
Mr. Ferrero [Guglielmo Ferrero 1871 - 1943] has frequently pointed out the resemblance between the
early Roman Empire and the United States of to-day [see: Ancient Rome and Modern America, Guglielmo Ferrero,
1914]. He has shown how their finance, commerce, public works, public opinion,
and, along certain lines, government, bear a similar relation to one another,
and to the community at large. Society was cosmopolitan and yet uniform; opinion
was more or less traditional. We shall see that Seneca ran contrary to, or ahead of, current ideas in his
philosophy, in his style, and in his view of the state,--that he was a
popular figure in these activities and yet provoked opposition among those who
accepted the old order as worth continuing. Hence at first he was a sort of east
wind among the sluggish thinkers of his time. But he knew his Rome better than
most native-born Romans knew her. He took the encyclopaedic, the eclectic view.
He [Seneca] felt the pulse of coming ages better than court
rhetoricians (though he was one himself),
better than historians, better than the conservatives of his day...."
"Seneca adapted the
language of the business world to the artificial style of the scholar and man of
It was exactly this habit
to which three of his critics objected. One was a college professor
[Quintilian c. 35 - c. 100 C.E. (see 1581,
1601, 1609)], one an antiquary, and one a courtier,--all of them professionals,
so to speak. Seneca was an amateur [?]." .
'Seneca was a Stoic, and STOICISM WAS THE
PORCH [STOA? (see Addition 26, 1239-1241)] TO CHRISTIANITY [see 1568]. Then, as now, it
was the thought-force that lay nearest to our inspirational religion. It was Stoicism which made the Christian fathers claim
Seneca as one of their own, which made St.
Paul quote [Acts 17:28] Aratus
[fl. c. 315 - c. 245 B.C.E. (Macedonia) (www.britannica.com)] to the Athenians
as one "in whom we live and move and have our being."' .
M. Victor Cousin 1792 - 1867] tells us that ALL
PHILOSOPHIES CHANGE IN A REGULAR CYCLE OF SENSATIONALISM, IDEALISM, SCEPTICISM,
AND MYSTICISM. The essence of the Stoic philosophy is its combination of these four
phases, and this explains its consequent lasting power [compare: the
"lasting power" of Christianism ("Christianity")]." [55-56].
'The allusions, in Seneca's
Epistles alone, to a single deity, would be
sufficient to strike a Church Father with a kinship of common interests and
beliefs. Many a Pagan philosopher had made God more unified and
personal. Epictetus [c. 55 - c. 135 C.E.]
had said: "God is within, and your daemon is
within," often bearing witness to concentrated divinity rather than to
the polytheism of his predecessors. Plato
[c. 428 - 348 or 347 B.C.E.] himself tended in that direction: Socrates [c. 470 - 399 B.C.E.] and his Holy Guide
are very near to the Christian soul. But Seneca said the same thing in a manner which these
Romans could understand and apply: "God is near
you, he is with you....A holy spirit indwells within us, one who marks our good
and bad deeds, and is our guardian." Or, "Why should you not believe that something of divinity
exists in one who is a part of God? All this universe which encompasses us is
one, and it is God; we are associates of God; we are his members:"--fundamental Stoic doctrine no doubt, but clothed in
Christian language [No! Not "Christian
language"! The language of Seneca!]....' .
"Many...early Christians, scholars trained in the
classic school, felt the charm of the old pagan writings, as St. Augustine [354 - 430] [see 1591-1599], for
example, was ravished by the beauty of Cicero's [106 - 43 B.C.E.] [see #2, 19, 104.] Hortensius and by the romance of Dido's [from the
Aeneid of Virgil (possible Phoenician origins) (for a superb discussion,
including reference to the Virgin Mary, see: Myth,
Facts On File, c1996, 150-152)] tragic end. Minucius Felix [died c. 250], the first Roman who
holds a literary brief for Christianity, consciously and unconsciously echoes
Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]; and
Lactantius [c. 240 - 320] patterns one of
his themes upon the opening of the De Providentia,
wherein the world-old question is discussed: why
the wise man who is captain of his own soul is compelled to suffer affliction
while the baser sort go scot-free. This question had been asked by
Job and the
Psalmist, and repeated itself down through Fénelon and the great French preachers. It was Seneca's modern and forward-looking note that
appealed to the early Church; and that is perhaps why they passed over the heads
of pagan saints like Epictetus [c. 50 - c. 130] and selected our philosopher [Seneca] as their advocate in
the foreign ranks." [66-67].
'Another connection is Seneca's brother Gallio [c. 5 B.C.E. - 65
C.E.], the Gallio of Acts 18, 11 -17
[see 1584, 1586, 1595],
who on a famous occasion decided that "these matters
were out of his province." the gentle and popular Gallio, Governor of the
Greek province of Achaia from 51 to 52
A.D., presided at the court before which St.
Paul appeared as a defendant, accused of illegal religious practices.'
'Before proceeding to outline further the influence of
this versatile Spanish Roman [Seneca] upon
later generations I shall quote his famous
lines13 ["13. Ad Paul. de Brev. Vit.
["Ad Pavlinvm De Brevitae Vitae" ("To Paulinus
["Paulinus was praefectus annonae, the official
who superintended the grain supply of Rome" (see 1614, Basore, 286)] on the Shortness of Life"), 14 f." ] upon the joy of reading:
[Seneca] "The only
men in the world who are really at leisure, and really living, are those devoted
to the study of wisdom. Indeed, they are not only guardians of their own
careers, but they are adding all eternity to their store; whatever years have
gone before them, are to be counted as their property. And unless we are most
unappreciative, those noble pioneers in high thinking were born for our benefit
and fashioned their lives for our sakes. We are brought to consider things of
the greatest worth which have been dug up from darkness into daylight by the
effort of others; to no period of history are we forbidden access, and we are
admitted everywhere. If by greatness of soul we may pass beyond the narrow
confines of human frailty, we have unlimited time through which we may course.
We may share in the thoughts of all philosophers. And since the universe allows us to go into partnership
with all the ages, why, in this tiny and fleeting state of transition should we
not give ourselves wholeheartedly to the things which are unbounded, eternal,
and to be shared with our betters?...Shall we not say that men are engaged upon
real duties who wish to be on the most intimate terms with the thinkers of past
ages? Every one of these will give you his attention; every one of these will
send you away happier and more devoted; no one of them will allow you to depart
empty-handed from his presence. They can be found by night or by day, and by
anyone who wishes.
"None of them will compel you to die, and yet all of
them can teach you how to die. None will wear your
life out, but will give their own lives to you. It will not harm you to
chat with them, nor will their friendship mean death to you or their association
expense to you. Gifts they will give you,--whatever you will; they will not be
responsible for your satisfaction being less than your craving. What happiness
and what a noble old age abides for one who has given himself into their
patronage! He will have friends with whom to converse on things small or great,
whom he may call into council daily, from whom he may hear the truth without
insult, praise without flattery, according to whose image he may pattern
"These souls will show you
the path to immortality and will raise you to heights from which no one
is cast down....Anything will be destroyed by the flight of time; but harm can
never come to that which wisdom has hallowed."' [78-80].
[See: 1590 (Osler)].
"It is therefore on grounds
of great sympathy, as well as through resemblance to Christian
sentiments [which came first: the sentiments of Seneca, or, the
sentiments of proto-Christians? My guess: Seneca!],
that the church
[meaning? My guess: some people "embraced Seneca"]
embraced Seneca. He had approached the theme of sin
and suffering and righteousness in a more human spirit than Cicero's sages or
indeed than any leader of previous pagan philosophy and religion,
save only Socrates [c. 470 - 399 B.C.E.]."
. [End of chapter III].
'We have seen enough to draw a conclusion regarding the
qualities of Seneca which appealed to pioneers in thought and in religion.
The Roman moralist [Seneca] had been singled out by
the early church as a pagan champion of Christianity; he was taken over by them
as a kindred spirit, as one whose flexible catholicity pointed forward to ages
unborn rather than backward to classical models. We note his appeal to
Dante [1265 - 1321] the medieval leader,
to Chaucer [c. 1342 - 1400] the first
modern Englishman, to Petrarch [1304 -
1374] the apostle of humanism. And all this, much as it is, takes second place
when compared with the ways in which he [Seneca] is regarded
by Montaigne [1533 - 1592] [see
"THE FIRST PERSON
[SENECA]," as Hazlitt remarked, "WHO HAD THE
COURAGE TO SAY AS AN AUTHOR WHAT HE FELT AS A MAN."' .
'Dr. Osler [Sir
William Osler 1849 - 1919], also, joins the throng of Senecans by echoing [?]
the famous passage, already quoted [see 1589], on the joys of reading: "If you are fond of books, you will escape the ennui of
life; you will neither sigh for evening, disgusted with the occupations of the
day, nor will you live dissatisfied with yourself or unprofitable to
"6. A summary of the most
important testimony regarding Seneca may be found as follows: Pliny, N.H., 14. 4; 14. 51. Columella, R.R., 3.3. Juvenal, 5. 109, etc. Ausonius, p. 361 (ed. Peiper). Fronto (ed. Naber) pp. 123, 155-8, 224. Quintilian, 10. 1. 125. Gellius, Noct. Att., 12. 2. 2 ff. Plutarch, Moral., 3.
201 and Galba, 20. Boethius, Cons. Phil., 1 Pref. 3. Macrobius, Sat., 1. 11. 7 ff. A complete story is
found in Tacitus, Ann. 12. 8; 13. 2, 5 ff., 25, 28 ff., 42; 14. 52 ff.;
15. 45, 60 ff. Cf. also Dio, 59. 19; 61.
3-4, etc,; and Suetonius, Calig., Claud., and Nero. Suetonius
is now accessible in the Loeb Library, translated
by J.C. Rolfe; Dio, in the same series, by
E. Cary, is forthcoming." .
from: Augustine [354 - 430] and The Latin
Classics, 2 Volumes in 1 Volume, Harald Hagendahl, ACTA
Universitatis Gothoburgensis, Göteberg, 1967.
This is a work of
philological research on Augustine's knowledge and use of profane Latin
literature. I should like to lay stress on the limitation implied in
the title. It is beyond my scope to enter upon a discussion of theological and
philosophical questions, unless they are so connected with the subject as to
make a reference indispensable." ["9"].
"Augustine's culture was
from beginning to end almost exclusively Latin.1) [ ) = this author's method of footnoting] As a student and teacher of rhetoric he lived, up to the
age of 32, in the literary tradition cherished in the pagan school in the West;
it formed his intellect and left too deep an impression for it ever to be
obliterated. For a right understanding of Augustine the thinker, writer
and controversialist, it is, then, essential to establish, as accurately as
possible, his knowledge of profane Latin authors and works. This is also to be
desired from another point of view.
LIVING IN THE AGE OF
TRANSITION FROM THE DECLINING CIVILIZATION OF ANTIQUITY TO
NEW, IMPOVERISHED FORM OF CIVILIZATION FOUNDED ON CHRISTIANITY,
Augustine became, before
any other Father of the Western Church, a founder of the Christian culture of
the Middle Ages. Hence his attitude towards the old cultural tradition
takes shape as a historical problem of great importance." ["9"-10].
"My work is divided into
two volumes, the first containing the testimonies, the second dealing with
Augustine's attitude towards the authors and their works."
"Without anticipating my results in general, I should
like to make a reserve on one point. Scholars mostly consider Augustine, who was at the same time an upholder of
the tradition of classical culture and the foremost
representative of Western Christianity, as the central figure in the
process of bringing about a compromise and conciliation between the two. Judging
exclusively from Augustine's attitude towards the Latin authors, I have come to
the conclusion that his importance as an intermediary was less considerable than
is generally held. But I lay stress on the fact that I do not intend to give my
views on the question in its entirety, the less so as the most important factor,
the influence of Neo-Platonic [see 1540] thought, is beyond the scope of this
Finally I mention a question of great consequence that
claims our attention. [first] Did
Augustine live all his life on reminiscences of what he learned in his
young days, as some scholars assert, and consequently quote the classics from
memory, or did he ["second"] read them again, enlarge his bookknowledge
[sic], look up the passages when writing, in short,
work in a scholarly way? To me, there is no
doubt but that the second alternative is the true one. It can, I think, be
proved by the chronological distribution of the testimonies and by the
interferences to be drawn from their form. In this connection much attention
will naturally be given to Augustine's method of quotation and his literary
technique."  [End of Introduction].
'2. Philosophy: Seneca
towards Seneca is rather
enigmatical. Earlier Christian writers had a high esteem for the philosopher
[Seneca]. Tertullian talked of Seneca saepe noster,2)
Minucius Felix used him (without naming
him),3) Lactantius was of the opinion that the could have
become a Christian, if he had been given instruction.4) Jerome
placed him in catalogo sanctorum (vir. ill. 12) because of the pretended correspondence between
him and the apostle Paul, a Christian
forgery,5) and made extensive use of De matrimonio [not extant (see 1627)] in the polemical
pamphlet against Iovinianus.1) When criticized
by Rufinus because of his boastful
references to Greek poets and philosophers he [Jerome] admitted that he knew of them only from
Latin authors, among them Seneca.2) In view of
this statement it is a puzzling fact that he
[Jerome] seems to have drawn next to
nothing from other works of Seneca's than De
Augustine mentions Seneca
only a few times and in a way that does not go to show that he was well
acquainted with him
[I disagree! Augustine's
statement ["[Faustus] had read some of the speeches of Cicero, a very few books of Seneca" (see 1594)] is one major clue. See the above paragraph ("it is a puzzling fact"). See etc.].
The two quotations from the tragedies are anonymous,
ascribed to quidam eorum tragicus, resp. quidam (see Chap. IV p. 476 f.). When quoting Seneca's translation (epist. 107, 10-11) of Cleanthes' lines, he is not quite certain about
the author: Annaei Senecae sunt, ni fallor, hi
versus (civ. V. 8, test. 594). Talking to the
Manichean leader Faustus' scanty
bookknowledge he mentions aliquas Tullianas orationes
et paucissimos Senecae libros et nonnulla poetarum et suae sectae (conf. V. 6, II, test. 54). For the rest, Seneca's name appears only in connection with a
hint at the surreptitious correspondence with the apostle Paul, epist.
153, 14 Seneca qui temporibus apostolorum fuit, cuius
etiam quaedam ad Paulum apostolum leguntur epistulae; civ. VI. 10 Annaeus Seneca, quem nonnullis indiciis invenimus
apostolorum nostrorum claruisse temporibus. There is no doubt that Augustine is indebted to Jerome for this information.4)....' [676-677].
[See (not presented): "Vol.
I. Testimonia", "Seneca Philosophus", 245-249].
from: The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation,
Volume 20, Saint Augustine [354 - 430], Letters, Volume III (131 - 164), translated
by Sister Wilfrid Parsons, S.N.D., The Catholic University of America Press,
Washington, D.C., 1965 (c1953) (written: "386 - 430": from:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jod/twayne/twaynebib.html: "The surviving works of Augustine comprise a little over
five million words"
(James J. O'Donnell, U. Penn.)).
"[Letter] 153. Augustine, bishop, servant of Christ and of his household,
gives greeting in the Lord to his beloved son, Macedonius (414)" .
"[Letter 153.] Well was it said by SENECA,22 [see
footnote, below] A CONTEMPORARY OF THE APOSTLES,
SEVERAL OF WHOSE LETTERS23 [see
footnote, below] TO THE APOSTLE PAUL ARE
EXTANT: 'He who hates bad men hates all men.'24 Yet, bad men are to be loved, so that they may not
continue to be bad, just as sick men are to be loved so that they may not remain
sick, but may be cured." .
"22 Latin writer and Stoic philosopher (A.D. 265). His Moral Essays [see 1615-1624] commended him to early
Christian authorities and led to the belief that he had known St. Paul.
