Marx’s Notebooks on Epicurean Philosohy

Fifth Notebook [184]

Luc. Annaeus Seneca, Works, Vols. [I-]III, Amsterdam, 1672

Epistle IX, [1,] Vol. II, p. 25. “You desire to know whether Epicurus is right when, in one of his letters, he rebukes those who hold that the wise man is self-sufficient and for that reason does not stand in need of friendships. This is the objection raised by Epicurus against Stilpo and those who believe that the Supreme Good is a dispassionate mind.”

“Epicurus himself ... spoke similar language: ‘Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the whole world.'” op. cit., p. 30.

“[...] he (Epicurus) added: ‘So greatly blest were Metrodorus and I that it has been no harm to us to be unknown and almost unheard of, in this well-known land of Greece.'” Ep. LXXIX, [15,] p. 317.

“As Epicurus himself says, he will sometimes withdraw from pleasure and even seek pain if either remorse threatens to follow pleasure or a smaller pain is accepted to avoid a larger one.” L. Seneca, On the Leisure of the Wise Man, p. 582, Vol. I.

“Epicurus also maintains that the wise man, though he is being burned in the bull of Phalaris, will cry out: ‘Tis pleasant, and concerns me not at all.’ Epicurus will say that it is pleasant to be tortured.” Ep. LXVI, [18,] [Vol. 11,] p. 235, also Ep. LXVII, [15,] p. 248.

“We find mentioned in the works of Epicurus two goods, of which his Supreme Good, or blessedness, is composed, namely, a body free from pain and a soul free from disturbance.” Ep. LXVI, [45,] p. 241.

“For he [Epicurus] tells us that he had to endure excruciating agony from a diseased bladder and from an ulcerated stomach, -- so acute that it permitted no increase of pain; ‘and yet,’ he says, ‘that day was none the less happy.'” Ep. LXVI, [47,] p. 242.

“I... remember the distinguished words of Epicurus ... ‘This little garden ... does not whet your appetite; it quenches it. Nor does it make you more thirsty with every drink; it slakes the thirst by a natural cure, -- a cure that demands no fee. This is the “pleasure” in which I have grown old.’ In speaking to you, however, I refer to those desires which refuse alleviation, which must be bribed to cease. For in regard to the exceptional desires, which may be postponed, which may be chastened and checked, I have this one thought to share with you: a pleasure of that sort is according to our nature, but it is not according to our needs; you owe nothing to it; whatever is expended upon it is a free gift. The belly does not listen to advice; it makes demands, it importunes. And yet it is not a troublesome creditor; you can send it away at small cost, provided only that you give it what you owe, not what you are able to give.” Ep. XXI, [9, 10, 11,] pp. 80-81.

“[...] Epicurus, whom you accept as the patron of your indolence, and of whom you think that he teaches softness and idleness and things which lead to pleasure, says: ‘Happiness seldom affects the wise man.'” Vol. I, p. 416, On the Constancy of the Wise Man [XV 4].

“Epicurus upbraids those who crave, as much as those who shrink from death: ‘It is absurd,’ he says, ‘to run towards death because you are tired of life, when it is your manner of life that has made you run towards death.’ And in another passage: ‘What is so absurd as to seek death, when it is through fear of death that you have robbed your life of peace?’ [To this can be added also] the following: ‘Men are so thoughtless, nay, so mad, that some, through fear of death, force themselves to die.’” Ep. XXIV, [22-23,] p. 95.

“I am also of the opinion (and I say this in defiance of my colleagues) that Epicurus’ teaching is pure and correct, and on closer consideration even severe: pleasure is confined to a small and insignificant role; and he prescribes for pleasure the law that we prescribe for virtue. He commands it to obey nature, but very little pleasure is sufficient for nature. What is it then? He who describes as pleasure idle leisure and a continual alternation of gluttony and sensuality, seeks a good advocate for a bad cause, and when he, attracted by a misleading name, attains it, he abandons himself to pleasure, yet not to that of which he has heard, but to that which he brought with him.” On the Happy Life, Vol. I, p. 542.

