Page:Discourses of Epictetus volume 1 Oldfather 1925.djvu/32

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is friendly and akin to you, to the physical elements" (III. 13, 14). But at the same time there is nothing to hope for.[1]

That Epictetus was influenced by the writings of the New Testament has often been suggested. There were those in late antiquity who asserted it,[2] and it was natural enough in an age when Tertullian and Jerome believed that Seneca had conversed with Paul, and in Musonius Rufus, the teacher of Epictetus, Justin (II. 8) recognizes a kindred spirit. But despite the recrudescence of the idea from time to time, and the existence of a few scholars in our own generation who seem yet to believe it, this question can be regarded as definitely settled by the elaborate researches of Bonhöffer (1911). Of course Epictetus knew about the existence of Christians, to whom he twice refers, calling them once Jews (II. 9, 19 ff.), and a second time Galilaeans (IV. 7, 6), for there was an early community at Nicopolis (Paul's Epistle to Titus, iii. 12), but he shared clearly in the vulgar prejudices against them, and his general intolerance of variant opinion, even when for conscience' sake, makes it certain that he would never have bothered to read their literature. The linguistic resemblances, which are occasionally striking, like "Lord, have mercy!" κύριε, ἐλέησον, are only accidental, because Epictetus was speaking the common language of ethical exhortation in which the evangelists and apostles wrote; while the few specious similarities are counterbalanced by as many striking differences. In the field of doctrine, the one notable point of

  1. See More, p. 168 ff.
  2. A Byzantine scholiast in Schenkl² xv.