23 REGARDED BY MODERN
CRITICISM AS PIOUS FORGERIES." .
from: The Fathers of the Church, Volume 21, Saint Augustine [354 - 430], Confessions,
translated by Vernon J. Bourke, Ph.D., The Catholic University of America Press,
Washington, D.C., 1966 (c1953) (written: "397 ( - 401?)").
|"Book Five: Teaching in Rome and Milan" ||[xxiii] |
|"[Chapter] 6 Faustus is unable to answer Augustine's questions 110" ||[xxiii]|
| "Chapter 6|
number. see: Confessions, Chadwick, Oxford, 1998
(1992), xxvi]) During almost nine of these years, in which, as my mind strayed
from truth, I listened to these people ["Manichees" (translation by Chadwick)],
I was looking forward with an ardent desire to the advent of this Faustus [contemporary of Augustine [354 - 430]].
For, the others among them ["Manichees" (Chadwick)], with whom I had chance
encounters, were unable to deal with my questions about such things, and they
promised me that he would very easily give a quite clear explanation of these
things, when he arrived and joined in the oral discussion, and of even greater
ones which I might ask.
And so, when he [Faustus] did come, I perceived that he was a
pleasing man, using charming language, and discoursing more smoothly about those
same things ["Manichean arguments" (translation by Pine-Coffin)] of which the
others customarily spoke. But, what help was it to my thirst for more precious
drinks that the cupbearer was most comely? My ears were already filled with such
things ["tales" (Pine-Coffin)], nor did they seem better to me because they were
better expressed, nor true because elegantly expressed; nor was the soul wise
because the face was handsome or the speech graceful. Those people who had
promised him to me were not good judges of things; hence, what made him appear
prudent and wise was the way he delighted them when he spoke....
[(11)] I [Augustine] found at once that the man [Faustus] was acquainted, among the liberal arts,
only with grammar, and that in a very ordinary way. Also, that he [FAUSTUS] HAD READ SOME OF THE SPEECHES OF CICERO, A VERY FEW BOOKS OF SENECA, some of
the poets, and whatever treatises of his own sect had been written in Latin and
in literary style. Moreover, that his daily practice in speaking endowed him
with an eloquence which grew more attractive and more seductive through his
control of his talent and a certain natural charm.
Is not that my recollection of it, O Lord my God, Judge
of my conscience? My heart and my remembrance are open before Thee,30 who didst move me at that time by the hidden
mystery of Thy providence and even then turn my shameful errors before my face
so that I might see and hate them." [110-111] [End of Chapter
from: St Augustine
[354 - 430], Concerning, The City of God, against the Pagans,
translated by Henry Bettenson, Penguin, 1984 (1972) (1467) (written: "413 -
"10. Seneca's frankness in
criticizing 'civil' theology more vigorously than Varro denounced the
Varro lacked the frankness
and courage to criticize the theology of the city with the same freedom he
showed towards the theology of the theatre, which resembled it so
closely. Annaeus Seneca had those
qualities in some degree, if not in full measure. That is he had them in his
writing; but he failed to display them in his life.
SENECA (who I
suppose, on good evidence, to have been at the height of his fame in the time of
our apostles)42 [see footnote, below] wrote a
SUPERSTITIONS.43 [see footnote,
below] In it he attacked this 'civil' theology, the theology of the city, in
much greater detail, and with much greater vehemence than Varro had used against
the 'fabulous' theology of the theatre. Thus, on the subject of images, he
They dedicate images representing sacred, immortal,
inviolable beings in base, inert matter; they give them the shapes of men, of
wild beasts, or of fishes; some make bi-sexual gods, having bodies with
incongruous characteristics. And they give the name of divinities to those
images, though they would be classed as monsters if they suddenly came to life.
[[footnotes] "42. Seneca (cf. Bk v, 8n.) was certainly contemporary with the apostles; his elder
brother, Gallio, encountered St Paul in Corinth in A.D. 52 (Acts 18, 12
[see 1584, 1586, 1588]).
correspondence (of unutterable banality) between Seneca and Paul is extant (trans. in M.R.
James, Apocryphal New Test.); and, as we know from Jerome (De. Vir. III., 12) and from St
Augustine himself (Ep., 153, 14) it was accepted as authentic and widely read, in the FOURTH CENTURY. Many others besides Jerome
believed that Seneca was at least sympathetic to Christianity.
43. NOT EXTANT."]
Somewhat later, he [Seneca] speaks in praise of 'NATURAL' THEOLOGY, and sets out the opinions of some of the
philosophers. He then confronts himself with a question. 'At this point,' he
says, 'someone asks, "Am I to believe that the sky and the earth are gods? And
that some gods live above the moon and some below? Am I to bear patiently with Plato, who proposed a god
without a body
[compare: "We thus arrive at the paradoxical conception
of God as a gaseous
vertebrate." (Ernst Haeckel
[1834 - 1919], The Riddle of the Universe,
Prometheus, 1992 (German 1899) (a Classic!), 288)];
or Strato,44 ["44. Strato 'was called Physicus because he held that all divine
power was situated in nature, which possesses the causes of birth, growth, and
diminution, while it lacks any shape or sensibility' (Cic., De Nat. Deor., 1, 13, 35). Strato succeeded Theophrastus as
head of the Peripatetic school in 288 B.C."]
the Peripatetic, who
suggested a god without a soul?"' Seneca then replies, 'Do you really
suppose that the dreams of Titus Tatius,
or Romulus, or Tullus Hostilius, were nearer to the truth? Tatius dedicated a
statue to the goddess Cloacina;45 ["45. cf. Bk
IV, 8n."] Romulus to Picus and Tiberinus. Hostilius made divinities of Panic and
Pallor,46 ["46. "Picus, Tiberinus: cf Bk
IV, 23n.; Panic, Pallor: cf. Bk IV, 15."] the most unpleasant
conditions of human beings; the one being the emotion of a terrified mind, the
other not even a disease, but merely a change of complexion. Are you more
inclined to believe in these deities, and to give them a place in heaven?'
Seneca was quite outspoken
about the cruel obscenity of some of the ceremonies:
One man cuts off his male organs: another gashes his
arms. If this is the way they earn the favour of the gods, what happens when
they fear their anger? The gods do not deserve any kind of worship, if this is
the worship they desire. So extreme is the frenzy of a mind disturbed and
toppled from its throne, that the gods are appeased by rites which surpass the
savagery of the foulest of mankind, whose cruelty has passed into legend.
Tyrants have sometimes lacerated men's limbs: they have never ordered men to
lacerate themselves. Men have been gelded to serve a monarch's lustful pleasure;
but no one has ever unmanned himself with his own hands, at the bidding of his
master. Men gash themselves in the temples, and offer their wounds and their
blood as a supplication. If anyone had the time to notice what those people do
and what they have done to them, he would discover things so unbecoming for men
of honour, so unworthy of freemen, so incongruous for men of sane mind, that no
one would hesitate to call them mad, if there were not so many sharing the same
frenzy. As it is, THEIR TITLE TO SANITY RESTS ON
THE MULTITUDE OF THE APPARENTLY INSANE.
He [Seneca] goes
on to recount the ceremonies habitually observed in the Capitol itself, and he
exposes them without the slightest reserve. No one would believe, he implies,
that those were performed by any but lunatics--unless it were in a spirit of
mockery. He [Seneca] himself speaks in derision of THE MOURNING FOR OSIRIS47
["47. Osiris. The Egyptian
myth described him as a king who brought civilization to his people; but he was
murdered and his body dissected by his wicked brother Set. Isis, his sister and
wife, collected his remains and buried them, and then, with her son Horus, took
revenge on Set. Osiris becomes the god of the dead, and through Horus
(identified with the Sun) the source of new life. Osiris' incarnation in the
bull Apis suggests that he essentially represents the male generative power."]
IN THE EGYPTIAN
MYSTERIES, FOLLOWED SOON BY THE JOY AT HIS
FINDING, since BOTH THE LOSS AND THE
DISCOVERY ARE FICTITIOUS, and yet THE
GRIEF, AND THE JOY, ARE EXPRESSED WITH EVERY APPEARANCE OF GENUINE
EMOTION BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEITHER LOST
NOR FOUND ANYTHING [compare: THE JESUS
STORY]. Seneca adds,
But at least this delirium has a limited period; it is
allowable to go mad once a year. If you go to the Capitol, you will be ashamed
at the demented performances presented to the public, which frivolous lunacy
looks upon in the light of a duty. Jupiter has someone to announce the names of
his callers; another to tell him the time; he has an attendant to wash him,
another to oil him, and this one merely goes through the motions with his hands.
There are women to do the hair of Juno and Minerva; these stand at a distance
not only from the statues, but from the temple, and move their fingers like
hairdressers, while others hold up a looking-glass. You find people praying the
gods to stand bail for them; others handing them their writs and explaining
their law cases. A leading pantomime actor of great experience, grown old and
decrepit, used to put on his act every day on the Capitol, as if the gods still
took pleasure in his performance now that human beings had abandoned him.
Craftsmen of all kinds hang about the place waiting to do some work for the
Soon afterwards, Seneca
At least the services they offer are not indecent or
dishonourable, though they may be superfluous. But there are some women who
haunt the Capitol in the belief that Jupiter is in love with them: and they are
not deterred by the thought of Juno's jealous anger, which (if one is to believe
the poets) can be formidable!
Here we have a freedom of
speech such as Varro [116 - 27 B.C.E. (see #24, 532)] did not display. He [Varro] could only
bring himself to criticize POETIC
THEOLOGY [apparently, "theology of the theatre" (see 1595)]; he did not dare find fault with 'civil', which Seneca
cut to pieces. Yet,
IF WE REALLY WANT THE
TRUTH, THE TEMPLES WHERE THOSE RITES GO ON ARE WORSE
THAN THE THEATRES WHERE THOSE FICTIONS [see #1, 1] ARE ENACTED [compare: 1606-1608].
Hence, in the rites of 'CIVIL' THEOLOGY [apparently, "theology of the city" (see
1595)] the role chosen by Seneca for the wise man is to simulate conformity in
act while having no religious attachment. This is what he says: 'The wise man
will observe all these customs as being ordered by law, not as acceptable to the
gods.' And, a little later,
[Seneca] And what
of the marriages we arrange among the gods, including the blasphemy of unions
between brothers and sisters? We give Bellona to Mars, Venus to Vulcan,
Salacia48 ["48. cf. Bk IV, 11."] to Neptune. We
leave some of the gods as bachelors, for lack, one assumes, of suitable matches.
There are, to be sure, some unattached females available, such as Populonia,
Fulgora,49 ["49. Populonia occurs as an epithet
of Juno, as protectress against devastation (populari = 'to devastate'). Perhaps Fulgora describes her as guarding against lightning
(fulgor)."] and Rumina;50 ["50. cf. Bk IV, 11n."] but it is not surprising
that no suitors were forthcoming for them.
THAT UNDISTINGUISHED MOB OF GODS WHICH LONG-STANDING SUPERSTITION HAS AMASSED
OVER THE CENTURIES, WILL RECEIVE OUR WORSHIP; BUT WE SHALL BEAR IN MIND THAT
THEIR CULT IS A MATTER OF CUSTOM, HAVING LITTLE CONNECTION
WITH TRUTH [see #23, 482-483 (Gods) (Mencken)].
Thus, what the laws and
custom established in 'civil'
theology is not what was acceptable to the gods, nor anything related to reality. But Seneca,
who had been, as it were, emancipated by the philosophers, but who was also an
illustrious senator of the Roman people, worshipped what he criticized,
performed acts which he reprehended, venerated what he condemned. Doubtless philosophy had taught him an important lesson,
that he should not be superstitious in his conception of the physical
universe; but, because of the laws of the
country and the accepted customs, he also learnt that without playing an actor's
part in theatrical fictions, he should imitate such a performance in the
temple. This was to take a line the more reprehensible in that he acted this
insincere part in such a way as to lead people to believe him sincere
[Augustine, annoying!]. The stage-player on the other hand, only aims at giving
pleasure by his performance; he has no desire to mislead or deceive his
11. Seneca's opinion of the Jews
Besides criticizing the superstitions of 'civil'
theology, Seneca attacks the rites of the Jews, and the Sabbath in
particular. He maintains that the Sabbath is a harmful institution,
since by the interposition of this one day in seven they practically lose a
seventh part of their life in inactivity, and they suffer by having to put off
urgent tasks. As for the Christians, who were at that time already bitterly
opposed to the Jews, he did not dare to mention them for good or ill--not
wishing to praise them in defiance of the ancient traditions of his country, nor
to criticize them against (it may be) his personal feelings. It is in speaking of the Jews that he [Seneca] says: 'The customs of
this detestable race have become so prevalent that they have been adopted in
almost all the world. The vanquished have imposed their laws on the
conquerors.' He expresses his surprise when he says this, and he [Seneca] shows his ignorance of the ways of God's working
in adding a remark in which he reveals what he thought about the Jewish ritual
system: 'At least they [Jews] know the
origins of their ceremonies: the greater part of our people have no idea of the
reason for the things they do.' [see: Addition 15, 958-1002; Addition
16, 1008-1010 (Mencken)]
The questions that arise about the Jewish religious
practices, why, and to what extent, they have been established by divine
authority, and afterwards taken over, with divine approval, by the people of
God, to whom the mystery of eternal life has been revealed--these questions
I [Augustine] have treated in other places, and in
particular in my books against the
Manicheans.51 ["51. Adv. Faust. Man., ch. 6;7."] And I shall have more to say on this
topic at a more convenient moment in this present work." [248-252].
from: #2, 19, 104.: 'He [Augustine 354 - 430 C.E.] recounts that he had to
completely alter his own linguistic assumptions and his taste for the "stately
prose of Cicero," in order to accommodate
the seemingly VULGAR, CHILDLIKE
LANGUAGE OF SCRIPTURE.9 Are these not, he asks himself, SIMPLY "LITERARY" FABLES like the "immoral stories" he and his
fellow churchmen object to in pagan literature?'
[See: 1586 (Dramatis
from: Guide to the Thought of Lucius Annaeus
Seneca, In the Extant Prose Works--Epistulae
Morales, the Dialogi [Moral
Essays (see 1614)], De Beneficiis, De Clementia, and Quaestiones
Naturales, by Anna Lydia Motto, Amsterdam, Adolf M. Hakkert,
'It has sometimes been asserted against Seneca
that he too much abounds in Stoic
commonplaces and is lacking in "depth of thought." The present Sourcebook should make trenchantly clear the
wide range, the variety, and the deliberate eclecticism of his thought.
WITH A FRANKNESS, INDIVIDUALISM, AND INSIGHT
UNUSUAL IN ANY AGE, SENECA WAS WILLING TO CONFRONT EVERY HUMAN VIRTUE AND
EVERY HUMAN WEAKNESS--INCLUDING HIS OWN. With the present
arrangement and display of his essential thought, Seneca will have to
stand on his own.--He assuredly can.
June 1969 A.L.M.
[Anna Lydia Motto]' [ix].
Seneca culls his
precepts from every form of doctrine with impartial appreciation.
A careful reading of his extant prose works reveals eclecticism as the
distinguishing mark of his philosophy. He writes:
Disputare cum Socrate licet, dubitare cum
Carneade, cum Epicuro quiescere, hominis
naturam cum Stoicis vincere, cum Cynicis
[I can dispute with Socrates, doubt with
Carneades, find peace with Epicurus, conquer
human nature with the Stoics, exceed it with the Cynics.]
And so it was. BY EMBRACING
THE ETHICAL PRECEPTS OF ALL GREAT THINKERS, SENECA CREATED HIS OWN MORAL
'Although he allied himself with the school of Stoics, as that philosophy best suited to
discipline the self at the same time that it served one's fellow-men, and
accorded with Nature and Providence,3 yet
it was his [Seneca] constant
practice to pass freely from one school to another and to take the thoughts
which suited him wherever he might find them.4 For SENECA WAS NO
SECTARIAN DOGMATIST, BUT RATHER A DISCIPLE OF TRUTH.
Non ibo per priorum vestigia? Ego vero utar |
via vetere, sed si propiorem planioremque invenero,
hanc muniam. Qui ante nos ista moverunt, non
domini nostri, sed duces sunt. Patet omnibus
veritas, nondum est occupata. Multum ex illa
etiam futuris relictum est. 5
[Shall I not tread in the footsteps of my prede-
cessors? I shall, in truth, use the old road, but
if I come upon one that is shorter and easier, I
shall secure it. Men who discovered those paths
before us are not our masters, but our guides.