“[...] friends ...the name which our Epicurus bestowed upon them (the slaves).” Ep. CVII, [1,] [Vol. II,] p. 526. “[...] Epicurus, Stilpo’s critic.” p. 30, Ep. IX [20].

“[...] let me tell you that Epicurus says the same thing. ... that only the wise man knows how to return a favour.” Ep. LXXXI, [11,] p. 326.

“Epicurus remarks that certain men have worked their way to the truth without anyone’s assistance, he, among them, made his own way. And he gives special praise to these, for their impulse has come from within, and they have forged to the front by themselves. Again, he says, there are others who need outside help, who will not proceed unless someone leads the way, but who will follow faithfully. Of these, he says, Metrodorus was one; this type of man is also excellent, but belongs to the second grade.” Ep. LII, [3,] [p]p. [176-]177. “You will find still another class of man, -- and a class not to be despised, — who can be forced and driven into righteousness, who do not need a guide so much as they need someone to encourage and, as it were, to force them along. This is the third class.” ibid.

“Epicurus, the teacher of pleasure, used to observe stated days on which he satisfied his hunger in niggardly fashion; he wished to see whether he thereby fell short of full and complete happiness, and, if so, by what amount he fell short, and whether this amount was worth purchasing at the price of great effort. At any rate, he makes such a statement in the well-known letter written to Polyaenus in the archonship of Charinus. Indeed, he boasts that he himself lived on less than a penny, but that Metrodorus, whose progress was not yet so great, needed a whole penny. Do you think there can be fulness on such fare? Yes, and there is pleasure also,-- not that shifty and fleeting pleasure which needs a fillip now and then, but a pleasure that is steadfast and sure. For though water, barley-meal, and crusts of barley-bread, are not a cheerful diet, yet it is the highest kind of pleasure to be able to derive pleasure from this sort of food, and to have reduced one’s needs to that modicum which no unfairness of Fortune can snatch away.” Ep. XVIII, [9-10,] p[p]. 67[-68].

“[It was to him (Idomeneus)] that Epicurus addressed his well-known saying, urging him to make Pythocles rich, but not rich in the vulgar and equivocal way. ‘If you wish,’ said he, ‘to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his store of money, but subtract from his desires.’” Ep. XXI, [7,] p. 79.

Cf. Stobaeus, Sermon XVII [41-42]. “If you want to make somebody rich, do not give him more money, but free him of some of his desires.”

“'It is bad to live under necessity, but there is no necessity to live under necessity.’ Of course not. On all sides lie many short and simple paths to freedom; and let us thank God that no man can be kept in life. We may spurn those very necessities, said [Epicurus]....” Ep. XII, [10-11,] p. 42.

“The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, — he is always getting ready to live .... And what is baser than getting ready to live when you are already old? I should not name the author of this motto, except that it is somewhat unknown to fame and is not one of those popular sayings of Epicurus ....” Ep. XIII, [16-17 ,] p.47.

“'He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most,’ is a saying of Epicurus.” Ep. XIV, [17,] p. 53.

“This is a saying of Epicurus: ‘If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich.’ Nature’s wants are slight; the demands of opinion are boundless.” Ep. XVI, [7-8,] p. 60.

“The acquisition of riches has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles.” Ep. XVII, [II,] p. 64.

“Here is a draft on Epicurus .... ‘Ungoverned anger begets madness.’ You cannot help knowing the truth of these words, since you have had not only a slave, but an enemy. But indeed this emotion blazes out against all sons of persons; it springs from love as much as from hate, and shows itself not less in serious matters than in jest and spon. And it makes no difference how important the provocation may be, but into what kind of soul it penetrates. Similarly with fire; it does not matter how great is the flame, but what it falls upon. For solid bodies have repelled the greatest fire; conversely, dry and easily inflammable stuff nourishes the slightest spark into a conflagration.” Ep. XVIII, [14-15,] [p]p. [68-]69.

“... of Epicurus. He says: ‘You must reflect carefully beforehand with whom you are to eat and drink, rather than what you are to eat and drink. For a dinner of meats without the company of a friend is like the life of a lion or a wolf.’” Ep. XIX, [10,] p. 72.

