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Virtue, Marriage, And Parenthood In Simplicius' Commentary On Epictetus' 'Encheiridion'

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Chapter Summary

The initial observations about the basic structures of Neoplatonist and Stoic thought lead next to the question of how both ancient schools assess the ties between theoretical and practical philosophy. Intrinsically connected to that question are their respective views of human relationships, such as friendship as well as the more traditional bonds of marriage and parenthood. Spouses and parents are not a strong presence in Epictetus' textual universe. After all, Epictetus is running a school or mental hospital far removed from the daily bustle of Rome and ordinary social activity. But the undeniable presence of these relationships is underscored by other Stoic accounts. By contrast, Simplicius' reinterpretation of Epictetus' Encheiridion in the context of Neoplatonism and not unlike Christian accounts, affirms the relegation of marriage and parenthood to the mere interstices of being.

Keywords: Epictetus; marriage; parenthood; Simplicius



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