Truth lies open to all, it has not yet been wholly appropri-
ated. There is also a great deal of it left for
posterity to explore.]
[compare: "objectivity"; "progress" (see 1625)]
To attempt to find in
Seneca's writings fixed and unalterable dogmatic principles is to expect more
than he [Seneca] desired to give.
Quintilian [c. 35 - c. 100 C.E. (see 1581,
1587, 1609)] has remarked upon his inconsistencies and want of rigorous
method,6 forgetting that his [Seneca] aims
were practical and that he sought more to direct a conscience than to expound a
system. His only concern is to extract practical principles from every field of
'In his writings we
discover Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] not as a rigid [see 1556] Stoic but as a lover of truth--an independent thinker, a
moral philosopher whose precepts are drawn from all the great masters of
Greco-Roman civilization. Seneca will accept truth and sound moral
teaching from any quarter, from Epicurus
[341 - 270 B.C.E.] as readily as from Chrysippus [c. 280 - c. 206 B.C.E.], from Democritus [c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.E.] as from
Zeno [Zeno of Citium c. 335 - c. 263
B.C.E.]. In his prose writings there are
ninety-nine references to ten philosophical sects. There are 545 references to
seventy-five different philosophers. Combining the number of references
to philosophical sects with those to philosophers, we obtain a total of 644 such
|Of this total the schools most frequently mentioned are: |
| Stoic ||67 || times |
| Peripatetic || 9 ||" |
| Epicurean ||7|| " |
| Cynic ||6 ||"
| Academic ||5 ||" |
| Cyrenaic ||1 ||" |
| Eretrian ||1 ||" |
| Megarian|| 1 ||" |
| Pyrrhonian ||1 ||" |
| Pythagorean ||1|| " |
|The individual philosophers most frequently referred to are: |
Epicurus ||64 || times |
Socrates ||49 || " |
| M. Porcius Cato |
| 45 || " |
Plato ||33 || " |
Posidonius ||29 ||" |
Cicero ||25 || " |
Zeno || 23 || " |
Aristotle || 23 ||" |
Chrysippus || 18 ||" |
Democritus ||15 ||" |
Cleanthes || 14 || " |
Demetrius ||12 ||" |
Theophrastus ||12 || " |
tabulation17 shows us the extent of Seneca's eclecticism; it
establishes that he employs the ideas of Stoics and Epicureans more than those
of other schools; indeed these were the two principle schools of thought that
contended for favor in Imperial Rome. To men concerned as Seneca was with the
practical problems of life, there was of necessity much in common between these
two systems. The Stoics believed that virtue was
the highest good; the Epicureans, pleasure. But the "pleasure" which
constituted their summum bonum in life was
something richer than wine, women, and song, something much deeper than the
gluttony and libertinage that later generations ascribed to them.
Epicurean "pleasure" was, rather, moral conduct itself and the art or practice
of living fully, ideally, happily. Since Epicurus taught that it is impossible
to lead a life of pleasure which is not also a life of prudence, honor, and
justice; nor lead a life of prudence, honor, and justice which is not also a
life of pleasure,18 it seems that the Stoic is
almost at one with the Epicurean at last.
The tabulation [see 1602] also demonstrates that Seneca
utilizes individual Stoics of the later
period more than individual Stoics of the earlier period; and finally that he [Seneca] refers to Epicurus more often than to any other
"Seneca ever enjoys an
unexpected turn, a jest, or pun." [xv].
"[Seneca] will commence a letter with a shocking
"Seneca's habit of teasing
even the Stoics." [xvi].
"Nor does Seneca exempt
himself from these comic attacks". [xvi].
"Elsewhere, in spite of all
his advice advocating self-control, contrary to
[Seneca] weeps helplessly at the loss of his friend Serenus
(Ep. LXIII. 14)." [xvi].
'Epicurus is to be the striking example that TRUTH IS
VALID REGARDLESS OF ITS SOURCE:
"Epicurus," inquis, "dixit. Quid tibi cum alieno?"
Quod verum est, meum est. Perseverabo Epicurum tibi
ingerere, ut isti, qui in verba iurant, nec quid
dicatur aestimant, sed a quo, sciant, quae optima
sunt, esse communia. (Ep. XII. II).
[[translation] "Epicurus," you say,
"said this. What have you to do with the philosophy of another
school?" What's truth is mine. I shall continue to heap Epicurus
upon you, so that those, who swear by words and do not value what is
said but who said it, may know that the best thoughts are common
'To be sure, what separates the Stoic from the Epicurean
is the fact that the Stoic does not hesitate to employ shocking, sophistic
paradox; furthermore, he employs it for an active, practical purpose: to win the
attention, to overturn the mind, and to turn it again toward the good. Other
philosophers adopt milder, softer measures, whereas the Stoics are more active, more brazen:
Stoici virilem ingressi viam non ut amoena
ineuntibus videatur curae habent, sed ut quam primum nos eripiat et
in illum editum verticem educat, qui adeo extra omnem teli iactum
surrexit, ut supra fortunam emineat. (De Cons. Sap. I.
[[translation] The Stoics,
having taken the manly road, are not concerned with making it
[compare: Addition 29, 1289 (Einstein)] to us who enter upon it, but
with snatching us as quickly as possible and leading us to that
lofty summit which rises so far beyond the hurling of every missile
that it towers above
Paradoxically enough, Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] has cunningly employed Epicurus [341 - 270 B.C.E.]
to his own artistic and philosophic purposes; and
yet, he cannot be condemned for this stratagem. The very Senecan virtue
is precisely this custom of taking, in Bacon's [Francis Bacon 1561 - 1626] words,
"all knowledge to be his province,"27 and of bringing that knowledge actively to bear
upon the private--and the public--mind.
For Seneca's motive is that
active turning-outward to others; his very addresses to Lucilius, though a service to himself
as well, are motivated by the Stoic conception of
an ideal Friendship:
|Cum te tam valde rogo, ut studeas, meum negotium |
ago; habere te amicum volo, quod contingere mihi,
nisi porgis ut coepisti excolere te, non potest.
(Ep. XXXV. I)
[[translation] When I implore you so strongly to study, I'm paying
attention to my own interests; I want you as a
friend, and such a blessing cannot be mine unless
you continue, as you have begun, to improve yourself.]
And in this concern for the
progress [see 1625] of the soul, one's own
as well as another's, Seneca emerges a true Stoic.' [xx-xxi].
'Ultimately, the Stoic desires his fellow man to become, not merely
a citizen of his native city, the Rome, Athens or Carthage in which he happens
to be born, but rather a citizen of the world, the
vast Cosmopolis to which all men and gods belong. This vision had motivated
Zeno originally,29 was handed down by Cicero, in his noble conception of
the ideal Republic,30 and finds strong confirmation
in the thought of Seneca.31
It is to such an ideal citizenry of the universe that
Seneca is continually dedicated. His use
of Epicurus is but an indication of this
union. In fact, his very employment of the technique of disruptive paradox
serves the self-same purpose as Adversity: disjunction leads but to amalgamation
and concord.32 The true,
the memorable philosopher venerates the wisdom of the past, whatever its
source, but he must bend, twist, reshape that past, making it new--if
he is to serve the future. And this has been Seneca's achievement.
Veneror itaque inventa sapientiae inventoresque |
adire tamquam multorum hereditatem iuvat. Mihi
ista adquisita, mihi laborata sunt. Sed agamus
bonum patrem familiae; faciamus ampliora, quae
accepimus. Maior ista hereditas a me ad posteros
transeat. Multum adhuc restat operis multumque
restabit, nec ulli nato post mille saecula prae-
occasio aliquid adhuc adiciendi. (Ep. LXIV. 7)
[[translation] Therefore I venerate the findings of wisdom and
their founders. To approach, as it were, the in-
heritance of many is a delight. For me those
discoveries were made, for me they were wrought.
But let us play the role of the just heir; let
us transmit more than we have received. Let that
inheritance pass from me to posterity greater than
Much work remains and ever shall remain
to be done, and the opportunity of adding something
further will not be denied to the man born a thousand
years from now.]'
[xxii-xxiii]. [End of Introduction].
[Note: to me, this abstract
indicates "objectivity" ["discoveries", etc.] (see 1625), and,
"The Idea of Progress" ["Much
work...."] (see 1625)].
from: Senecan Tragedy, by Anna Lydia Motto &
John R. Clark, Adolf M. Hakkert, Publisher, Amsterdam, 1988.
The aim of this book is to scrutinize the artistry, the
themes, the literary qualities of Seneca's drama. Our analysis is confined to the seven extant plays that are
complete and certifiably Seneca's: the Agamemnon, Hercules
Furens, Medea, Oedipus, Phaedra, Thyestes and Troades." ["1"].
"We have not attempted to add to the large body of
conjecture and supposition concerning two historical questions that cannot be
determined with any certitude:  in what order
and at what period in Seneca's life were the plays composed;1 and  whether the
plays were intended as dramas to be staged, as pieces for recitation, or as
closet dramas.2 [see footnote, below]
Evidence is scant and information unavailable. These issues have been debated,
oftentimes at great length, elsewhere and by other scholars and will not,
therefore, be examined here. It was felt that such topics, though interesting,
were peripheral to the principal objective of the present volume--literary
analysis of the Senecan dramatic corpus." ["1"-2].
[footnote] "2Herrmann (above, n. 1 ["Léon Herrmann, Le théâtre de Sénèque (Paris 1924) pp. 78-147"]), pp.
153-232, has argued at length that the plays were composed for presentation upon
the stage, as has many another scholar; but the
majority of students of Senecan drama concur with the idea that the plays were
intended for recitation, the strongest case being made by Otto Zwierlein [see 1607], Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas (Meisenheim am Glan
1966). Most recently, Elaine Fantham [see
1607] (Seneca's Troades, A Literary Introduction with
Text, Translation, and Commentary [Princeton 1982], pp. 34-49) proposes
that the plays were intended for concert reading by possibly three distinct
performers, or even more likely that they were intended as closet drama [Internet
search (google.com): "closet drama - encyclopaedia
article from Britannica.com closet drama - a drama suited primarily for reading rather
than production."]." .
[from: Priests, Philosophers
and Prophets, Thomas Whittaker, London: Adam and Charles Black, 1911, 242:
"The dramas, his [Seneca] latest editors conclude, were not made
public during his lifetime, but only after his death from manuscripts found
among his papers. That they were literary
exercises, not written either for acting or with any serious attempt at
(NEW TESTAMENT) GOSPEL STORIES, AS DRAMA ("CLOSET DRAMA"? ETC.?). See: The Jesus
of the Early Christians, G.A. Wells, 1971, 240-241 (241: "....More
convincing is the suggestion of J.M. Robertson (222 ["222. Robertson, J.M., Pagan Christs, 2nd edn., London 1911"]) that the gospel passion narratives, in their least sophisticated
form in Mk. and Mt., were not composed as narratives, but represent the
transcript of a drama...."); etc.]. [See: 1597, 1598]. [Compare: 1581].
from: Seneca's Troades [play, by Seneca], A Literary Introduction with Text, Translation, and
Commentary, Elaine Fantham, Princeton U., c1982.
The Medium of Senecan
Tragedy: Stage Drama, Recitation, or Private Study?
When Seneca composed his tragedies, his best-known
rival, Pomponius, was writing plays both for recitation and for the public
stage.1 Indeed there is no inherent reason why
the same dramatic text could not have been presented with equal success in
either medium, if it was composed with the requirements of both types of
communication kept before its author. A well-contrived script should avoid both
ambiguity if recited without being staged, and physical problems entailed by
staging what was conceived for oral delivery only. In considering whether or not
Seneca intended his tragedies for the stage, the modern scholar has to avoid the
twin pitfalls of--at one extreme--measuring his technique against the stagecraft
of fifth-century Athens, and--at the other--assuming all the flexible
alternative conventions of modern staging to resolve awkward features of
physical performance. Herrmann argued at length against more than one German
scholar that these plays were composed for the theater,2 and his point of view is maintained by Calder,
Steidle, and Walker.3 The case for recitation has recently been given its most
thorough advocacy by Zwierlein [see 1606],4 ["4 O. Zwierlein,
Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas (Meisenheim am Glan,
1966)."] who illustrates both the ancient tradition of drama composed for
recitation, and the features of Seneca's plays that seem to exclude composition
for the stage but would enhance the effectiveness of a script written to be
heard, not seen. Yet there is no feature in
Zwierlein's indictment for which the advocates of staging cannot quote a
parallel in successful stage plays. This
discussion will use Zwierlein's arguments as a basis, first indicating the
problems that would be entailed in presenting the tragedies according to the
conventions of the Greek classical
theater. It then attempts to redress the balance and carry the debate one step
further, by considering the quite different hazards of presenting these plays in
[The above, indicates the complexities. See following
"Is it possible to come to
any conclusion? As works composed for the stage these dramas would
contain unnecessary difficulties for actors and producers alike; in recitation,
whether solo or by several readers, there would be places where the identity of
the speaker would be left unclear. THERE IS, it
seems to me, ONLY ONE MEDIUM IN WHICH THE ACTION OF SENECAN TRAGEDY COMES
THROUGH WITH COMPLETE CLARITY, AND THAT IS THE WRITTEN TEXT [compare
1598 ("theatres", etc.)]. I would suggest then,
that Seneca composed with the expectation that he would himself recite chosen
passages, or would give a dramatized reading in cooperation with others; but
ultimately the play would be known through written copies, and only the readers
would experience the plays as complete works. In this he would be
subjecting his work to the same forms of publication as Virgil or Ovid had intended for their epic poems, and as
Maternus proposes for his ideological
tragedy in the generation after Seneca's death.
These are not well-crafted
stage plays, and their merit lies in poetic vitality rather than theatrical
effectiveness. I would like to suggest as a postscript that this may
explain why Seneca's powerful characterizations and thrilling portrayal of
anger, revenge, and self-destruction deeply influenced the themes and tone of
Renaissance drama in Italy, England, and France, but led to few actual
imitations of the plays themselves. It is perhaps significant that Troades, though the first of his tragedies to be
translated into English verse, has a relatively scant posterity in European
drama; its French and Spanish and German adaptations have not survived in the
dramatic repertoire of their countries.25 This
century, with the increasing flexibility of cinema (which thrives on calculated
discontinuity) could produce an effective visual performance of our play; on the
other hand, radio provides the ideal
medium,26 letting no trite effects of
staging or photography compete with the impact that Seneca sought from the
passionate and often shocking language of his mythical actions. As a prose writer he [Seneca] was used to
achieving his effect of instruction or persuasion through words alone, and I
believe he was content to let the words serve as the unaided medium of his
dramatic poetry."  [(excepting footnote) end of chapter Three].
from: Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], A Critical Bibliography, 1900-1980, Scholarship
on His Life, Thought, Prose, and Influence, Anna Lydia Motto, John R. Clark,
Adolf M. Hakkert Publisher, Amsterdam, 1989.
[See entries for: Motto, A.L.; Grimal, P.; et al.].
[See entries: 55, 147, 208, 635, 675, 691, 695, 717,
736, 742, 761, 765, 775, 793, 868, 905, 935, 940, 942, 962-972 (Motto), 974,
982, 988, 1006, 1032, 1076, 1090, 1096, 1645, 1647, 1648, 1686, 1700, 1701,
1745, 1746, 1750, etc.].
[Caution: as is common, some authors (Christian
propagandists), presume prominent early "Christian" influences; for example, in
the lifetime of Seneca (c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.)].
This volume provides a
survey of published scholarship on the extant prose works of Lucius Annaeus
Seneca (the Apocolocyntosis, De Beneficiis, De
Clementia, the twelve Dialogues [Moral Essays (see 1614)], the Epistulae Morales, and the Quaestiones Naturales) that has appeared during the
years 1900 through 1980. Editions, translations, commentaries, manuscript
studies, textual criticism, items on Seneca's life, works, philosophy, on his
language and style, on his sources and his influence are listed, summarized and
reviewed. Dissertations have been included, without comment but general works on
Roman or classical philosophy, history, or literature (wherein Seneca would
receive brief notice) have of necessity been omitted. Works which the authors
have been unable to obtain are marked with an asterisk (*)." .