“'No one,’ says he (Epicurus), ‘leaves this world in a different manner than he was born into it’ .... A man has caught the message of wisdom, if he can die as free from care as he was at birth.” Ep. XXII, [15, 16,] p. 84.

“I can give you a saying of ... Epicurus: ‘It is bothersome always to be beginning life.'” Ep. XXIII, [9,] p. 87.

“'When a man has limited his desires within these bounds [i.e., bread and water, which nature demands, cf. Epistle CX, [18,] p. 548], he can challenge the happiness of Jove himself,’ as Epicurus says.” Ep. XXV, [4,] p. 97.

“Epicurus, who says: ‘Reflect which of the two is more convenient, that death should come to us or we go to it.'” Ep. XXVI, [8,] p. 101.

“Wealth is poverty adjusted to the law of nature.” Ep. XXVII, [9,] p. 105. “’the knowledge of sin is the beginning of salvation.’ This saying of Epicurus seems to me to be an excellent one.” Ep. XXVIII, [9,] p. 107.

“Writing to one of the partners of his studies, Epicurus said: ‘I write this not for the many, but for you; indeed, each of us is enough of an audience for the other.'” Ep. VII, [II,] p. 21.

“I am still conning Epicurus: ‘If you would enjoy real freedom, you must be the slave of Philosophy.’ The man who submits and surrenders himself to her is not kept waiting; he is emancipated on the spot. For the very service of Philosophy is freedom.” Ep. VIII, [7,] p. 24.

“It was not the class-room of Epicurus, but association with him, that made [them] great men.” Ep. VI, [6,] p. 16.

“Hence I hold Epicurus’ saying to be most apt: ‘That the guilty may haply remain hidden is possible, that he should be sure of remaining hidden is not possible.'” Ep. XCVII, [13,] p. 480.

“I have read the letter of Epicurus addressed to Idomeneus which bears on this matter. The writer asks him to hasten as fast as he can, and beat a retreat before some stronger influence comes between and takes from him the liberty to withdraw. But he also adds that one should attempt nothing except at the time when it can be attempted suitably and seasonably .Then, when the long-sought occasion comes, let him be up and doing. Epicurus forbids us to doze when we are meditating escape and hopes for a safe release from even the hardest trials, provided that we are not in too great a hurry before the time, nor too dilatory when the time arrives.” Ep. XXII, [5, 6,] p. 82.

“No reasonable man fears the gods. For it is folly to fear that which is beneficent, and no one loves those whom he fears. In the end, you, Epicurus, disarm God. You have taken from him all weapons, all might, and so that no one should fear him, you have put him out of action. Therefore you have no reason to fear him who is surrounded by a huge and insuperable wall and is separated from the contact and the sight of mortals. He has not the possibility either to give or to harm. In the middle space between this and the other heaven, alone, without any living things, without any humans, without anything, he seeks to escape from the ruins of the worlds which are collapsing above him and around him, not heeding desires and without any concern for us. And yet you wish to appear as if you honour him as a father, with a grateful heart, as it seems to me; or if you do not wish to appear grateful, because you receive no mercy from him, but the atoms and these your particles have formed you accidentally and not according to any plan, why then do you honour him? Because of his majesty, you say, and his unique essence. If I concede you that, apparently you do this not induced by hope of any kind, by reward of any kind. Consequently there is something which is worth striving after for itself, whose worth itself attracts you: that is the moral Good.” On Benefits, Book IV, Chap. 19, p. 719, Vol. I.

