Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/21

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


which Halbauer in a valuable study has most clearly stated thus (p. 56): "The Diatribae are not the curriculum proper, nor even a part of that curriculum. On the contrary, this consisted of readings from the Stoic writings, while the Diatribae accompany the formal instruction, dwell on this point or on that, which Epictetus regarded as of special importance, above all give him an opportunity for familiar discourse with his pupils, and for discussing with them in a friendly spirit their personal affairs." They are not, therefore, a formal presentation of Stoic philosophy, so that it is unfair to criticize their lack of system and their relative neglect of logic and physics, upon which the other Stoics laid such stress, for they were not designed as formal lectures, and the class exercises had dwelt satis superque, as Epictetus must have felt, upon the physics and logic, which were after all only the foundation of conduct, the subject in which he was primarily interested. They are class-room comment, in the frank and open spirit which was characteristic of the man, containing not a little of what we should now be inclined to restrict to a private conference, often closely connected, no doubt, with the readings and themes, but quite as often, apparently, little more than obiter dicta.[1]

  1. Cf. Bonhöffer, 1890, 22. The arrangement of topics by Arrian is a point which seems not to have been discussed as fully as it deserves. Hartmann's view, that the order is that of exact chronological sequence, seems to be an exaggeration of what may be in the main correct, but I think I can trace evidences of a somewhat formal nature in some of the groupings, and it seems not unlikely that a few of the chapters contain remarks delivered on several occasions. However, this is a point which requires an elaborate investigation and cannot be discussed here.