["1A.B. Freijeiro, Apuntes de la Vida Romana en la Obra de Séneca (Madrid 1966),
El "torero de la virtud," como le [Seneca]
llamó Nietzsche [see 1532], viene así a encontrar
en nuestro siglo un auditorio mucho
más atento y comprensivo que el de
la centuria pasada....1
During much of the nineteenth century, Senecan studies
were neglected, and Seneca was regarded
for the most part as an author of the second rate. His Stoicism was supposedly derivative, his rhetoric
and style (after the opinion of Quintilian
[c. 35 - c. 100 C.E. (see 1581, 1587, 1601)]) were thought too unclassical,
zestful, and flashy, and his wealth and service under Nero were believed to undermine his sincerity and
integrity. [see 1584; etc.]
The twentieth century, however, has borne witness to an
amazing renaissance and revolution in Senecan
studies. It is true, of course, that the present century has vastly
multiplied the publication of scholarship on all
of classical literature, but an increasing attention has been given to Seneca. There have been important reassessments of
his life, his work, and his reputation. The early twentieth century saw the
completion of the authoritative Teubner edition of the opera omnia and the publication in 1909 of René
Waltz's political biography. Such activity led R.M. Gummere, early in 1914, to reflect:
Thus, in his multitude of roles--as tutor and statesman,
philosopher and men of letters--Seneca, as
this volume surely attests, continues to arouse the interests and the emotions
of men, as much or moreso [sic] today, as in centuries past.
["2CW [The Classical World] 7
(Feb. 14, 1914) 125."]....
We cannot resist the thought that |
within a comparatively short space
of time scholars have begun to take
] seriously, to give him the at-
tention he deserves. ...one finds
in this supposedly superficial thinker
an encyclopaedic knowledge of govern-
ment, philosophy, and natural science.2
Kenneth Quinn in 1979 has termed THE EPISTULAE MORALES [SENECA] A "MOST INFLUENTIAL WORK UPON THE HISTORY OF EUROPEAN THOUGHT AND UPON ENGLISH AND FRENCH PROSE STYLE":
["3R.M. Gummere, Seneca the
Philosopher and his Modern Message [see 1587]
still lives,...the |
modernity of Seneca is character-
istic of a mind transcending the
limits of time and space, ...Seneca
will continue to mold human aspir-
(Boston 1922), p. xi."]....
No other Roman prose writer can com- |
bine in the same degree accurate,
succinct statement of complex thought
and simple, hard-hitting clarity of
syntax... . [see: 1580, 1585, 1590]
Modern English and French prose
have evolved away from the heightened, rolling formalities of Ciceronian periods
[?] toward the relaxed tone and lighter touch of Senecan "point [?]."
In our century, "we have," Quinn
concedes, "all become Senecans without
knowing it."5 ["5Texts and Contexts : The
Roman Writers and their Audience (London 1979), pp. 213, 216, 218."]....
perhaps it was just as well that Seneca's reputation and value had fallen upon dark
times in the last century, if only to set off his remarkable comeback in this
one. Seneca would indeed fully understand
the uses of adversity, and it is appropriate to this Introduction for us to
permit Seneca himself the last word:
Marcet sine adversario virtus; |
tunc apparet quanta sit quantumque polleat,
cum quid possit patientia ostendit.6
"Without an adversary, prowess shrivels. We see how great and how efficient it
["prowess"] really is, only when it shows by endurance what it is capable of."
(Seneca Moral Essays ["Dialogues" (xi)], John W. Basore [see 1614], vol. I,
MCMLXX (1928), 9)]
["6De Prov. 2.4."]' [3, 4, 5] [End of Introduction].
'739. André, J.M. "Sénèque et la Peine de Mort," REL [Revue de Études
Latines] 57 (1979) 278-297. Living in a period of stark brutality, Seneca gave considerable thought to the topic of
the death penalty. In the De Ira, the De Clementia, and the Epistulae Morales, he strongly opposes saevitia tyrannica, advocating the virtue of clemency
wherever possible. Regarding the death penalty, Seneca maintains that it must
never be employed for the sake of vengeance but solely for the sake of social
justice. When so employed, it falls within the "ordre humain."' .
'819. Faider, P. "Sénèque et Saint Paul," BMB [Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth] 30 (1926) 109-119. The
author briefly gives a report of Seneca's
life; he tells of the beautiful myth of Seneca's acquaintance with St. Paul and its attractions. There has always
been a tendency to unite humanistic and Christian ideas; esp. in the 19th C.;
hence Seneca has been expected to yield Christian ideas. The so-called Letters
between Paul and Seneca were regularly
included in Seneca's writings during the Middle Ages. Only since 1441 A.D. were their ["Letters between
Paul and Seneca"] authenticity called into question.' .
[See: 1612 (957.)].
'824. Favez, C. "Les opinions de Sénèque sur la Femme,"
REL [Revue de Études
Latines] 16 (1938) 335-345. Women played important roles in Seneca's life. Especially is this true of his
mother, his aunt, Marcia, Agrippina, Julia Livilla, and his wife Paulina.
Although he frequently castigates feminine weakness and anger, he nonetheless
extols their courage and determination. Overall, Seneca believes, women share
the same human nature with men, and women can, like men, attain to Stoic goals and ideals.' .
'840. Gambet, D.G. "Cicero
in the Works of Seneca Philosophus," TAPhA [Transactions and
Proceedings of the American Philogical Association] 101 (1970) 171-83.
Gambet studies Seneca's views of Cicero as
philosopher, literary figure, prose stylist, statesman, and man. Seneca's
judgement of Cicero as a philosopher is at times indifferent, at times
unfavorable; as a stylist, Cicero is ranked as maximus or primus among
Roman writers; as a literary figure he is highly praised; as a statesman, Cicero
is regarded as inconsistent; as a man, lacking in Stoic wisdom and imperfect.
Gambet concludes that Seneca had made a more
in-depth study of Cicero than had most of Seneca's contemporaries and that,
unlike them, his judgement of Cicero was, on the whole, unfavorable.'
'897. Irwin, R. "Seneca," in "Studies in the History of
Libraries, X," Library Association Record 58
(1956) 413-419. Intimate pictures of villa
libraries in Rome and the role they played in the intellectual life of that city
according to the testimonies of Cicero, Pliny the Younger, and Seneca.' .
'955. Minissale, F. "Una Nota Senecana (ad Marc. 11,3)," Vichiana 7 (1978) 180-182. Seneca's definition of man as "a vessel easily broken by the slightest shaking, the
slightest tossing," as a corpus imbecillum et
fragile (Ad Marc. 11.3), places emphasis upon human frailty (imbecillitas hominis) rather than upon the unnatural
separation of body from soul so often expounded in the traditional schools of
ancient philosophy. Seneca's sensitive description of man's weakness lends
poetic color and force to his prose. No other
author has so strikingly, so pathetically, defined the human
'957. Momigliano, A. "Note sulla leggenda del
cristianesimo [see: www.cristianesimo.com] di Seneca," RSI [Revista Storica
Italiana] 62 (1950) 325-344. Momigliano
maintains that the apocryphal correspondence between Seneca and St. Paul was
PROBABLY FORGED IN THE FOURTH CENTURY; that the authors of the Middle
Ages, while admitting its authenticity, never considered Seneca a Christian;
that the belief in Seneca's conversion did not arise until the fourteenth
century.' . [See: 1611 (819.)].
'973. Muñoz Valle, I. "Explicación de las
contradicciones de Séneca sobre la inmortalidad del alma," EClás [Estudios
Clásicos] 12 (1968) 561-68. Seneca's
contradictions regarding the nature of death--sometimes referring to it as
non-existence, at times describing it as a process of change, and still at other
times asserting the beautiful mystic hope of
immortality--can best be explained by his concern for practical
morality rather than by his desire to expound metaphysical theories. He asserts
now one concept, now another, presenting whatever idea best suits a given
circumstance. No matter what thesis he momentarily adopts, his aim is always the
same: to liberate his fellow-men from the fear of
'978. Naumann, H. "Die Gestalt des Socrates und ihre
Wirkungen auf die Weltliteratur," AU [Der altsprachliche Unterricht] 12 (1969) 64-103. As
Socrates [c. 470 - 399 B.C.E.] was for
Plato [c. 428 - 348-347 B.C.E.] the ideal
philosopher, so Cato the
Younger [Marcus Porcius Cato 95 - 46 B.C.E.] as well as Socrates became for Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]
the symbol of greatness and the model of ethical behavior. In his own death, Seneca imitated these two masters.' .
'984. Noyes, R. "Seneca on
Death," Journ. of Relig. and Health 12
(1973) 223-40. This lucid article, written by a
physician, succinctly presents Seneca's views of life and death, urging modern
psychotherapists to embrace the doctrines of this Philosopher whose
"message reflects the pride and nobility
Seneca showed men the continuity between living and
dying, and offered them remedies for overcoming their natural, inescapable fear
of death. "Few writers ancient or
modern," says Noyes, "have equaled his
understanding of the pathology of the mind.["]' .
'1073. Tibiletti, C. "Un 'topos' escatologico in Seneca
e in autori cristiani," AFLN [Annali della Facoltà
di Lettere e Filosofia della Università di Napoli] 5-6 (1972-1973) 111-36.
The concept that the dead man who is being mourned
is not, in reality, dead but merely absent, that he has only been sent on
ahead (praemittere), and that the living will soon follow him (sequi) over the same
journey, is a formula frequently employed by Seneca as a consolatory device.
This same means of consolation is found in Christian authors. In
Seneca, however, the soul's survival will last until the period of the universal
conflagration, at which time, according to Stoic doctrine, everything will be
annihilated; in Christian thought, the notion of praemittere-sequi assumes a new and deeper meaning [simply:
one-upmanship! [see 1514]]--the soul enjoys everlasting resurrection and
'1097. Wlosok, A. "Römischer religions- und
Gottesbegriff in heidnischer und christlicher Zeit," A&A [Antike und
Abendland] 16 (1970) 39-53. The Christian
concept of deity as seen in Lactantius is closer to The Ciceronian than to the
Senecan view of God. Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.],
like the Christians after him, acknowledges ritual practices and the worship of
gods (cultus deorum [De Nat. Deor. 2.72]).
Seneca, on the other hand, regards worship as a
futile superstition, believing that God has no need for such ceremony.
If one wishes to win the favor of God, Seneca tells us, he must be a good man.
He who has imitated God has worshipped him enough (Ep. 95.50). Thus SENECA
CREATES A PERSONAL BOND BETWEEN MAN AND GOD.' .
'1631. Clark, C.E. "Seneca's Letters to Lucilius as a Source of Some
of Montaigne's [1533 - 1592] Imagery," BiblH&R [?] 30 (1968) 249-66. While criticism has
acknowledged Senecan influence on Montaigne's earlier Essays, it has failed to stress such Einfluss on his later work. This article, by a careful
study of ideas, style, and imagery demonstrates the
influence of Seneca's Epistulae Morales on
Montaigne's entire career [see:
1580, 1590]. The Philosopher's Letters were for
this French thinker [Montaigne] an ideal model.' .
Seneca Moral Essays ["Dialogues"
(xi)], translated by John W. Basore, Harvard; Heinemann, vol. II, MCMLXXIX
(1932), "Ad Marciam De Consolatione"
("To Marcia On Consolation"), XXV. 1;
"....There is no need, therefore, for you [Marcia] to hurry to the tomb of your son; what
lies there is his basest part and a part that in life was the source of much
trouble--bones and ashes are no more parts of him than were his clothes and the
other protections of the body. He is complete--leaving nothing of himself
behind, he has fled away and wholly departed from earth; for a little while he
tarried above us while he was being purified and was ridding himself of all the
blemishes and stain that still clung to him from his mortal existence, then
soared aloft and sped away to join the souls of the blessed. A saintly band gave
him welcome...." [89, 91]. [See: 1570].
'And when the time shall come for the world to be
blotted out in order that it may begin its life anew, these things will destroy
themselves by their own power, and stars will clash
with stars, and all the fiery matter of the world that now shines in orderly
array will blaze up in a common conflagration. Then also the souls of
the blest, who have partaken of immortality, when it shall seem best to God to
create the universe anew--we, too, amid the falling universe, shall be added as
a tiny fraction to this mighty destruction, and shall be changed again into our
Happy, Marcia, is your son,
who already knows these mysteries!'
[95, 97] [End of essay]. [See: 1566, 1570]. [End of Excursus].
from: Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], Ad Lucilium, Epistulae Morales, with an English
Translation by Richard M. Gummere, In Three Volumes, I, Harvard University
Press, William Heinemann Ltd, MCMLXI (1917).
"IV. On the Terrors of
'....But I [Seneca] must end my letter. Let me share with you the saying which pleased me to-day.
IT TOO, IS CULLED FROM ANOTHER MAN'S GARDENb ["bThe Garden of Epicurus [340 - 270 B.C.E.]. Fragg. [fragments?]
477 and 200 Usener."]:
"Poverty, brought into conformity with the law of nature, is
Do you know what limits that law of nature ordains
for us? Merely to avert
hunger, thirst, and cold. In order to banish hunger and thirst, it
is not necessary for you to pay court at the doors of the purse-proud, or to
submit to the stern frown, or to the kindness that humiliates; nor it is
necessary for you to scour the seas, or go campaigning; nature's needs are easily provided and ready to
IS THE SUPERFLUOUS THINGS FOR WHICH MEN SWEAT
[a Classic! (first seen, 1964, San Francisco)] [see
--the superfluous things that wear our togas threadbare,
that force us to grow old in camp, that dash us upon foreign shores. That which
is enough is ready to our hands. He who has made a fair compact with poverty is
 [End of Epistle].
"XI. On the Blush of
'But my letter calls for its closing sentence. Hear and
take to heart this useful and wholesome mottoa:
"CHERISH SOME MAN OF HIGH CHARACTER, AND KEEP HIM
EVER BEFORE YOUR EYES, LIVING AS IF HE WERE WATCHING YOU, AND ORDERING ALL YOUR
ACTIONS AS IF HE BEHELD THEM." [see 1566 (Wells, on Bauer, on Seneca),
1617] Such, my dear Lucilius, is the counsel of EPICURUSa; he has
quite properly given us a guardian and an attendant. We can get rid of most
sins, if we have a witness who stands near us when we are likely to go wrong.
The soul should have someone whom it can respect,--one by whose authority it may
make even its inner shrine more hallowed.b Happy
is the man who can make others better, not merely when he is in their company,
but even when he is in their thoughts! And happy also is he who can so revere a
man as to calm and regulate himself by calling him to mind! One who can so
revere another, will soon be himself worthy of reverence. Choose therefore a Cato; or, if Cato seems too severe a
model, choose some Laelius, a gentler spirit. Choose a master whose life,
conversation, and soul-expressing face have satisfied you; picture him always to
yourself as your protector or your pattern. For we must indeed have someone
according to whom we may regulate our characters; you can never straighten that
which is crooked unless you use a ruler. Farewell.' [63, 65] [End of
"XV. On Brawn and
'The old Romans had a
custom which survived even into my [Seneca c. 4 B.C.E. - 64 C.E.] lifetime. They would add to the opening words of a
letter: "If you are well, it is well; I also am well." Persons like ourselves
would do well to say: "If you are studying philosophy, it is well." For this is
just what "being well" means. Without philosophy the mind is sickly, and the
body, too, though it may be very powerful, is strong only as that of a madman or
a lunatic is strong. This, then, is the sort of health you should primarily
cultivate; the other kind of health comes second, and will involve little
effort, if you wish to be well physically. It is indeed foolish, my dear Lucilius, and very unsuitable for a cultivated
man, to work hard over developing the muscles and broadening the shoulders and
strengthening the lungs. For although your heavy feeding produce good results
and your sinews grow solid, you can never be a match, either in strength or in
weight, for a first-class bull. Besides, by overloading the body with food you
strangle the soul and render it less active. Accordingly, limit the flesh as
much as possible, and allow free play to the spirit. Many inconveniences beset
those who devote themselves to such pursuits. In the first place, they have
their exercises, at which they must work and waste life-force and render it less
fit to bear a strain or the severer studies. Second, their keen edge is dulled
by heavy eating. Besides, they must take orders from slaves of the vilest
stamp,--men who alternate between the oil-flask* and the flagon, whose day
passes satisfactorily if they have got up a good perspiration and quaffed, to
make good what they have lost in sweat, huge draughts of liquor which will sink
deeper because of their fasting. Drinking and sweating--it's the life of a
Now there are short and
simple exercises which tire the body rapidly, and so save our time; and time is
something of which we ought to keep strict account. These exercises are
running, brandishing weights, and jumping,--high-jumping or broad-jumping, or
the kind which I may call "the Priest's dance,"a
or, in slighting terms, "the clothes-cleaner's jump."b Select for practice any one of these, and you will
find it plain and easy. But whatever you do, come back soon from body to mind.