“'All these causes could exist,’ says Epicurus, and tries several other explanations; and he rebukes those who have asserted that any definite one of these exists, because it is rash to judge apodictically of that which follows only from conjectures. Consequently an earthquake can be caused by water when it has eroded and carried away some parts of the earth, and these have been weakened; that which was borne by the parts when they were undamaged could no longer be held. Pressure of the air can set the earth in motion. For perhaps the air is set in vibration when other air streams in from outside. Perhaps it is shaken and set in motion when a part suddenly gives way. Perhaps it is held up by some part of the earth as by some kind of columns and pillars; if these are damaged and yield, the weight resting on them quakes. Perhaps hot masses of air are transformed into fire and rush down like lightning, doing great damage to what is in their path. Perhaps some blast of wind sets boggy and stagnant waters in motion and consequently the earth is shaken by an impulse or a vibration of the air, which increases with the motion itself, is carried above from below, however he says that no other cause is of greater importance in the case of an earthquake than motion of the air.” Questions of Nature, Book VI, Chap. 20, p. 802. Vol. II.

“On this question, two schools above all are in disagreement, that of the Epicureans and that of the Stoics; but each of them points, though in different ways, to retirement. Epicurus says: ‘The wise man shows no concern for the state, unless a special situation has arisen.’ Zeno says: ‘He must have concern for the state unless something hinders him.’ The former wants leisure on principle, the latter according to circumstances.” On the Leisure of the Wise Man, Chap. 30, p. 574, Vol. I.

“The pleasure of Epicurus is not estimated [...] because of how sober and dull it is, but they seize on the mere name, seeking some cover and veil for their lusts. Thus they lose the only good thing which they had in their badness, namely, shame of sinning. For they now praise that over which they blushed formerly, and they glory in vice, and for this reason even young people cannot regain their strength since shameful idleness has been covered with an honourable mantle.” p. 541, Chap. 12, [4, 5,] On the Happy Life, Vol. I.

“For all these [Plato, Zeno, Epicurus] did not speak of how they themselves lived, but of how one should live.” Chap. 18, [1,] p. 550, op. cit.

“Hence God does not dispense mercy, but, untroubled, unconcerned about us, and turned away from the world, he does something else or (and this for Epicurus is the greatest bliss) does nothing, and good deeds affect him no more than acts of injustice.” On Benefits, Book IV, Chap. 4, [1,] p. 699, Vol. I.

“Here we must bear good testimony to Epicurus, who continually complains that we are ungrateful in respect of the past, that we do not bear in mind the good that we have received and do not include it in enjoyments, as no enjoyment is surer than that which cannot be taken away from us again.” On Benefits, Book III, Chap. 4 [, 1, p. 666, Vol. I].

“We may dispute with Socrates, doubt with Carneades, repose with Epicurus, transcend human nature with the Stoics, defy it with the Cynics; Nature allows us to participate in any age.” On the Shortness of Life, p. 512, Vol. I.

“In this respect we are in conflict with the self-indulgent and retiring crowd of the Epicureans who philosophise at their banquets and for whom virtue is the handmaid of pleasure. They obey pleasure, they serve it, they see it above themselves.” On Benefits, Book IV, Chap. 2, p. 697, Vol. I.

“But how can virtue rule pleasure, which it follows, since to follow is proper to him who obeys, and to rule to him who commands?” On the Happy Life, Chap. 11, p. 538, Vol. I.

“For you [Epicureans] it is pleasure to abandon the body to idle leisure, to strive after freedom from care like people asleep, to conceal yourselves under a thick veil, to relax the sluggishness of the idle mind with emotional contemplation, which you call repose of the soul, and to strengthen with food and drink in the shade of gardens your bodies weakened by idleness; for us it is pleasure to accomplish good actions, even if they are wearying, provided only that through them the weariness of others is alleviated, or dangerous, provided that through them others are freed from danger, or burdensome for our fortune, provided only the distress and needs of others are attenuated.” On Benefits, Book IV, Chap. 13, p. 713, Vol. I.

“For those who lack experience and training, there is no limit to the downhill course; such a one falls into the chaos of Epicurus -- empty and boundless.” Ep. LXXII, [9,] p. 274, Vol. II.

“The Epicureans held that philosophy consists of two parts, natural and moral, and they did away with logic. Then, when they were compelled by the facts to distinguish between equivocal ideas and to expose fallacies that lay hidden under the cloak of truth, they themselves also introduced a heading which they called ‘on judgments and rules’, which is another name for logic, but which they consider an adjunct of natural philosophy.” Ep. LXXXIX, [11,] p. 397.

“The Epicurean god neither has anything to do himself, nor does he give others anything to do.” On the Death of the Emperor Claudius, p. 851, Vol. II.

“Then you say: ‘Is it retirement, Seneca, that you are recommending to me? You will soon be falling back upon the maxims of Epicurus. I do recommend retirement to you, but only that you may use it for greater and more beautiful activities than those which you have resigned.” Ep. LXVIII, [10,] p. 251.

“I am not so foolish as to go through at this juncture the arguments which Epicurus harps upon, and say that the terrors of the world below are idle, -- that Ixion does not whirl round on his wheel, that Sisyphus does not shoulder his stone uphill, that a man’s entrails cannot be restored and devoured every day; no one is so childish as to fear Cerberus, or the shadows, or the spectral garb of those who are held together by naught but their unfleshed bones. Death either annihilates us or frees us. If we are released, there remains the better part, after the burden has been withdrawn; if we are annihilated, nothing remains: good and bad are alike removed.” Ep. XXIV, [18,] p. 93.


Joh. Stobaei Sententiae et Eclogae, etc. Geneva, 1609

“Thanks be to bountiful nature for having made that which is necessary easy to obtain and that which is difficult to obtain not necessary.

“If you want to make somebody rich, do not give him more money, but free him of some of his desires.

“Temperance is the virtue of the appetitive part of the soul by which, with the help of reason, one represses longings for vulgar pleasure.

“It is the nature of temperance to be able to repress with the help of reason the longing for the vulgar enjoyment of pleasure and to endure and bear natural privations and suffering.” On Temperance, Sermon XVII, p. 157.

“We are born once, it is not possible to be born twice, and it is of necessity that life is not longer (necessarium est aetatem finiri). But you, who have no power over the morrow (qui ne crastinum diem quidem in tua potestate habes), are putting off the moment (tempus differs). Everybody’s life is wasted through procrastination, and for that reason everyone of us dies without having any leisure.” On Economy, Sermon XVI, p. 155.

“I have more than enough bodily pleasure when I have water and bread, and I do not care a straw for costly pleasures, not because of themselves, but because of all the unpleasantness that follows them.

“We feel the need for pleasure when we are sad because we do not have it. But when we do not experience this in our sensations, then we have no need for pleasure. For it is not the natural pleasure which causes external annoyance, but the striving for empty appearance.” On Temperance, Sermon XVII [p. 159].

“The laws exist for the wise not so that they shall do no wrong, but so that no wrong shall happen to them.” On the State, Sermon XLI, p. 270.

“Death is nothing to us. For that which is dissolved is without sensation. And that which is without sensation is nothing to us.” On Death, Sermon CXVII, p. 600.

“Epicurus of Demos Gargettios proclaimed: ‘To him for whom a little is not sufficient, nothing is sufficient.’ He said he was prepared to dispute over bliss with anybody if he had only bread and water.” On Temperance, Sermon XVII, p. 158.

“For this reason Epicurus also believes that those who are ambitious and seek after glory must not practise quietism, but must follow their nature taking part in civic affairs and work for the common weal, for their nature is such that, if they do not attain that for which they strive, they will become restless and embittered through inactivity. And yet he is foolish who enlists in work for the common weal not those who are suitable for it, but those who cannot be inactive; inner tranquillity and inner unrest must not be measured (securitatem animi anxietatemque metiri) either by the amount, great or small, of what one has done, but by the good and the bad. For to omit to do good is no less painful and disquieting (molestum est et turbulentum) than to do evil.” On Steadfastness, Sermon XXIX, p. 206.

“When somebody said: ‘The wise man will not be affected by love. The evidence for this is ... Epicurus ...’, he [Chrysippus] said: ‘This I take as a proof. For if ... the unfeeling Epicurus ... was not affected by love (the wise man will certainly not be affected by it)’ (ne sapiens quidem eo capietur).” [Here and below Marx inserts phrases from a Latin translation of Stobaeus where the Greek text is damaged] On Sensual Pleasure and Love, Sermon LXI, p. 393.

