On Nature, book 28

  • One of my favorite passages from Epicurus comes at the end of Book 28 of On Nature:


    Nor shall I hesitate to cite repeatedly, to you and to these others, cases where there is still error of this kind among us; and so too all other cases, which are not of this kind, but ­which we would nevertheless consider to involve error. For the present, however, I do not wish to cite them, to avoid making a new start in a discussion which has already reached sufficient length. So let the words which we have prattled suffice for the present. And you others, try ten thousand times over to commit to memory what I and Metrodorus here have just said.

    And now I think I have finished prattling to you this twenty-eighth instalment of our consecutive lecture series.

    To me, it demonstrates:

    - the use of frank criticism in the Garden by correcting errors "among us"

    - Epicurus's sense of humor in using words that convey "prattling on"

    - the use of lectures in the Garden

    - the encouragement of memorizing texts

    - the use of back and forth conversation to instruct, ie what I and Metrodorus here have just said

    This little section packs a lot in.

  • The verb form of this word is what Epicurus uses to describe himself:

    ἀδο-λέσχης, ου, ὁ, (adoleskhēs)

    prater, idle talker, esp. of reputed sophists: Σωκράτην, τὸν πτωχὸν ἀ. Eup. 352, cf. Ar. Nu. 1485; ἢ Πρόδικος ἢ τῶν ἀ. εἷς γέ τις Id. Fr. 490; ἀ. τις σοφιστής Pl. Plt. 299b, cf. Tht. 195b, R. 488e: generally, talker, babbler, Thphr. Char. 3.2, Arist. EN 1117b35, etc.