Episode 184 - "Epicurus And His Philosophy" Part 36 - Chapter 14 - The New Virtues 07

  • Welcome to Episode 184 of Lucretius Today. This is a podcast dedicated to the poet Lucretius, who wrote "On The Nature of Things," the only complete presentation of Epicurean philosophy left to us from the ancient world. Each week we walk you through the Epicurean texts, and we discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. If you find the Epicurean worldview attractive, we invite you to join us in the study of Epicurus at EpicureanFriends.com, where you will find a discussion thread for each of our podcast episodes and many other topics. We are now in the process of a series of podcasts intended to provide a general overview of Epicurean philosophy based on the organizational structure employed by Norman DeWitt in his book "Epicurus and His Philosophy."

    This week we continue our discussion of Chapter 14, entitled "The New Virtues."

    Chapter XIV - The New Virtues

    • Faith
    • Love of Mankind
    • Friendship
    • Suavity
    • Considerateness
    • Hope
    • Attitude Toward the Present
    • Gratitude
    • Gratitude to Teachers
    • Gratitude to Nature
    • Gratitude To Friends
    • Fruits Of Gratitude

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  • It today's episode we mentioned this from DeWitt p 316

    Along with caution and control goes the active hope of good things to come, as exemplified by the words of Cicero to the merry Epicurean Papirius Paetus: "You, however, as your philosophy teaches, will feel bound to hope for the best, contemplate the worst, and endure whatever shall come." footnote 94

    It would be necessary to check into the background of Papirius Paetus to assess how well known he was as an Epicurean. I see that the translation cited her does not translate "as your philosophy teaches" but "like the man of sense that you are."

    Perseus Under Philologic: Cic. Fam. 9.17.3

    Other references to Papirius: https://www.attalus.org/names/p/paetus.html#11

    This is probably an example of how desirable it would be to mine Cicero's letters to his friends for references to Epicurean viewpoints.

  • That Attalus site is such a resource!!

    In looking at one letter:

    DII (F IX, 23)



    I ARRIVED yesterday at my Cuman villa, tomorrow I shall perhaps come to see you. But as soon as I know for certain, I will send you word a little beforehand. However, M. Caeparius, who met me on the road at the Gallinarian wood, 1 told me you were in bed with the gout. I was sorry to hear it, as in duty bound; nevertheless, I resolved to come to you, for the sake not only of seeing you and paying you a visit, but even of dining with you: for I don't suppose you have a cook who is gouty also. Expect therefore a guest, who is far from being a gourmet, and is a foe to extravagant dinners.

    That snarky comment about gourmet and extravagant dinners seems to me to be a jab from Cicero using the Epicurean stereotype.


    By Zeus! Cicero was insufferable!!

  • Episode 184 of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available!

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  • Another enjoyable episode!

    One thing that stuck out to me was Joshua's passing remark of his reaction to "Greek has different words for love." I couldn't resist providing some context.

    The "ancient Greeks have different words for love" is analogous to "the Inuit have hundreds of words for snow." English can express just as many snow conditions as the Inuit just like English can express different conditions of love. However, translations of αγαπώ, φιλώ, etc. that all use English "love" completely mask the meaning of the Greek.

    I'm especially aware of this after listening yesterday to an episode of the Data over Dogma podcast (start 38:10). They talked about John 21:15-17 and the different words translated as love in English. A Christian website, Got Questions?, summarizes the importance of the Greek words:

    Quote from https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Peter-do-you-love-me.html

    There is also an interesting contrast when you look at the Greek words for “love” used in John 21:15–17. When Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” in John 21:15–16, He used the Greek word agape, which refers to unconditional love. Both times, Peter responded with “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” using the Greek word phileo, which refers more to a brotherly/friendship type of love. It seems that Jesus is trying to get Peter to understand that he must love Jesus unconditionally in order to be the leader God is calling him to be. The third time Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” in John 21:17, He uses the word phileo, and Peter again responds with “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you,” again using phileo. The point in the different Greek words for “love” seems to be that Jesus was stretching Peter to move him from phileo love to agape love.

    Just another example of how translation can either elucidate or obfuscate.

  • It was Pietro Redondi who put forward the thesis that atomism was at the center of the Galileo Trial because of its inherent challenge to the Eucharist. As I said, it is a very controversial claim. It is known that Galileo got into trouble with the Jesuits over atomism before his trial.

  • Regarding suavity, Lucretius uses it in reference to 'sweet flowers'.

    tibi suavis daedala tellus summittit flores, tibi rident aequora ponti placatumque nitet diffuso lumine caelum.

    My rough translation:

    "For you the clever Earth sends forth sweet flowers, for you laugh the waves of the sea, and the calm sky shines with diffuse light."

  • Don A few random thoughts --

    I recall that Alan Watts (in his Behold the Spirit – his only Christian book, written while he was chaplain at Northwestern University, and accepted as the thesis for his M.Div. degree -- objected to a hard-edged distinction between agape and eros, which he attributed to Philip Nygren). I have also read Greek Orthodox writers who agreed. The general thrust is that agape includes, but is not limited by, eros -- agape having an added connotation of deep caring for the other.

    In the Septuagint, agape is used to translate the Hebrew ahavah (love, generally) in the Song of Songs, where it at least seems to be tinted with the passion of eros. It might have seemed to Peter to be at least tinged with more than "unconditional" love.

    And Ignatius of Antioch declared (regarding the Christ), "My Eros is crucified!"