2016-04-27 17:36:49 UTC
I bought this book almost 40 years ago. I wish that I had read it much
earlier. I had no knowledge of Stoicism and had the misguided impression
that it was essentially a fatalistic philosophy. That is why Maxwell
Staniforth's Introduction [pp. 7-27] was such an eye-opener.
Staniforth points out the profound influence of Stoic philosophy, as it
existed at the time of Marcus Aurelius, on Christianity. In particular:
1. The belief in the soul, and the notion "that after the dissolution of
the body the soul lived on in the upper regions of the air" [p. 15]
2. Some Stoics "believed in a purgatory state in which the soul underwent
physical and moral purification" [p. 16]
3. the concepts of universal brotherhood and kindness to others [p. 18]
4. "Logos" and "divine spirit" ("pneuma") had long been "the leading terms
of Stoicism" and were "the medium through which God manifested himself in
the creation and maintenance of the world" [pp.24-25]
5. "the Stoic belief in the final conflagration of the universe" [p. 26]
6. Humility and Asceticism: "anchorite," "ascetic," "monachi,"
and "monasterium"--"Each of these borrowed [Stoic] expressions has retained
its place and significance in the language of the Church to this day."[p. 26]
Staniforth was well-educated in both Stoic Philosophy and Christianity.
The scanned Introduction is available by scrolling down at: