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Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed) Paperback – January 19, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1441108104 ISBN-10: 1441108106 Edition: 1st

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Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed) + Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) + Meditations (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Product Details

  • Series: Guides for the Perplexed
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (January 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441108106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441108104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,652,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A very interesting and useful introduction to the life of Marcus Aurelius and to Stoic philosophy, which will prove rewarding reading for both the interested layman and the more serious student of Roman History." – A.A. Nofi, Editor, The NYMAS Review  “Marcus’s Meditations are a source of inspiration and curiosity. Why did Marcus write the book? What is the context and history of its authorship and dissemination? What are the book’s central themes? How are these themes related to Stoicism and to the rest of ancient Greek and Roman thought? And what is the lasting significance and impact of the text? William O. Stephens’s Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed does an admirable job of answering these questions. He details the historical context, shedding light on Marcus’s life, times, and even geography (as maps are provided). He briefly discusses the reception of Marcus by subsequent philosophers. He relates Marcus’s Stoic philosophy to the work of Heraclitus and Epictetus. And he analyzes the text from a variety of angles, including mereology, cosmology, philosophy of time, logic, and ethics. “ –Andrew Faiala, New York Military Affairs Symposium
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

William O. Stephens is a Professor of Philosophy and of Classical &Near Eastern Studies at Creighton University, Nebraska, USA.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Nofi on October 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'Books on Roman Emperors tend to be very long. Not this one. Among the greatest Roman emperors, Marcus Aurelius (r. AD 161-180) is also something of an enigma, a Stoic of introspective, philosophical bent, a man of no military experience who yet led one of Rome's last great wars of conquest, only to die on the eve of victory, a tolerant and humane man who yet allowed the persecution of Christians, and, of course, father of Commodus, whom he knew to be unbalanced yet made co-emperor at an early age. In Marcus Aurelius, Prof. Stephens (Creighton), author of The Person: Readings in Human Nature, tries to give us a look at this complex man, from his origins and education, through his ascent to power, military campaigns, and philosophical musings, and then takes a look at how history as viewed him. Quite naturally, Stephens dwells a good deal on Stoicism and Marcus' personal philosophy, but he also addresses his campaigns, putting them within the framework of overall imperial defense. And as a bonus, Stephens gives us an analysis of the film Gladiator as it reflects both history and Stoicism. A very interesting introduction to Marcus and to Stoic philosophy.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Harrison VINE VOICE on January 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book begins with a brief but useful summary of Marcus' life. The next section is its best, an analysis of the influence on Marcus of Heraclitus and Epictetus. The rest of its philosophical analysis, though, isn't much more than a restatement of what Marcus wrote. The last section, which discusses the extent to which scenes in the move Gladiator do or do not accurately reflect Stoic philosophy, is just silly -- the stuff of party conversation for the sort of geeks who are never invited to parties.
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More About the Author

William O. Stephens was born in Lafayette, and raised in West Lafayette, Indiana. After two years at the College of Wooster in Ohio Stephens transferred to Earlham, a Quaker college in Richmond, Indiana where he studied Greek and Latin and earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1984. Stephens received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. In autumn of that year he joined the Arts & Sciences faculty at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he is Professor of Philosophy and of Classical & Near Eastern Studies.

He has published articles on topics in Stoicism, Epicureanism and friendship, ecology and vegetarianism, ethics and animals, sex and love, sportsmanship, and the concept of a person. His books include an English translation of Adolf Bonhöffer's work The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus (Peter Lang, 1996), an edited collection The Person: Readings in Human Nature (Prentice Hall, 2006), Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom (Continuum, 2007), and Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2012).

Stephens' travels include the island of Rhodes, Crete, and mainland Greece, New Zealand, Iceland, the Bahamas, Cornwall, Scotland, Mexico, Canada, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica. Stephens enjoys tennis, chess, hiking, spelunking, kayaking, and nature photography. He has visited all of the U.S. states except Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. From an early age he has closely followed the misadventures of the Chicago Cubs, which helps explain his interest in Stoicism. He lives with two cats in an old arts & crafts style house in Omaha.

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