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Arrian's Discourses of Epictetus
That when we cannot fulfil that which the character of a man promises, we assume the character of a philosopher.
What is the matter on which a good man should be employed, and in what we ought chiefly to practise ourselves.
1 'The abuse of the faculties, which are proper to man, called ration- ality and liberty, is the origin of evil. By rationality is meant the faculty of understanding truths and thence falses, and goods and then evils; and by liberty is meant the faculty of thinking, willing and acting freely—and these faculties distinguish man from beasts.' Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom, 264 and also 240. See Epictetus, ii. c. 8
2 This seems to be a proverb. If I am eaten, let me be eaten by the nobler animal.
3 A conjunctive or complex (συμπεπλεγμένον) axiom or lemma. Gellius (xvi. 8) gives an example: 'P. Scipio, the son of Paulus, was both twice consul and triumphed, and exercised the censorship and was the colleague of L. Mummius in his censorship.' Gellius adds, 'in every conjunctive if there is one falsehood, though the other parts are true, the whole is said to be false,' For the whole is proposed as true: therefore if one part is false, the whole is not true. The disjunctive (διεζευγμένον) is of this kind: 'pleasure is either bad or good, or neither good nor bad.'
4 We often say a man learns a particular thing: and there are men who profess to teach certain things, such as a language, or an art; and they mean by teaching that the taught shall learn; and learning means that they shall be able to do what they learn. He who teaches an art professes that the scholar shall be able to practise the art, the art of making shoes for example, or other useful things. There are men who profess to teach religion, and morality, and virtue generally. These men may tell us what they conceive to be religion, and morality, and virtue; and those who are said to be taught may know what their teachers have told them. But the learning of religion, and of morality and of virtue, mean that the learner will do the acts of religion and of morality and of virtue; which is a very different thing from knowing what the acts of religion, of morality, and of virtue are. The teacher's teaching is in fact only made efficient by his example, by his doing that which he teaches
5 'He is not a Stoic philosopher, who can only explain in a subtle and proper manner the Stoic principles: for the same person can explain the principles of Epicurus, of course for the purpose of refuting them, and perhaps he can explain them better than Epicurus himself. Consequently he might be at the same time a Stoic and an Epicurean; which is absurd.'—Schweig. He means that the mere knowledge of Stoic opinions does not make a man a Stoic, or any other philosopher. A man must according to Stoic principles practise them in order to be a Stoic philosopher. So if we say that a man is a religious man, he must do the acts which his religion teaches; for it is by his acts only that we can know him to be a religious man. What he says and professes may be false; and no man knows except himself whether his words and professions are true. The uniformity, regularity, and consistency of his acts are evidence which cannot be mistaken.
6 It has been suggested that Epictetus confounded under the name of Jews those who were Jews and those who were Christians. We know that some Jews became Christians. But see Schweig.'s note 1 and note 7.
7 It is possible, as I have said, that by Jews Epictetus means Christians, for Christians and Jews are evidently confounded by some writers, as the first Christians were of the Jewish nation. In book iv. c. 7, Epictetus gives the name of Galilaeans to the Jews. The term Galilaeans points to the country of the great teacher. Paul says (Romans, ii. 28), 'For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly—but he is a Jew which is one inwardly,' etc. His remarks (ii. 17–29) on the man 'who is called a Jew, and rests in the law and makes his boast of God' may be compared with what Epictetus says of a man who is called a philosopher, and does not practise that which he professes.
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