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Roman Christianity and Roman StoicismA Comparative Study of Ancient Morality$
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Runar M. Thorsteinsson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199578641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578641.001.0001

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Epictetus

Epictetus

Chapter:
(p.55) 4 Epictetus
Source:
Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism
Author(s):

Runar M. Thorsteinsson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578641.003.0005

This chapter presents the moral teaching of the ex-slave Epictetus (ca. 55–135 CE). He was a student of Musonius, but eventually he became a teacher himself. Like his fellow Stoics, Epictetus points to the divine origin of human beings as basic to the principle of other-regarding morality. But he places more weight on the theological foundation of ethics than any other Stoic we know of. All three Stoics discussed in this study speak in favour of the tenet of non-retaliation, but Epictetus takes a step further by insisting that one must even love those who treat one badly. The Stoic teacher thus comes close to advocating an ethic of ‘enemy love’.

Keywords:   Epictetus, ex-slave, theology, other-regard, non-retaliation, enemy love

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