“But we will concentrate our attention on the tedious philosophers according to whom pleasure does not conform to nature, but follows that which does conform to nature -- justice, self-control and generosity of mind. Why then does the soul rejoice and find peace (tranquillatur) in the smaller goods of the body, as Epicurus says [...?]” On Intemperance, Sermon VI, pp. 81, 82.

“Epicurus [assumes] that the gods indeed resemble man, but that one and all they can be perceived only by thought because of the fineness of the nature of their images. He himself however [assumes] four other substances to be indestructible by their nature: the atoms, the void, the infinite, and the homogeneous particles; and these are called homoeomerias and elements.Physical Selections, Book 1, p. 5.

“Epicurus [is guided] by necessity, by free decision, by fate. And on the subject of fate they [the Pythagoreans] used to say: ‘To be sure there is also a divine part in it, for some men receive from the divinity an inspiration for better or for worse; and in accordance with this some are clearly happy and others unhappy. But it is quite obvious that those who act without previous deliberation and haphazardly are often successful, while others, who deliberate beforehand and consider beforehand how to do something correctly, are not successful. But fate manifests itself in another way, by virtue of which some are talented and purposeful, while others are talentless and, because they have a contrary nature, do harm; the former though hasty in judgment attain every object at which they aim, while the latter do not achieve their object, because their thinking is never purposeful, but confused. This misfortune, however, is innate, and not imposed from outside (non externam).Physical Selections, Book I, [p] p. [15-]16.

“[...] Epicurus (calls time) an accident, i.e., a concomitant of movements [...].” l.c., p. 19.

“Epicurus [says] that the fundamental principles of that which is are bodies perceptible through thinking, bodies having no part of void, uncreated, indestructible, which can be neither damaged nor changed. Such a body is called an atom, not because it is the smallest, but because it cannot be divided, can have nothing done to it and has no part of void.” Physical Selections, Book 1, p. 27.

“Epicurus [says] that the bodies are imperceptible and that the primary ones are simple, and the bodies composed of them have weight; that the atoms move, sometimes falling in a straight line (rectis lineis), sometimes swerving from the straight line; and upward movement occurs through collision and repulsion.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 33.

“Epicurus ... [says] that coloured bodies have no colour in the dark [...].” Physical Selections, Book 1, p. 35.

“[...] Epicurus [says] that the atoms are infinite in number and the void is infinite in extent.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 38.

“Epicurus uses alternatively all the names: void, place, space.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 39.

Cf. D[iogenes] L[aertius]. “'[...] if there did not exist that which we call void and space and intangible nature [...].'” p. 32. [Letter] to Herodotus.

“Epicurus [distinguishes] two kinds of motion, that in a straight line and that which swerves away from the straight line.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 40.

“Epicurus [says] that the world perishes in many ways, namely, as animal, as plant and in many other ways.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 44.

“All others [assumed] that the world is animated and guided by providence; Leucippus, Democritus and Epicurus, on the other hand, make neither of these [assumptions], but say that it arose out of the atoms through nature not endowed with reason.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 47.

“Epicurus [says] that the extremity of some worlds is tenuous, that of others is dense, and of these some are mobile, others are immobile.” Physical Selections, Book I, p. 51.

The following passage from Stobaeus, which does not belong to Epicurus, is perhaps one of the most elevated.

“Is there, Father, anything beautiful besides these? Only God” (by touton choris one should understand schema, chroma, and soma) [shape, colour, and body], “my child, rather that which is greater is the name of God.” Stobaeus, Physical Selections, Book I, p. 50.

“Metrodorus, the teacher of Epicurus, [says] that ... the causes, however, are the atoms and elements.” l.c., p. 52.

“[...] Leucippus, Democritus and Epicurus [say] that an infinite number of worlds [exist] to infinity in every direction; of those who assert an infinite number of worlds Anaximander [says] that they are at equal distance from each other; Epicurus, that the distance between the worlds is unequal.” l.c., p. 52.

“Epicurus does not reject any of them” (i.e., the views on the stars), “he adheres to the possible.” l.c., p. 54.

