Epictetus
Epictetus


Brotherhood of Man

A student may ask, "How then shall a man endure such persons as this slave?" You are a slave yourself. Will you not bear with your own brother, who has Zeus for his father? Your slave is like a son from the same seeds and of the same descent from above? But if you have been put in any such higher place, will you immediately set yourself up as a tyrant? Will you not remember who you are, and whom you rule? Your slaves are your kinsmen. They are your brothers by nature. They are the offspring of Zeus.

Thus Epictetus shared the view of the universality of the brotherhood of man. He, like Paul, understood that here on Earth we are often given different stations in life.

One can take the whole master/slave relationship and translate it to the modern world in terms of the employer/employee relationship, or even the bureaucrat/citizen relationship. When a person has power over another he should not use it to his advantage or in an arrogant manner. What the whole thing really boils down to is following the "Golden Rule" - treating others as you yourself would be treated.

Chapter 13:

  1. How to Act According to God's Will
  2. Do Not Be Vexed (13a)
  3. Brotherhood of Man (13b)
  4. Morality Trumps Legalism (13c)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus


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