The mind must be exercised both day and night, for it is nourished by moderate
labour; and this form of exercise need not be hampered by cold or hot weather,
or even by old age. Cultivate that good which improves with the years. Of course
I do not command you to be always bending over your books and your writing
materials; the mind must have a change,--but a change of such a kind that it is
not unnerved, but merely unbent. Riding in a litter shakes up the body, and does
not interfere with study; one may read, dictate, converse, or listen to another;
nor does walking prevent any of these things [see 1521].
You need not scorn
voice-culture; but I forbid you to practise raising and lowering your
voice by scales and specific intonations. What if you should next propose to
take lessons in walking! If you consult the sort of person whom starvation has
taught new tricks, you will have someone to regulate your steps, watch every
mouthful as you eat....' [95, 97, 99].
"LII. On Choosing our
'What is this force, Lucilius, that drags us in one
direction when we are aiming in another, urging us on to the exact place from
which we long to withdraw? What is it that wrestles with our spirit, and does
not allow us to desire anything once for all? We veer from plan to plan. None of
our wishes is free, none is unqualified, none is lasting. "But it is the fool,"
you say, "who is inconsistent; nothing suits him for long." But how or when can
we tear ourselves away from this folly? No man by himself has sufficient strength to rise above it;
he needs a helping hand, and some one to extricate him. [see 1566,
Epicurus [341 -
270 B.C.E.]a remarks that certain men have worked their way to the truth
without any one's assistance, carving out their own passage. And he gives
special praise to these, for their impulse has come from within, and they have
forged to the front by themselves. Again, he says, there are others who
need outside help, who will not proceed unless someone leads the way, but who
will follow faithfully. Of these, he says, Metrodorus was one; this type of man is also
excellent, but belongs to the second grade. We [apparently, Seneca himself, and, "Lucilius"]
ourselves are not of that first class, either; we
shall be well treated if we are admitted into the second. Nor need you despise a
man who can gain salvation only with the assistance
of another; the will to be saved means a great deal,
You will find still another class of man,--and a class
not to be despised,--who can be forced and driven into righteousness, who do not
need a guide as much as they require someone to encourage and, as it were, to
force them along. This is the third variety. If you ask me for a man of this
pattern also, Epicurus tells us that
Hermarchus was such. And of the two
last-named classes, he is more ready to congratulate the one,a ["ai.e., that of Metrodorus, who had the happier nature."] but he
feels more respect for the other; for although both reached the same goal,
it is a greater credit to have brought about the
same result with the more difficult material upon which to work.' [345,
from: Seneca, Ad Lucilium, Epistulae Morales, In
Three Volumes, II, MCMLXI (1920).
"LXXX. On Worldly
'To-day I have some free
time, thanks not so much to myself as to
the games, which have attracted all the bores to the boxing-match.a No one will interrupt me or disturb the train of my
thoughts, which go ahead more boldly as the result of my very confidence. My
door has not been continually creaking on its hinges nor will my curtain be
pulled aside;b my thoughts may march safely
on,--and that is all the more necessary for one who goes independently and
follows out his own path. Do I then follow no predecessors? Yes, but I allow
myself to discover something new, to alter, to reject. I am not a slave to them,
although I give them my approval.
And yet that was a very
bold word which I spoke when I assured myself that I should have some quiet, and
some uninterrupted retirement. For lo, a great cheer comes from the
stadium, and while it does not drive me distracted, yet it shifts my thoughts to
a contrast suggested by this very noise. How many
men, I say to myself, train their bodies, and how few train their
minds!c What crowds flock to the
games,--spurious as they are and arranged merely for pastime,--and what a
solitude reigns where the good arts are taught! How feather-brained are the athletes whose muscles and
shoulders we admire! The question which I ponder most of all is this: if the
body can be trained to such a degree of endurance that it will stand the blows
and kicks of several opponents at once, and to such a degree that a man can last
out the day and resist the scorching sun in the midst of the burning dust,
drenched all the while with his own blood,--if this can be done, how much more
easily might the mind be toughened so that it could receive the blows of Fortune
and not be conquered, so that it might struggle to its feet again after it has
been laid low, after it has been trampled under foot?
For although the body needs many things in order to be
strong, yet the mind grows from within, giving to itself nourishment and
exercise. Yonder athletes must have copious food, copious drink, copious
quantities of oil, and long training besides; but you can acquire virtue without
equipment and without expense. All that goes to make you a good man lies within
yourself. And what do you need in order to become good? To wish it. But what
better thing could you wish for than to break away from this slavery,--a slavery
that oppresses us all, a slavery which even chattels of the lowest estate, born
amid such degradation, strive in every possible way to strip off? In exchange
for freedom they pay out the savings which they have scraped together by
cheating their own bellies; shall you not be eager
to attain liberty at any price, seeing that you claim it as your birthright? Why
cast glances toward your strong-box? Liberty cannot
be bought. It is therefore useless to enter in your ledgera the item of
"Freedom," for freedom is possessed neither by those who have bought
it nor by those who have sold it. You must give this good to yourself, and seek
it from yourself.
First of all, free yourself from the fear of death, for
death puts the yoke about our necks; then free yourself from the fear of
poverty. If you would know how little evil there is in poverty, compare the faces of the poor with those of the rich; the
poor man smiles more often and more genuinely; his troubles do not go
deep down; even if any anxiety comes upon him, it passes like a fitful cloud.
But the merriment of those whom men call happy is feigned, while their sadness
is heavy and festering, and all the heavier because they may not meanwhile
display their grief, but must act the part of happiness in the midst of sorrows
that eat out their very hearts....'
[213, 215, 217].
'When you buy a horse, you order its blanket to be
removed; you pull off the garments from slaves that
are advertised for sale, so that no bodily flaws may escape your
notice; if you judge a man, do you judge
him when he is wrapped in a disguise? Slave-dealers hide under some
sort of finery and defect which may give offence,a and for that reason the very trappings arouse the
suspicion of the buyer. If you catch sight of a leg or an arm that is bound up
in cloths, you demand that it be stripped and that the body itself be revealed
to you. Do you see yonder Scythian or Sarmatian king, his head adorned with the
badge of his office? If you wish to see what he amounts to, and to know his full
worth, take off his diadem; much evil lurks beneath it. But why do I speak of
others? If you wish to set a value on
yourself, put away your money, your estates, your honours, and look into your own soul. At present, you are
taking the word of others for what you are. Farewell.'
[217, 219] [End of Epistle].
"How much better it is to arraign drunkenness frankly
and to expose its vices! For even the middling good man avoids them, not to
mention the perfect sage, who is satisfied with slaking his thirst; the sage, even if now and then he is led on by good cheer
which for a friend's sake, is carried somewhat too far, yet always stops short
of drunkenness. We shall investigate later the question whether the
mind of the sage is upset by too much wine and commits follies like those of the
toper ["drunkard"]; but meanwhile, if you wish to prove that a good man ought
not to get drunk, why work it out by logic? Show how base it is to pour down
more liquor than one can carry, and not to know the capacity of one's own
stomach; show how often the drunkard does things which make him blush when he is
sober; state that drunkennessa is nothing but a
condition of insanity purposely assumed. Prolong the drunkard's condition to
several days; will you have any doubt about his madness? Even as it is, the
madness is no less; it merely lasts a shorter time. Think of Alexander of
Macedon ["Name of five kings of Macedonia". This reference: Alexander
the Great, King 336 - 323 B.C.E. (356 - 323)],b who stabbed Clitus
[also, Cleitus: died 329 B.C.E. ("saved Alexander's life at Granicus
River (334 B.C.)" (Webster's Bio. Dict.))], his dearest and
most loyal friend, at a banquet; after Alexander understood what he had
done, he wished to die, and assuredly he ought to have died." [270-271].
"Drunkenness kindles and discloses every kind of vice,
and removes the sense of shame that veils our evil undertakings.c ["cThis is the firm
conviction of Seneca, himself a most
temperate man. Sections 14 and 15 admit that natural genius may triumph over
drunkenness; Section 17 may allow (with Chrysippus) a certain amount of hilarity; but the
general conclusion is obvious."] For more men abstain from forbidden actions
because they are ashamed of sinning
["peccandi": (apparently) "To commit a moral offense, do wrong." (Ox. Latin Dict., 1315)]
than because their inclinations are good. When the strength of wine has become
too great and has gained control over the mind, every lurking evil comes forth
from its hiding-place. Drunkenness does not create vice, it merely brings it
into view; at such times the lustful man
does not wait even for the privacy of a bedroom, but without postponement gives
free play to the demands of his passions; at such times the unchaste man
proclaims and publishes his malady; at such times your cross-grained fellow does
not restrain his tongue or his hand. The haughty man increases his arrogance,
the ruthless man his cruelty, the slanderer his spitefulness. Every vice is
given free play and comes to the front. Besides, we forget who we are, we utter
words that are halting and poorly enunciated, the glance is unsteady, the step
falters, the head is dizzy, the very ceiling moves about as if a cyclone were
whirling the whole house, and the stomach suffers torture when the wine
generates gas and causes our very bowels to swell." .
"Think of the calamities caused by drunkenness in a
nation! This evil has betrayed to their enemies the most spirited and warlike
races; this evil has made breaches in walls defended by the stubborn warfare of
many years; this evil has forced under alien sway peoples who were utterly
unyielding and defiant of the yoke; this evil has conquered by the wine-cup
those who in the field were invincible. Alexander, whom I have just mentioned [see 1619],
passed through his many marches, his many battles, his many winter campaigns
(through which he worked his way by overcoming disadvantages of time or place),
the many rivers which flowed from unknown sources, and the many seas, all in
safety; it was intemperance in drinking that laid him low, and the famous
death-dealing bowl of Hercules [now, an inconclusive mythological
"What glory is there is
carrying much liquor? When you have won the prize, and the other
banqueters, sprawling asleep or vomiting [I have experienced the foregoing,
several times. Unconscious, before, and after, I (we) accepted it was "fun"],
have declined your challenge to still other toasts; when you are the last
survivor of the revels; when you have vanquished every one by your magnificent
show of prowess and there is no man who has proved himself of so great capacity
as you,--you are vanquished by the cask. Mark
Antony [82 or 81 - 30 B.C.E.] was a great man, a man of distinguished
ability; but what ruined him and drove him into foreign habits and un-Roman vices, if it was not drunkenness and--no
less potent than wine--love of Cleopatra
[Cleopatra VII: Queen 51 - 30 B.C.E. (69 - 30)]? This it was that made him an
enemy of the state; this is was that rendered him no match for his enemies; this
it was that made him cruel, when as he sat at table the heads of the leaders of
the state were brought in; when amid the most elaborate feasts and royal luxury
he would identify the faces and hands of men whom he had proscribed;a [see footnote, 1621] when, though heavy with wine,
he yet thirsted for blood. It was
intolerable that he was getting drunk while he did such
things; how much more intolerable that he did these things while actually drunk!
Cruelty usually follows wine-bibbing; for a man's soundness of mind is corrupted
and made savage. Just as a lingering illness makes men querulous and irritable
and drives them wild at the least crossing of their desires, so continued bouts
of drunkenness bestialize the soul. For when people are often beside themselves,
the habit of madness lasts on, and the vices which liquor generated retain their
power even when the liquor is gone...." [273, 275].
[footnote] 'a"Antony gave orders to those that were to kill
Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.], to cut off his
head and right hand...; and, when they were brought before him, he regarded them
joyfully, actually bursting out more than once into laughter, and, when he had
satiated himself with the sight of them, ordered them to be hung up...in the
forum" (Clough's translation of Plutarch's
Antony, p. 172).' .
[from: Seneca Moral Essays [see 1614], "On Tranquillity of Mind", XVII. 8-12:
'At times we ought to reach
the point even of intoxication, not drowning ourselves in drink, yet succumbing
to it; for it washes away troubles, and stirs the mind from its very depths and
heals its sorrow just as it does certain ills of the body; and the inventor of wine is not called the Releasera on account of the licence it gives to the tongue,
but because it frees the mind from bondage to cares and emancipates it and gives
it new life and makes it bolder in all that it attempts. But, as in freedom, so in wine there is a wholesome
moderation. It is believed that Solon and Arcesilaus were fond of wine, and Cato has been reproached for drunkenness; but
whoever reproaches that man will more easily make reproach honourable than Cato
base. Yet we ought not to do this often, for fear
that the mind may contract an evil habit, nevertheless there are times when it
must be drawn into rejoicing and freedom, and gloomy sobriety must be banished
for a while. For whether we believe with the Greek poeta [from
footnote a: the Greek sentiment survives in
Menander, and, reappears in Horace] that "sometimes
it is a pleasure also to rave," or with Plato that "the sane
mind knocks in vain at the door of poetry," or with Aristotle that "no
great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness"b--be that as it may, the lofty utterance that rises
above the attempts of others is impossible unless the mind is excited. When it
has scorned the vulgar and the commonplace, and has soared far aloft fired by
divine inspiration, then alone it chants a strain too lofty for mortal lips. So
long as it is left to itself, it is impossible for it to reach any sublime and
difficult height; it must forsake the common track and be driven to frenzy and
champ the bit and run away with its rider and rush to a height that it would
have feared to climb by itself.
Here are the rules, my
dearest Serenus, by which you may preserve tranquillity, by which you may
restore it, by which you may resist the vices that steal upon it unawares. Yet
be sure of this--none of them is strong enough to guard a thing so frail unless
we surround the wavering mind with earnest and unceasing care.' [283,
285] [End of essay]. [See: 1580 (Ritter ("contradictions in Seneca");
"XC. On the Part
Played by Philosophy
in the Progress of Man" [see 1625] [see:
The Idea of Progress, An Inquiry
into its Origin and Growth,
J.B. Bury, 1920]
"In these our own times,
which man, pray, do you deem the wiser--the one who invents a process
for spraying saffron perfumes to a tremendous height from hidden pipes, who
fills or empties canals by a sudden rush of waters, who so cleverly constructs a
dining-room with a ceiling of movable panels that it presents one pattern after
another, the roof changing as often as the courses,b or the one who proves to others, as well as to
himself, that nature has laid upon us no stern and difficult law when she tells
us that we can live without the marble-cutter and the engineer, that we can
clothe ourselves without traffic in silk fabrics, that we can have everything
that is indispensable to our use, provided only that we are content with what
the earth has placed on its surface? If mankind were willing to listen to this
sage [Diogenes (the Cynic) of Sinope c. 410 - c. 320 B.C.E.],
they would know that the cook is as superfluous to them as the soldier. Those
were wise men, or at any rate like the wise, who found the care of the body a
problem easy to solve.
THE THINGS THAT ARE
INDISPENSABLE REQUIRE NO ELABORATE PAINS FOR THEIR ACQUISITION; IT IS ONLY THE LUXURIES THAT CALL FOR LABOUR
Follow nature, and you will need no skilled
from: Seneca, Ad Lucilium, Epistulae Morales, In
Three Volumes, III, MCMLXII (1925).
