Epictetus
Epictetus


Summary - Stoicism and Christianity

"Ought we to publish these things to all men?" No, but we ought to accommodate ourselves to the ignorant and to say, "This man recommends to me that which he thinks good for himself. I excuse him." For Socrates also excused the jailer who had the charge of him in prison and was weeping when Socrates was going to drink the poison, and said, "How generously he laments over us." Does he then say to the jailer that for this reason we have sent away the women? No, but he says it to his friends who were able to hear it, and he treats the jailer as a child.

This discourse on "Constancy and Courage" leads a torturous rout to its end. It is loaded with great information and ideas, yet, like many of the discourses, it tends to bounce around a bit. Of course, this is due largely to the fact that the discourses are taken from the notes of a student and tend to be from conversational discussions, not always held in the classroom.

Yet, the great thing about Epictetus is that there are certain threads he adheres to, whatever the general subject. The underlying precepts are always the same. The ideas to take away from this discourse can be distilled down to: 1) The spiritual is more important than the physical. 2) Objective reality resides in the spiritual. 3) The key to philosophy is to apply the objective spiritual reality to the physical world.

Chapter 29:

  1. On Constancy and Courage
  2. Do Philosophers Despise Kings? (2a)
  3. Opinions (2b)
  4. The Stronger and the Weaker (2c)
  5. Anytus and Meletus (2d)
  6. Superior Principles (2e)
  7. Child-Like Minds (2f)
  8. Like an Athlete (2g)
  9. Facing Adversity (2h)
  10. Might for Right (2i)
  11. Objective Truth (2j)
  12. Exhortation to Action (2k)
  13. The Runaway Slave (2l)
  14. Summary - Stoicism and Christianity (2m)
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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