Epictetus (born circa A. D. 60)

[Mentioned in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 149, 159]

Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, was a slave in Rome in his youth. His master, however, allowed him to attend lectures by the Stoic Musonius Rufus, and later when Epictetus secured his freedom, he became a teacher of philosophy. Because of their resistance to tyranny, prominent Stoics were expelled from Rome by Domitian in A. D. 90. Epictetus, numbered among them, retired to Nicopolis in Epirus, where he opened a school of philosophy. Although Hadrian treated him kindly, there is no record that Epictetus ever returned to Rome to lecture.

Until he adopted a child, Epictetus lived most simply in a small hut. But his mode of living became less austere when he engaged a nurse for the child. In later years the philosopher was served by loyal pupils.

The teachings of Epictetus, like those of Socrates, were recorded by one of his pupils. This pupil, Arrian by name, also the historian of Alexander the Great, has made Epictetus vivid as a teacher in the two books that have come down to us.

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Signs of the Times
September 22, 1956

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