"XCV. On the
Usefulness of Basic
"there are as many ways of
being ill as there are of living. The illustrious founder of the guild
and profession of medicinea remarked that
women never lost their hair or suffered
from pain in the feet; and yet nowadays they run short of hair and are afflicted
with gout. This does not mean that woman's physique has changed, but that it has
been conquered; in rivalling male indulgences, they have also rivalled the
ills to which men are heirs. They keep just as late hours, and drink
just as much liquor; they challenge men in wrestling and carousing; they are no
less given to vomiting from distended stomachs and to thus discharging all their
wine again; nor are they behind the men in gnawing ice, as a relief to their
fevered digestions. And they even match the men in their passions, although they
were created to feel love passively (may the gods and goddesses confound them!).
They devise the most impossible varieties of unchastity, and in the company of
men they play the part of men. What wonder, then, that we can rip up the
statement of the greatest and most skilled physician, when so many women are
gouty and bald! Because of their vices, women have ceased to deserve the
privileges of their sex; they have put off their womanly nature and are
therefore condemned to suffer the diseases of men." .
however, to what a stage have the evils of
ill-health advanced! This is the interest which we pay on pleasures
which we have coveted beyond what is reasonable and right. You need not wonder that diseases are beyond counting:
count the cooks! All intellectual interests are in abeyance; those who
follow culture lecture to empty rooms, in out-of-the way places. The halls of
the professor and the philosopher are deserted; but
what a crowd there is in the cafés! ....[not germane, tedious sex
comments] Nor shall I mention the medley of bakers, and the numbers of waiters
who at a given signal scurry to carry in the courses. Ye gods! How many men are kept busy to humour a single
ARE MAD, NOT ONLY INDIVIDUALLY, BUT NATIONALLY.
We check manslaughter and
isolated murders; but what of war and the much-vaunted crime of slaughtering
whole peoples? There are no limits to our greed, none to our cruelty.
And as long as such crimes are committed by stealth and by individuals, they are
less harmful and less portentous; but cruelties are practised in accordance with
acts of senate and popular assembly, and the public is bidden to do that which
is forbidden to the individual. Deeds that would be punished by loss of life
when committed in secret, are praised by us because uniformed generals have
carried them out. Man, naturally the gentlest class of being, is not ashamed to
revel in the blood of others.[,] to wage war, and to entrust the waging of war
to his sons, when even dumb beasts and wild beasts keep the peace with one
another." [77, 79].
"CII. On the
Intimations of Our
[from the "Subject Index": "Syllogisms,...vanity
'it should not be our
purpose to discuss things cleverly
["syllogisms"] and to drag Philosophy down from
her majesty to such petty quibbles. How much better it is to follow the open and
direct road, rather than to map out for yourself a circuitous route
which you must retrace with infinite trouble! For such
argumentation ["syllogisms"] is nothing else than the sport of men who are
skilfully juggling with each other. Tell me rather how closely in accord
with nature it is to let one's mind reach out into the boundless universe! The
human soul is a great and noble thing; it permits of no limits except those
which can be shared every by the gods. First of all, it does not consent to a
lowly birthplace, like Ephesus or Alexandria, or any land that is even more
thickly populated than these, and more richly spread with dwellings. The soul's
homeland is the whole space that encircles the height and breadth of the
firmament, the whole rounded dome within which lie land and sea, within which
the upper air that sunders the human from the divine also unites them, and where
all the sentinel stars [see (star, stars): 1503, 1566, 1570, 1614] are taking
their turn on duty. Again, the soul will not put up with a narrow span of
"All the years," says the soul,
"are mine; no epoch is closed to great minds; all Time is open for the progress [see 1625]
WHEN THE DAY COMES TO
SEPARATE THE HEAVENLY FROM ITS EARTHLY BLEND, I SHALL LEAVE THE BODY HERE WHERE
I FOUND IT, AND SHALL OF MY OWN VOLITION BETAKE MYSELF TO THE GODS. I AM NOT
APART FROM THEM NOW, BUT AM MERELY DETAINED IN A HEAVY AND EARTHLY
THESE DELAYS OF MORTAL
EXISTENCE ARE A PRELUDE TO THE LONGER AND BETTER LIFE....' [179, 181].
from: Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.], The Humanist at the Court of Nero, Villy
Sorensen, translated by W. Glyn Jones, Canongate, 1984 (1976 Danish).
"I. Myth and
Seneca, who was a
contemporary of Jesus [a Fictional character], seems modern in many ways. The problems he
encountered as a statesman at the court of Nero, and about which he wrote as a
poet and philosopher, the conflict between Realpolitik
and humane ideals, between the demand for political commitment and the
desire for self-realisation in peace and tranquility, are problems relevant to
our time; his humanist ideals are so natural to us that we easily forget that
they were less natural and more original in his day.
If Seneca appears to be
more modern than many philosophers who are closer to us in time, it is, of
course, partly because present-day Europe has more in common with the city of
Rome than with the more limited and enclosed society of pre-industrialised
Europe. With its worship of quantity, its lack of common spiritual
values, its wealth and its poverty, its enjoyment of life and its spleen, its
search for entertainment and for salvation, its individualism and its mass psychosis [see 1623], Rome was the great precursor of our own urban
civilisation [see 1587 (Ferrero)]...." .
[Note: this author (Villy Sorensen), like Anna Lydia
Motto, in her book, Guide to the Thought of Lucius
Annaeus Seneca [see 1600], of disposition, and/or necessity (cultural
expectations, acquiring a publisher, book sales, etc.), accepts, a priori, the
Christian stories [see 1629]].
["Villy Sorensen, born in Copenhagen in 1929, is
essentially a European writer, firmly rooted in the Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian
traditions...." (Harmless Tales, Villy Sorensen,
"however modern Seneca's humanist ideas otherwise were,
there were two modern [?] ideas which he (like the rest of the ancient
world) never acquired: the ideas of objectivity ["scientific, objective criterion"
] and progress--the two principles
which are essential to our modern, scientific and technical civilisation, and
which denote a definitive break with primitive mentality [? (see: 1582, 1601,
1604, 1605, 1622, 1624)]." .
[Note: J.B. Bury, The Idea of Progress (several references to
Seneca), 1920, has stated part of the above position. Bury suggests the 16th
century (p. 7), as the beginning of a "favourable atmosphere", for "The Idea of
[See: 1582, 1601, 1604, 1605, 1622, 1624].
"in Rome the state religion
was a political tool intended to ensure the unity of the State [and,
"to ensure" the dominant, etc., persons] [compare: other States; other species
(methods of social organization)]. No one has expressed it more clearly and
cynically than Polybios [Polybius c. 200 -
c. 118 B.C.E.]:
'I think that what is criticised in other peoples keeps
the Roman state together; I mean their fear of the gods. For it is manipulated
and introduced both into private and public life as much as is humanly possible.
It might seem strange to many people, but I believe that they have done it for
the sake of the vast majority. For if the task were to form a state of wise men
such things would not perhaps be necessary, but as the great mass of people are
easily swayed and constantly demand things contrary to the law, moved by foolish
urges and violent passions, the only thing to do is to keep them in check
through fear of the invisible and by outward show. Therefore I do not believe
that it was in thoughtlessness or by mere chance that people in times past were
given the idea of gods and an underworld, but am more inclined to the view that
our own age is foolishly and short-sightedly trying to drive these concepts
"The ancient Roman gods were
personifications or rather abstractions of everyday tasks, especially the tasks
of the farmers, and they were particularly related to those important moments in
life--birth, marriage, death--for which the mythical imagination has always had
a predilection. According to John Ferguson
NINETEEN GODS WENT INTO ACTION AT A BIRTH--and they only existed in and for this
function. With all their special gods for this, that and the other, the
Romans had as it were formalised the primitive means of experience and
systematised a fear of the gods, transforming it into a fear of not observing
the rules [see Addition 29, 1288 (Hobbes; Radhakrishnan)]...." .
Excursus: from: National Geographic, February 2001, article:
"Bushmen" (Southern Africa), "93":
'"MYTHOLOGY IS ONE OF THEIR FEW ASSETS,"
says anthropologist James Suzman.'
"It was very easy, also for
women, to obtain a divorce, for marriage
was not 'sacred' to the Romans, and it was no concern of the State; like
adoption, it had from ancient times been a means of creating an alliance between
families, and during the republic divorces for political reasons had
been very common. Originally the woman,
who was considered to be of marriageable age at
12, was subject to the authority either of her father or her husband in
the marriage; in Seneca's [c. 4 B.C.E. -
65 C.E.] day she herself had the final say on whether to marry, and in her
marriage she kept her legal right to any fortune she might have. Marriage was entered into in a private ceremony
which J. Carcopino has described and which
in his opinion served as the model for the
Christian church wedding; a Roman marriage was admittedly not made in
heaven, but an auspex made sure that the auspices were good and that the gods
thus looked with favour upon the marriage. Seneca's
second wife was called Pompeja Paulina and was, judging by her name,
the daughter (or sister) of the prefect for corn supplies, Pompejus Paulinus, to whom Seneca thus had yet
another reason for addressing himself." .
"Seneca and the Erotic" 
"Seneca writes noticeably little about erotic feeling and seems
neither to know Plato's enthusiasm for sensuous love nor St. Paul's for fear of
the flesh. He certainly wrote on marriage, De matrimonio [see
1592], but what he [Seneca] said
we only know from quotations in the Church
Fathers. St. Jerome thus quotes
him as saying that the wise man does not love with passion but with reason, and
in one of his epistles Seneca makes a similar remark: erotic passion is like
friendship insofar as it contains its purpose within itself, but as passion it
is a sort of 'unhealthy friendship'. The Stoic aim of 'apathy' was not a lack of feeling,
but freedom from passion (pathos); Seneca stresses
that the Greek work apatheia cannot be translated
by a single word. (Cicero had translated
it as 'imperturbability'). Language indicates that passion is something
suffered, something in which man is passive, despite his restlessness, but love
is active, not bound and powerless, but free--and the only effective
prescription for love, says Seneca, was formulated by the Stoic Hecaton: 'If you wish to be loved, then love!'
In his tragedy on
Phaedra Seneca invented such glowing expressions for erotic passion
that it is improbable that he himself did not know what it was. In the letter to Helvia he wrote that sensuous desire can
be controlled with the consciousness, that its purpose is propagation and not
merely enjoyment; but things are of course not so simple, and there is no [?]
reason to deny Seneca the authorship of the two or three more sensuous epigrams, one of which in the Greek
manner is addressed to a boy:
Oh, a divine countenance worthy of Apollo or Bacchus,
which neither man nor woman can behold with impunity.
Such thoughts were not uncommon in Rome, particularly as
the author implies he is willing (or unwilling) [ ? (details?)] also to allow a
woman to enjoy the charms of the boy. Seneca also thought up some beautiful
expressions for male beauty in his tragedies, though he otherwise rejected [?]
'Greek' love." .
"Most of the erotic
epigrams are written in the manner of Ovid [43 B.C.E. - 17 C.E.] and addressed to girls with charming fictitious names:
Basilissa, Arethusa, Cosconia--and Delia.
Talkative ear, what means this ringing in the night? If
only I knew who was remembering me so audibly. 'Oh, so you ask who it is who
makes your ears ring in the night, ring the night long? Delia is speaking of you.' Delia speaks of me, of
course; more gently I hear that hum, murmuring lowly and sweet. Thus Delia used
to break the silence of night, and with a voice at once gentle and urgent, with
her arms fondly around my neck she caressed my ear with secret words--I am all
ears! Yes, she is recognized! Now sounds more tenderly the music of the ear as a
truer echo of a lively voice. Oh, let it go on resounding! But, ye gods, even
while I say it, the sound fades and dies.
Basilissa, who likes
playing hard to get, is told that with her ornaments and her make-up
she is banishing beauty--and love, too, for love dislikes the over-ornate and
seeks 'artless nature', which Seneca also in other contexts calls delightful.
Seneca did not as
far as we know write any poems to Pompeja
Paulina ["second wife" (see 1627)], at least not under her proper name,
but in one of his last epistles, dating from the last years of his life, he
writes that she lives for him and that for her sake he must look after the young
person who lives on in him as an old man. For, although Seneca doubtless had
taught her the fundamental principles of wisdom, Paulina had not learned to show
bravery in her love; this was not surprising, for the life she came to lead with
Seneca was not a particularly secure one. He was now at the beginning of his
fifties, and was said to be intending to visit Athens, the city of philosophers,
but instead he was given an important position in Rome, the city of the Emperor.
Despite his prayer to Phoebus
Aspects or known as: Apollo, The Bright One.
Sun god. Phoebus was the Roman title for Apollo. He was the
son of Jupiter and Latona and the brother of Diana. Apollo was not originally a sun deity but a god of
medicine, music, and prophecy. In the 5th century B.C.E. he was adopted
by the Romans, who hoped that his influence would help the people avert the
plague. The healing rays of the sun could be considered a symbol for Apollo as
Phoebus. See also Apollo." (Encyc. Ancient
was made a praetor--and imperial tutor. In short,
he was taken over, occupatus ["Busy,
occupied, engaged." (Ox. Latin Dict.)]." [130-131] [End of chapter V.].
[from: Seneca Moral Essays [see 1614], "On Tranquillity of Mind", IX. 2:
"Let food subdue hunger,
drink quench thirst; let lust [see 1620, 1627-1628] follow the course of
nature; ...." [See: 1580 (Ritter; "Writers")]. [See also: "On the Shortness of Life"]].
"Brutality and sexual
It is typical that Vindex [Gaius Julius Vindex, d. 68 C.E.] should
mention Nero's brutality but immediately
add that others have been guilty of similar things; it is worth remembering, for
Nero is remembered for more than he committed while
many others are remembered for less; who
remembers that Constantine the Great
murdered his wife and son, his brother-in-law and
his nephew for 'political' reasons? TRADITION has
been kind to Constantine; he established Christianity as the official
[No! This is common Christian Propaganda! See #6, 172] religion, while Nero executed the
["Nero [Emperor 54 - 68 (37 - 68)] executed the
Christians": the classic story,
from "Tacitus" [Annals
15:44], regarded by some as a Christian
forgery [see Note, below].
Assuming a forgery, was it motivated by Christians, in part, as a distraction
from the authentic family murders by Constantine?]." .
Nero, The Man Behind
the Myth, Richard Holland, 2000. [See Index, for Seneca]. [Note: the
author's imagination is over stimulated by Christian influences (again, a
probable necessity, for a publisher, sales, etc. [see 1625])].
[Note: (shunned by (Christian?) scholars) for
suggestion, sources, etc., see: Nero Emperor of
Rome, Arthur Weigall, 1930].
"Most of the academic scholars now pursuing the quest for the 'historical Jesus' agree that the New Testament, in its original Greek form, is chiefly
the creation of people who never met Jesus but who wrote about him some
twenty-five or more years after his death. It is not just an interesting
coincidence that the myth of Nero as archetypal sadistic monster is chiefly the
creation of people who never met him but who wrote about him some fifty or more
years after his death....
The quest for the
historical Jesus,2 launched to free him
from later rhetorical and theological accretions, has become an academic growth industry, from its roots in
the eighteenth-century Enlightenment." [vi].
"The legend that
Nero 'fiddled while Rome
burned'--imagined, here, in an oil painting by Hubert Robert
(1733-1808)--will probably never die. In
reality, he [Nero] led the fire-fighting operations night and day for more
than a week, and at great personal risk, until it was finally extinguished.
Afterwards, he imposed strict new building regulations to inhibit future
outbreaks." ["114"]. [Note: more details, and, sources, in the text].
[End of Excursus].
to Nero, and, Christians, the "Tradition"
is not proven ("Tacitus", Annals, 15:44, not
like "Tradition", regarding Nero and Christians and the Colosseum
[see #6, 170 (the tour guide's presentation: "Nero had been responsible
for deaths of Christians", is not proven)], the
is Christian mendacious Propaganda].
from: Seneca, A Philosopher in Politics, Miriam T.
[Tamara] Griffin, Oxford, 1976.
