Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


for the sake of a general public which could not take time to read the larger ones, the elements of his doctrine were somewhat mechanically put together out of verbatim, or practically verbatim, extracts from the Discourses. That Arrian's report is a stenographic[1] record of the ipsissima verba of the master there can be no doubt. His own compositions are in Attic, while these works are in the Koine, and there are such marked differences in style, especially in the use of several of the prepositions, as Mücke has pointed out, that one is clearly dealing with another personality. Add to that the utter difference in spirit and tempo, and Arrian's inability when writing propria persona to characterize sharply a personality, while the conversations of Epictetus are nothing if not vivid.

We have, accordingly, in Arrian's Discourses a work which, if my knowledge does not fail me, is really unique in literature, the actual words of an extraordinarily gifted teacher upon scores, not to say hundreds, of occasions in his own class-room, conversing with visitors, reproving, exhorting, encouraging his pupils, enlivening the dullness of the formal instruction, and, in his own parable, shooting it through with the red stripe of a conscious moral purpose in preparation for the

    and intents of the heart. But despite the not inappropriate character of such a designation, and the fact that Simplicius himself (preface to his commentary) misunderstood the application, there can be no doubt but the word βιβλίον is to be supplied and that the correct meaning is Handbook or Compendium; cf. Colardeau's discussion, p. 25.

  1. Hartmann, p. 252 ff., has settled this point.