- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (November 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140449469
- ISBN-13: 978-0140449464
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Epictetus (c. 55-135 AD) was a teacher and Greco-Roman philosopher. Originally a slave from Hierapolis in Anatolia (modern Turkey), he was owned for a time by a prominent freedman at the court of the emperor Nero. After gaining his freedom he moved to Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast of Greece and opened a school of philosophy there. His informal lectures (the Discourses) were transcribed and published by his student Arrian, who also composed a digest of Epictetus' teaching known as the Manual (or Enchiridion).
Top Customer Reviews
There is one caveat though: The text is ABRIDGED. The product description does not make this clear. Dobbin justifies omitting selected discourses from books 3-4 due to repetition of themes. For example in book 3, sections 1-2, 6-7, 9-15, 17-19, 21, 24-26 are missing. In book 4, discourses 5-12 have been omitted. This unfortunately limits the usefulness of the text. If you want the complete text, I recommend the Everyman edition (edited by Christopher Gill, with a revised translation by Robin Hard). Better yet if you can afford it, get the two volume Loeb Classical Library edition with the facing Greek text.
In short, this is a nice abridged edition of Epictetus, useful for those who want a streamlined introduction to the philosopher, but limited due to the abridgment.
Dobbin: "My mind represents for me my medium - like wood to a carpenter, or leather to a shoemaker. The goal in my case is the correct use of impressions."
Hard: "From this time forth, the material I must work upon is my own mind, as wood is the material of a carpenter or leather that of a shoemaker; for my business is to make right use of my impressions."
I was pleasantly surprised the first time I began the DISCOURSES. I had confused STOICISM with SPARTAN and was expecting to read admonitions to sleep on nails, sleep outside in the freezing cold wearing only one thin garment and to self-flagellate regularly. Well, I found none of the above. Basically, Epictetus teaches that happiness consists of learning what is in our control and what isn't, and to live in harmony with God and nature. Also central to Stoic thought is the importance of correct reasoning.
I was also pleasantly surprised that Stoicism does not advocate an uncaring view of the world. The DISCOURSES are full of examples of family, politics, friendship issues as well as dealing with hardships. I had a good chuckle over the the title: "To those who tackle philosophy just to be able to talk about it." (Book 2, chapter 19) On page 126, he says "Just pay attention to the way you behave and you will discover the philosophy you really belong to."
The introduction and "Further Reading" sections give examples of prominent people whose lives were (and some still are) profoundly influenced by Epictetus.
This volume contains all four "Books" of Epictetus' DISCOURSES as well as the ENCHIRIDION, a condensation of his teachings into smaller paragraphs and sayings. I was also pleased to find fragments of other writings from Epictetus as well which I didn't know still were around.
They are well worth reading.
|Length: 18:34 Mins|
~ Epictetus from Discourses
Epictetus is known as one of the world’s leading Stoic philosophers. Along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the three make up a very interesting bunch.
Seneca was essentially a billionaire advisor to Nero who was exiled and compelled to commit suicide while Aurelius was part Roman Emperor + part Stoic philosopher who wrote his Meditations while leading battles in the Danube.
Epictetus was a former slave turned philosopher who lived from 55-135 (a little later than Seneca and before Aurelius). After all the philosophers were kicked out of Rome, he settled in to a town called Nicopolis on the Adriatic coast of Greece where he ran a school of philosophy attended by Rome’s elite young men.
We covered another one of Epictetus’s books called the Enchiridion which literally means “ready at hand” or a “handbook.” That one is a short little distillation of some of his more pithy wisdom.
This book is a transcription of the informal lectures Epictetus gave to his students. While the Enchiridion is incredibly potent, with this one we get to see just how witty Epictetus is as he unpacks his ideas during lectures. (Both the Enchiridion and Discourses were transcribed and published by one of his students, Arrian. Thank you, Arrian.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert Dobbin, editor and translator, just decides to omit discourses from books 3 and 4 because he judges them "to be little more than restatements of ideas developed to... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Penguin Classics editions are my favorites for all sorts of works. Always an intelligent introduction and lots of good footnotes and sometimes some well received supplemental... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is for school. This is for school. This is for school. This is for school school please let me go nowPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was part of a core "library" that I've given each of my children as they go off to college. Read morePublished 6 months ago by G Bowman
The Discourses are a series of 5 books of which only 4 exists today by a student of Epictetus who has written down the teachings and philosophy of Epictetus. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Du Nguyen
Inspiring. Epictetus's words still have this enormous strength today because he lived what he spoke. Truism at its finest. Highly recommend this book.Published 12 months ago by Kristjan Pall
Very good book. Highly recommended by the author of The Obstacle Is The Way.Published 13 months ago by R. Maxwell Foster