[Note: the following, also has application, to
evaluation of the construction of the New
'Without the testimony
of Tacitus [c. 56 - c. 120
C.E.], Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] the statesman could hardly exist.'1 ["1R. Syme, Tacitus, Oxford, 1958, p. 552."] Syme's tribute to the historian [Tacitus] contains a
remarkable fact about the statesman [Seneca]: he did not
discuss his political career or his policies, though he wrote voluminously and
in the first person. Only the Apocolocyntosis and De
Clementia appear to betray directly his preoccupations as amicus principis. Are the rest of his works simply
irrelevant to his political career? This problem is part of a wider one, for
it is not merely Seneca the statesman that his
works fail to reveal--it is Seneca the man. The surviving prose works,
though addressed to contemporaries and concerned with practical moral problems,
tell us little about Seneca's external life or about the people and events that
formed its setting.2
One important result of
this situation is our inability to date most of his works with certainty or
precision. Those that can be placed definitely are attached to their
dates by only one or two references: Ad Polybium
to 43 by a reference to Claudius' imminent
Clementia to late 55 or 56 by a
statement of Nero's age;1 the Naturales Quaestiones to 62 or 63 by a report of the Campanian
dating of the twenty-two ["twenty" (L.D. Reynolds, Texts and Transmission, A Survey of the Latin
Classics, Oxford, 1983, 369)] books of the Epistulae Morales hangs on one reference to a
historical event: the fire at Lugdunum [modern Lyon, France] ["fire of
A.D. 64" ] [compare: New Testament: "in the fifteenth year of Tiberius"
(see #2, 18, 102.)].3 Fortunately, we need not
here review the chronological difficulties of the dialogues. This has been done
for most of them in great detail by F.
Giancotti, and the problem is frequently discussed.4" ["1"-2].
"The reasons for the
paucity of concrete detail are no doubt various: a natural reserve may
play some part; the emphasis on the inner life in Seneca's philosophy probably
more. Finally, there is the role in which Seneca
cast himself: a teacher of morals and a healer of minds. The effect of
his standpoint is most striking in the Letters to
Lucilius. This work is richer in personal detail and in allusions to
contemporary life than any other. Yet we are a
long way from Cicero's [106 - 43 B.C.E.] revealing letters to Atticus, one of
Seneca's models.4 [see footnote, below]
[footnote] "4Ep. 21.4. Seneca's
efforts to make the Letters ["to
Lucilius"] appear to be a real
correspondence [compare: Letters in the New Testament] are probably due to the influence
of this model ["Cicero's...letters to
Atticus"]. The character of the Letters is further discussed on pp.
349-53 and in Appendix B4." .
"The philosophical letters
of Epicurus [c. 341 - 271 B.C.E.] were
clearly in the forefront of Seneca's mind when he wrote.2 ["2Ep. 21. 5. Seneca even
admired his style (Ep. 46.1). The Letters are rich in quotations from Epicurus
[see 1602, 1603, 1604]. For their influence on the form of the early letters see
An advanced aspirant to sapientia ["good sense, discernment, discretion,
prudence, intelligence" (Latin Dict., Lewis and
Short, Oxford, 1962 (1879))], Seneca advises, exhorts, and encourages his friend
Lucilius along the path to virtue (27; 38). Despite Seneca's comparison of the
Letters to intimate conversations between friends (38; 75; cf. 40.1), personal
details are given only, at least in theory, to further this end. They provide
material for analysis (e.g. 57; 63.14) or lead to philosophical conclusions
(e.g. 53.5; 76). For this purpose, incidents from Lucilius' life (e.g. 28; 47)
or other lives (e.g. 27.5; 30; 55.2-7; 101) will do as well. The fact that we are dealing with exempla and not with news is especially clear from the
fact that most of the people mentioned are dead [compare: use of
Old Testament, by "Christian" writers
(see: 1506-1518; etc.)].
Of the living, Seneca himself is
the main exemplum (6.5). Lucilius is told to
listen in on the author's private dialogue with himself (27) or to imitate
Seneca's practice, as illustrated in the
Letters, of abstracting a thought for meditation from his daily
reading [see 1615] (2.4). Some of Seneca's stories about himself are
certainly spun out to add amusement or colour (e.g. 53; 108) and once a
technical discussion of olives and vines is pursued for its own sake (86); but
these exceptions do not remove the reader's general impressions that he is not
really being brought close to the author, that he is being told only what Seneca
regards as philosophically interesting and no more. There is no pattern in the incidents recounted, no
references back and forth to events. They
are pieces of a mosaic whose total shape we are not meant to see." .
"How then is Seneca's life
to be uncovered? The concrete details that Seneca gives in the Letters
can be trusted: several of them can be checked by outside information.3 But the standpoint indicated above may make us
wonder if some of the incidents described in the Letters have not been
exaggerated or slanted to make the moral point sharper: did Seneca really stay
in the bath-house at Baiae more than five minutes (56)? Even if we are not
inclined to such a trivial type of scepticism, we must admit that Seneca's
picture of his personality in the Letters lacks plausibility and consistency: he
more concerned to offer the public examples of the moral preacher, the
pedagogue, the struggling student, the zealous convert, than to portray his real
relationship with his addressee Lucilius, or record his own moods.1 ["1G. Misch, A History of Autobiography in Antiquity, Eng. trans.,
1950, II, pp. 419 ff."] [See: 1630, 1632]" [4-5].
"B4. THE FICTIONAL
CHARACTER OF SENECA'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH
"....At first glance, there is one powerful objection to
the idea of simulation: why should Seneca take the
trouble to disguise the character of his work? His main model must
surely have been the philosophical letters of Epicurus,5 and
they were, unashamedly, essays in letter form.6
The answer is to be found in Seneca's literary
ambitions. No one writing letters in Latin could escape comparison with Cicero's
correspondence.1 Seneca himself draws
the parallel (118.1), promising his correspondent the immortality that Cicero conferred on Atticus
(21.4), and in one letter (97) he quotes at length from one of these letters.
Seneca the writer felt
obliged to embellish the efforts of Seneca the philosopher [see
Addition 27, 1256 (Gibbon ("tensions between the
historian [Gibbon] and the literary artist [Gibbon]"))] [see 1630-1631].
The idea that the Epistulae Morales are really dialogues with an
epistolary veneer is strengthened by the fact, often remarked,2 that they are very
similar in style to the dialogues [Moral
Essays (see 1609)]. Thus, though the objections of the fictive interlocutor are often introduced by inquis and might be taken to come from Lucilius, we also find the inquit familiar from the dialogues.3 Even the difference in length, often cited as a
distinguishing mark,4 becomes less striking in
the later letters, which are very long for
letters [apparently, Epistulae Morales,
as seen in Vols. II and III (Loeb Classical Library)]. Seneca himself says that
letters should have the carelessness and informality of intimate conversation
between two people (sermo) in contrast to
'disputationes praeparatae et effusae audiente populo' (Ep. 38). In practice,
there is a greater air of casualness and a wider range of subject-matter
including personal experiences and a mixture of topics in single
letters. But the style and method of argument are basically the same."
to Seneca, and his writings): how much help (colleagues, slaves, et al.) did
Seneca have? How much plagiarism? Etc.?
from: The American Colonial Mind and the Classical
Tradition, Essays in Comparative Culture, Richard Gummere, Harvard
University Press, 1963.
[Note: there are 10 Index entries for "Seneca (the
Younger)" [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]; too intertwined, to excerpt].
This book is concerned with
a topic that has never been treated as a whole--the impact of Greek and Roman
ideas on the lives and thoughts of the men who settled and colonized America
from the Jamestown of 1607 to the establishment of the United States in
For a clear understanding of these personalities and
activities, it has seemed best to present their indebtedness in the form of
essays, largely biographical, rather than in an impersonal "thesaurus" of
parallels or quotations, statistically classified. A selective process, dealing
with certain significant individuals and episodes, clarifies the relationship of
the colonial mind to the ancient heritage and furnishes enough total unity to
reveal a definite cultural stage of Western civilization....' ["vii"].
'With all this variety of opinion, the Greco-Roman
testimony served as material for churchmen and deists, Tories and patriots,
country squires and city merchants, men of learning and self-educated seekers
after the equivalent of college. Their treatment of this heritage was informal.
To prove a point in a controversy, the same
classical passage frequently served as an argument for each side. Texts were
often quoted from memory and occasionally altered to suit the
circumstances [see 1507]. The colonists
played, so to speak, by ear. They were "amateurs" rather than
"professionals"; and their leaders, who were interested in the spirit rather
than in the techniques of Greece and Rome, would have understood the
recommendation of Howard Mumford Jones
[1892 - 1980] in his Ideas in America: "Instead of
bringing America to Greece and Rome, we should seek to discover what it is that
Greece and Rome have to bring to America [see 1640 (Paine)]."' [ix].
"Although this phase ["the impact of Greek and Roman ideas" ["vii"]] of the colonial
mind has never been presented synoptically, there are certain branches that have
been treated with skill and distinction, recognition of which will be recorded
in my notes and bibliographies. Educational statistics and curricula are
available. The relation of theology to academic learning has been clarified. The
ancient sources of the Constitution have been studied. Greek and Latin
books in the libraries of Virginia planters, Philadelphia merchants, or
New England divines are fully listed. Modern studies in the field of pure
literature are appearing in growing numbers. We have come to see that the classical heritage ranks as a good third to the Bible
and the English Common Law and that the Celtic or Teutonic element does
not play much of a part until the nineteenth century, except for Jefferson's [Thomas Jefferson 1743 - 1826] and
John Dickinson's [1732 - 1808] special
interest in Germanic origins." [xii].
'IT WAS NO LITTLE RIVULET
THAT FLOWED FROM GREECE INTO OUR CITY, BUT A MIGHTY RIVER OF CULTURE AND
LEARNING.--CICERO [106 - 43
B.C.E.], De republica
A REALLY CULTIVATED MIND IS
MADE UP OF ALL THE MINDS OF PRECEDING AGES.--FONTENELLE [1657 - 1757], Digression sur les anciens et les modernes
I should as soon think of closing all my window-shutters
to enable me to see, as of banishing the classics to improve Republican
ideas.--John Adams [1735 - 1826] to Benjamin
Rush [1745 - 1813]
[for very unattractive views of Benjamin Rush, see: The Manufacture of Madness, Thomas Szasz, c1970 (see
Index: Negroes; etc.) (see John Rush (son) 151-153); The Age of Madness, Thomas Szasz, 1973, 23-28], 1789'
"I The Classical
of the Colonial Mind"
[George Washington 1732 - 1799], not classically trained but with classical
tastes, approximates the pattern of his era.25
On his retirement from military service, he ordered
busts of Alexander, Caesar, and other personages, "not to exceed
fifteen inches in height or ten in width," together with "sundry small ornaments
for chimney pieces." For his library he sent for
busts of Sallust, Terence, Horace, and Erasmus. An invoice from his
English dealer included "A Groupe of Aeneas carrying his father out of Troy, neatly
finished and bronzed with copper--three pounds, three shillings. Two Groupes of
Bacchus and Flora, each two pounds, two
shillings," with instructions as to their places on the chimney piece.' .
"X The Classical
authorities--Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.],
Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.],
Polybius [c. 200 - c. 118 B.C.E.]
["Machiavelli [1469 - 1527] was much influenced by
Polybius [see Excursus, 1636]" (Hist. Freethought,
Robertson, 1936, vol. 1, 412 note)]
[for Machiavelli (and, Polybius), see: Machiavelli, Giuseppe
Prezzolini [January 27, 1882 - July 14, 1982 (100!)], 1967 ("translation of" (from?) Machiavelli anticristo, Rome, 1954) (Prezzolini is pro
Machiavelli, and, contra the critics of Machiavelli)]
--are given special
emphasis here [apparently, in this book] because of their underlying and essential relationship to
the American Constitution. There were many
others, some of them even more frequently appealed to, who were discussed during
the 1787 debates. One finds Plutarch,
Demosthenes, Thucydides, Sallust, Xenophon, Tacitus, Livy, Dio Cassius, and the
Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnassus
referred to in various connections. There were scattered single-speech
sources, to be found in the libraries of squires, lawyers, merchants, and
officials; farmers and working men borrowed classical material at second hand.
One question naturally arises: Why was Plato almost entirely absent from these debates on the
Constitution? The answer is that he was consulted by the
colonists as a spiritual adviser rather than as a political
scientist.16 Divines like Samuel
Johnson of Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards, the Mathers, Mayhew, and Witherspoon
rate him as the first among non-Christian writers. Although worshiped by Cicero
as a philosopher, and much used by Milton and the "classical republicans" in
England, he rarely appeared in colonial America as an authority on governmental
matters. Jefferson and Adams agreed that
he [Plato] was too visionary for practical purposes. "Plato,"
said Elbridge Gerry solemnly, "was not a Republican." Polybius, as usual, sums up the situation:
"It is not fair to introduce Plato's Republic, which is belauded by some philosophers. For
just as we do not admit to athletic contests artists or athletes who have not
been in training, so we have no right to admit this constitution for the prize
of merit, unless it first give an exhibition of its actual working." Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts, one of the best
colonial historians, held that Plato's was an ideal creation, but that his
characters were not found in real life.' [178-179].
from: Polybius [c. 200 - c. 118 B.C.E.], The Histories, with an English Translation by
W.R. Paton, in Six Volumes, III, Harvard; Heinemann, MCMLXXIX (1923).
"the quality in which the
Roman commonwealth is most distinctly superior is in my opinion the nature of
their religious convictions. I believe that it is the very thing which
among other peoples is an object of reproach, I
mean superstition, which maintains the cohesion of the Roman State.
These matters are clothed in such pomp and introduced to such an extent into
their public and private life that nothing could exceed it [compare: Catholic Church: inundations via
calendars (Saints' Days, etc.),
geographical namings (cities, streets, etc.), etc.], a fact which will surprise many. My own
opinion at least is that they have adopted this course for the sake of the
common people. It is a course which perhaps would not have been necessary had it
been possible to form a state composed of wise men, but as every multitude is
fickle, full of lawless desires, unreasoned passion, and violent anger, THE MULTITUDE MUST BE HELD IN BY INVISIBLE TERRORS AND
SUCHLIKE PAGEANTRY. For this reason I think, not that the ancients
acted rashly and at [sic] haphazard in introducing among the people notions
concerning the gods and beliefs in the terrors of hell, but that the moderns are most rash and foolish in banishing such
beliefs. The consequence is that among the Greeks,
apart from other things, members of the government, if they are entrusted with
no more than a talent, though they have
ten copyists and as many seals and twice as many witnesses, cannot keep their
faith; whereas among the Romans those who
as magistrates and legates are dealing with large sums of money maintain correct
conduct just because they have pledged their faith by oath. Whereas
elsewhere it is a rare thing to find a man who keeps his hands off public money,
and whose record is clean in this respect, among the Romans one rarely comes across a man who has been
detected in such conduct. ...[the three ellipses represent a sentence in Latin,
in the Greek text]" [395, 397] [End of Book VI.].
'XI Epilogue: Adams
The essays in this book, in which the colonial mind has
expressed itself through various personalities and episodes, can be summarized
by the testimony of the two statesmen whose old-age correspondence offers a
retrospective and panoramic view of the years when a colony was being converted
into a nation. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, though absent from the
Constitutional Convention on diplomatic service, have added yet another classic
to American history and literature. Their exchange
of letters, after their reconciliation through Benjamin Rush in 1811, reviews
most of the issues and events of the time, "in calm of mind, all passion spent." These two
writers fit the Emersonian definition of "Man Thinking." The most profound
student of political science exchanges ideas with the most versatile contributor
to the theory and practice of democracy and human relations. Intellectual
without being pedantic, they touch on all phases of colonial culture; and they
are artists in their application of the classical tradition.
Adams the Stoic and Jefferson
the Epicurean, each preserving loyalty to a nonliturgical
Christianity, reviewed the events of the colonial period....' ["191"].
'Their [John Adams and
Thomas Jefferson] voluminous reading in
history, especially Tacitus [c. 56 - c. 120 C.E.], who was the prime favorite of both men, undoubtedly led
them to a fundamental problem stated in the Annals
of the Roman [Tacitus]: "A mixed government, composed of three simple
forms, is a thing rather to be wished than expected."1 Adams had upheld from youth to old age the
Aristotelian canon of executive, council, and popular assembly, in his draft of
the Massachusetts state constitution, his Thoughts on
Government, and his voluminous Defence of the
Constitutions of Government of the United States. But the Virginian
[Jefferson] answered in the affirmative to Adams' question: "Can a popular
government preserve itself? If it can, there is reason to hope for all the
equality, all the liberty and every other good fruit of an Athenian democracy,
without any of its ingratitude, levity, convulsions, or factions." In the end, they settled for the Politeia of Aristotle, Jefferson having some doubts
about the judiciary and some fear of a too powerful senate. [see 1534
They were agreed on the
harm done to the science of government since the days of Aristotle [384
- 322 B.C.E.] and Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.]
by "ECCLESIASTICAL AND IMPERIAL DESPOTISM." They
equally abhorred tyrants like Sulla and
Caesar, Cleon and the Gracchi. They concluded that the Romans,
however great, never possessed real liberty: there was pride, strength, and
courage in their leaders but no fundamental harmony because of the gap between
rich and poor. They were both skeptical of Augustus' one-man rule. They regarded
Solon's reforms as unsatisfactory because of their emphasis on property and
gradation according to wealth. The Articles of Confederation were inadequate:
"If the thirteen states were put into a league like the Achaean or the Aetolian,
each an independent entity, the result would be chaos." But both of them would
have sympathized with the opinion of a later scholar, E.L. Godkin, who cited with approval "the
composition of the Roman Senate, which consisted of notables who had in some
manner rendered the state marked service."2'
'These two elder statesmen [John Adams and Thomas Jefferson] reveal a mastery of the classics and a practical
application of ancient ideas to modern situations. They were at home in
Latin, and Jefferson's Greek was actively
kept up. "Classics," said Adams, "in
spight of our friend Rush, I must think indispensable." Jefferson had
thanked his father for insisting upon such training: "I would not exchange this
attainment for anything which I could then have acquired and have since
'these political philosophers [John Adams and Thomas Jefferson] were allergic to Plato. Jefferson criticized his "foggy mind," wondering how Cicero could have elevated him [Plato] to such a degree of worship. Adams seems to
have made a special effort to understand him, writing his friend that in 1784 he
went through Plato's works, using Latin and French versions and comparing them
with the Greek. He complained that the Republic and the Laws
were "a bitter satyre upon all republican government."' .
'These two great statesmen [John Adams [1735 - 1826] and Thomas Jefferson [1743 - 1826]] made the past their own possession, interpreting it with
charm, originality, and relevance. Those who believe that literature
and scholarship should go hand in hand will agree that THIS INTERCHANGE OF LETTERS [John Adams and Thomas Jefferson] [see 1644]
CONSTITUTES AN AMERICAN MASTERPIECE. It
also represents the high-water mark of the
classical tradition in colonial writings. Bacon's happy description of the uses of
learning--"Studies serve for delight, for ornament,
and for ability"--was never more convincingly exemplified.'  [End
from: Seven Wise Men of Colonial America, Richard
M. Gummere [translator of Seneca (see 1566, 1587, 1610, 1615, 1633)], Harvard
University Press, 1967.
Thomas Paine [1737 -
Was He Really
'"Learning," he [Thomas Paine] declared, "does not consist in the knowledge of languages, but in the
knowledge of things to which language gives names [see below
(Seneca)]. The Greeks were a learned
people; but learning, with them, did not consist in
speaking Greek any more than
in a Roman's speaking Latin or a
Frenchman's speaking French--From what we
know of the Greeks, it does not appear
that they knew or studied any language but their own--The schools of the Greeks were
schools of science and philosophy, and not of languages; and it is
in the knowledge of the things that science and philosophy teach, that learning
consists. Almost all the scientific learning that now exists came from the
Greeks, or the people that spoke the
Greek language--It therefore became
necessary to people of the other nations that some among them should learn the
Greek language, in order that the learning
of the Greeks might be known in those
languages by translating the Greek books
on science and philosophy into the mother tongue of each nation." Hence the study of Greek or Latin as such "was only the drudgery business of a linguist."
Hence also the danger of putting the problem into the hands of specialists who
force it on the schools and colleges. "All honor to
the great masters who are deservedly cultivated, such as Aristotle, Socrates,
Plato, etc." But government should not set up a "factory of notables."
The mere name of antiquity
establishes nothing. Herodotus and Tacitus are important, and are judged
according to their inspirational interest; but THEY ARE CREDITED ONLY AS FAR AS
THEY RELATE THINGS CREDIBLE.26'
[from: Seneca Moral Essays [see 1614], "On Tranquillity of Mind", II. 3:
'This abiding stability of mind the Greeks call euthymia,
"well-being of the soul," on which there
is an excellent treatise by Democritus [c.
460 - 370 B.C.E.]; I[Seneca] call it
tranquillity. For there is no need to imitate
and reproduce words in their Greek shape;
the thing itself, which is under discussion, must be designated by some name
which ought to have, not the form, but the force, of the Greek term.' [213, 215] [See above]].
'Our reformer [Thomas
Paine 1737 - 1809] in the field of the classics has high praise for
Athenian democracy: "What Athens was in miniature, America will be in magnitude
if only it follows the principle of representation."39 He [Thomas Paine] did not realize that Polybius [c. 200 - c. 118 B.C.E.] [see 1635, 1636]
was skeptical about pure democracies, and had raised the question whether the
Attica of Pericles [c. 495 - 429 B.C.E.]
might not have resembled "a poorly-trimmed boat."40 He found, however, "more to admire and less to
condemn in that great people than in anything which history records."41 He [Thomas Paine] was mentally and physically at
the farthest remove from the Oxford or Cambridge common room atmosphere; yet,
despite his lack of scholarly prominence, [THOMAS
PAINE] SUGGESTED A LARGE-SCALE
INTERNATIONAL GROUP TO STUDY PAST AND PRESENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO WORLD
WELFARE. "A society for enquiring into the ancient state of the world
and the state of ancient history, so far as history is connected with systems of
religion ancient and modern, may be a useful and instructive institution."42 This tradition must be kept in reasonable balance:
"for if we travel still further into antiquity, there are a thousand authorities
successively contradicting each other." Hence a respect but not an adoration of
the men of old is in order. They should admire us rather than we them. "I have no notion," as
Paine said on several occasions, "of
yielding the palm ["supreme honour", "prize", etc. (O.E.D.)] of the United States
to any Grecians or Romans that ever were born [understandable
declamation (politics, animating, etc.) (extent valid?). complex. comparing
who?, when?, where?]."43'
[95-96] [End of text ("Notes" and "Index", follow)].
Apocrypha, 1496-1497, 1508, 1525
Apocryphal, 1501, 1580, 1586, 1595, 1612, 1643
Aratus, 1496, 1508, 1587
Aristotle, 1496, 1524, 1527, 1540, 1544, 1621, 1635,
Christian, 1496-1499, passim
Christianism, 1502, 1532, 1535, 1567, 1579, 1588
Christianity, 1496, 1498, passim
dead, 1503, 1512, 1516, 1575, 1578, 1597, 1613, 1631
death, 1500, 1524, 1530, 1532-1534, 1543, 1546, 1552,
1568, 1577-1578, 1581, 1585, 1589, 1606, 1608, 1611, 1613, 1615, 1619-1620,
1626, 1629, 1643
deus ex machina, 1509, 1564
Epicureanism, 1496, 1506, 1524-1540, 1542, 1544-1546
Epicureans, 1524-1525, 1528-1530, 1532-1534, 1540, 1545,
Epicurus, 1496-1498, passim
Epimenides, 1496, 1508, 1570
Greek, 1496, 1498, 1500-1503, 1506-1508, 1519, 1521,
1523-1525, 1529, 1531-1533, 1535, 1538-1540, 1542-1544, 1546-1548, 1552,
1555-1560, 1562, 1565, 1567-1569, 1571-1573, 1575-1576, 1578, 1580, 1583, 1588,
1592, 1601, 1607, 1627, 1629, 1633, 1638-1640, 1643 [see: #22, 466]
heaven, 1500, 1503, 1516, 1547, 1559, 1566, 1568, 1570,
1576-1578, 1596, 1624, 1627
hell, 1567, 1636
immortality, 1525, 1533, 1549, 1552, 1575, 1577-1579,
1586, 1589, 1595, 1597, 1613-1614, 1624, 1632, 1643
Jesus Christ, 1496, 1498-1499, 1500-1501, 1503-1506,
1509-1510, 1514-1517, 1522, 1525, 1532, 1535, 1541, 1543-1544, 1546-1547,
1560-1561, 1563-1565, 1567-1568, 1575, 1578, 1586, 1593, 1597, 1606, 1625, 1629,
Jew, 1524, 1540, 1546, 1552
Jewish, 1499, 1506, 1508-1510, 1513, 1525, 1532, 1555,
1560, 1562, 1565-1566, 1569, 1571, 1574, 1576, 1579
Jews, 1500-1502, 1509, 1512, 1557-1559, 1563-1564, 1572,
1578-1579, 1586, 1599
Judaism, 1501-1502, 1508, 1514, 1552-1553, 1558-1559,
1563-1564, 1567, 1579
logos, 1540, 1559-1561, 1564-1566, 1574, 1576-1578
Menander, 1496, 1508, 1531, 1571
moral, 1506, 1523, 1529, 1536, 1552, 1571, 1576, 1580,
1582, 1585-1586, 1590, 1593, 1599-1602, 1613-1614, 1620-1621, 1628, 1630-1631,
Morales (Epistulae Morales, Seneca), 1499, 1566,
1609-1611, 1614-1615, 1618, 1623, 1632
New Testament, 1496-1497, 1499, 1501, 1504-1506, 1508,
1510-1522, 1526, 1529, 1534-1540, 1542, 1544-1545, 1547, 1555, 1558-1561, 1563,
1565, 1568-1572, 1576, 1580, 1606, 1629-1630, 1643
Old Testament, 1496-1497, 1504-1518, 1520, 1522, 1538,
1546, 1559, 1563, 1565, 1573, 1631, 1643
Paul, 1498, 1501-1502, 1505, 1508, 1512, 1516, 1523,
1525, 1536-1549, 1560-1561, 1563, 1566, 1570-1572, 1578, 1580-1581, 1583,
1586-1588, 1592-1593, 1595, 1611-1612, 1627
Philo of Alexandria, 1496, 1498, passim
Philonism, 1496, 1506, 1554-1556
Plato, 1496, 1524, 1529-1531, 1533-1535, 1540, 1543,
1554-1556, 1558, 1562, 1568-1571, 1574-1575, 1578, 1583, 1588, 1591, 1596, 1602,
1613, 1621, 1627, 1635, 1638-1639
progress, 1582, 1601, 1604-1605, 1622, 1624-1625
reincarnation, 1556 [see 1643]
resurrection, 1525, 1533, 1547, 1613, 1643
Seneca, 1496, 1498-1499, passim
Socrates, 1496, 1569-1570, 1574, 1578, 1588-1589, 1600,
soul, 1520, 1549, 1565, 1568, 1570, 1576-1579, 1582,
1588-1589, 1594, 1596, 1604, 1612-1616, 1619, 1621, 1624, 1639, 1643
spirit, 1501, 1509, 1524, 1531-1532, 1535, 1542, 1544,
1547, 1560, 1565-1566, 1569-1570, 1576-1578, 1582, 1588-1590, 1597, 1615-1617,
1620, 1625, 1633, 1635
stars, 1503, 1566, 1570, 1614, 1624
Stoic, 1523-1525, 1528-1530, 1533-1534, 1537, 1540,
1545, 1550-1556, 1569, 1571, 1574, 1580-1582, 1586-1588, 1593, 1600-1605, 1612,
Stoicism, 1496, 1506, 1523-1524, 1529-1531, 1534-1535,
1537, 1568, 1586-1587, 1609, 1613
[Note: many of the above [1641-1643] subjects, are
succinctly addressed by Joseph McCabe, A Rationalist
Encyclopaedia, Watts, 1948].
from: Harper's Bible Dictionary, Madeleine S.
Miller and J. Lane Miller, Harper, 1973 (c1952).
deathlessness; unending existence. As applied to man, the word implies
that he will still continue to exist even though he passes through the
experience of death. The ancient Greeks
believed in "the immortality of the
soul," that is, that there is an immortal
element in man that will survive even though the body dies. Although this
view has been held by Christians
throughout much of the Church's history, the fact that the Greek words meaning "immortality" occur only five times in the N.T. (Rom. 2:7; I Cor. 15:53 f. [1 Cor. 15:54]; I
Tim. 6:16; II Tim. 1:10) shows that the concept is not particularly congenial to
Biblical thinking. Both O.T. and N.T. think of survival after death in terms of resurrection* of the complete man, soul and body (in some sense), rather than of the
continued existence of the soul alone
(Isa. 26:19; II Macc. 7:10 f.; Matt. 27:52 f.; I Cor. 15:35-44; Phil. 3:21). The
doctrine of man's natural immortality
appears only in the apocryphal Wisdom of
The idea of a continuing and happy existence after
death was a very late development in
O.T. thought and is certainly attested
only in Isa. 26:19 and Dan. 12:2 f. In the intertestamental period it was
widespread and became one of the distinctive tenets of the Pharisees (Acts
23:6-8; John 11:24). But the doctrine takes on a new depth in the N.T. because the possibility of a life after
death for the believer is connected with
his relationship to the risen Christ....'
from: Letters Sentences and Maxims, by Lord
Chesterfield [Philip Dormer Stanhope. 4th Earl of Chesterfield. 1694 - 1773]
With a Prefatory Note by Charles Sayle [1864 - 1924] and a Critical Essay by
C.A. Sainte Beuve [1804 - 1869], de L'Academie Francaise. The Chesterfield
Society, London and New York, n.d.
[found in an antique store, Carlsbad, 6/8/2001 (see
"Edition De Luxe
Limited [?] to One Thousand Copies.
The Chesterfield Society"
Scoffers.--[To His Son London, May 10, 1748] Religion is one of their [apparently, Freethinkers ("? 1692": "Free Thinkers". "1708":
"Freethinkers" (O.E.D.))] favorite topics; it is all priestcraft; and an
invention contrived and carried on by priests, of all religions, for their own
power and profit; from this absurd and false principle flow the commonplace,
insipid jokes and insults upon the clergy. With these people [apparently,
Freethinkers], every priest, of every religion, is either a public or a
concealed unbeliever, drunkard, and whoremaster; whereas I [Lord Chesterfield] conceive that priests are
extremely like other men, and neither the better nor the worse for wearing a
gown or a surplice; but, if they are different from other people, probably it is
rather on the side of religion and morality, or at least decency, from their
education and manner of life." . [for entire letter, see: Lord Chesterfield's Letters, David Roberts, Oxford,
are at the best, as he [Lord Chesterfield]
says himself, "what one man of the world writes to another [see 1638]." "I am
not writing poetry," he says, "but useful reflections." "Surely it is of great
use to a young man before he starts out for a country full of mazes, windings
and turnings, to have at least a good map of it by some experienced traveller."
And so the old man [Lord Chesterfield] gives us his map of life as he had seen it. It is exactly
the same estimate in result as Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] gave in the De Oratore [II.
"MEN JUDGE MOST THINGS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF
either [delete "either" (see Loeb, below)] HATE, OR LOVE, OR DESIRE, OR ANGER, OR GRIEF, OR JOY, OR HOPE, OR FEAR, OR ERROR, OR SOME OTHER
PASSION [, OR SOME
THAN BY TRUTH ["REALITY"
("VERITATE" (see Ox. Latin Dict.) (Cicero, De
Oratore, Sutton, and, Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, Vol. I, 324,
325))], OR PRECEPTS, OR
STANDARD OF RIGHT, OR JUSTICE, OR LAW."' .