“Epicurus says that the sun is a big lump of earth similar to pumice-stone and sponge-like, which has been set on fire through its holes.” l.c., p. 56.

The passage cited above from the Physical Selections, Book 1, p. 5 [see this volume, p. 485] seems, more than the passage quoted by Schaubach, to confirm the view that there are two kinds of atoms. In this passage of the Selections, the omoiotetes [homoeomerias] are adduced as indestructible principles alongside the atoms and the void; they are not eidola [images] but are explained: ai de legontai omoiomereiai chai stoicheia [which are called homoeomerias and elements]. Thus it follows from this passage that the atoms, which underlie appearance, as elements, have no homoeomerias, and possess the qualities of the bodies of which they are the basis. This is in any case false. In the same way Metrodorus adduces as cause ai atomoi chai ta stoicheia [the atoms and the elements] (p. 52).


“Epicurus also pilfered his leading dogmas from Democritus.” The Miscellanies, Book VI, p. 629.

“[...] Homer, while representing the gods as subject to human passions, appears to know the Divine Being, whom Epicurus does not so revere.” The Miscellanies, Book V, p. 604.

“Epicurus also says that the removal of pain is pleasure; and says that that is to be preferred, which first attracts from itself to itself, being, that is, wholly in motion Epicurus, indeed, and the Cyrenaics, say that pleasure is the first thing proper to us; for it was for the sake of pleasure, they say, that virtue was introduced, and produced pleasure.” The Miscellanies, Book II, p. 415.

“... Epicurus thinks that all joy of the soul arises from previous sensations of the flesh. Metrodorus, in his book, On the Happiness Which Has Its Source in Ourselves Being Greater Than That Which Arises from Circumstances, says: What else is the good of the soul but the sound state of the flesh, and the sure hope of its continuance?” The Miscellanies, Book II, p. 417.

“Indeed Epicurus says that the man who in his estimation was wise, ‘would not do wrong to anyone for the sake of gain; for he could not persuade himself that he would escape detection.’ So that, if he knew he would not be detected, he would, according to him, do evil.” The Miscellanies, Book IV, p. 532.

It does not escape Clement that hope in the future world is also not free from the principle of utility.

“If, too, one shall abstain from doing wrong from hope of the recompense promised by God for righteous deeds, he is not on this supposition spontaneously good (ne hic quidem sua sponte bonus est). ... For as fear makes that man just, so reward makes this one; or rather makes him appear to be just.” op. cit.

“Epicurus, too, who very greatly preferred pleasure to truth, supposes faith to be a preconception of the mind (anticipationem); and defines preconception as a notion based on something evident, and on the obviously correct image; and asserts that, without preconception, no one can either inquire, or doubt, or judge, or even argue (arguere).” The Miscellanies, Book II, pp. 365 and 366.

Clement adds:

“If, then, faith is nothing else than a preconception of the mind in regard to what is the subject of discourse”, etc.,

from which one can see what here by fides intelligi debet. [must be understood by faith]

“Democritus repudiates marriage and the procreation of children, on account of the many annoyances thence arising, and the abstraction (abstractio) from more necessary things. Epicurus agrees, as do all who place good in pleasure, and in the absence of trouble and pain.” The Miscellanies, Book II, p. 421.

“[...] but Epicurus, on the other hand (contra), supposes that only Greeks can philosophise [...].” The Miscellanies, Book I, p. 302.

“Well, then, Epicurus, writing to Menoeceus, says: ‘Let not him who is young delay philosophising’, etc.” The Miscellanies, Book IV, p. 501. Cf. Diogenes Laertius, Letter to Menoeceus. [see this volume, pp. 406-07]

“ ... but the Epicureans too say that they have things that may not be uttered (arcana), and do not allow all to peruse those writings.” The Miscellanies, Book V, p.575.

According to Clement of Alexandria, the apostle Paul had Epicurus in mind when he said:

“'Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ'; branding not all philosophy, but the Epicurean, which Paul mentions in the Acts of the Apostles, which abolishes providence and deifies pleasure, and whatever other philosophy honours the elements, but places not over them the efficient cause, nor apprehends the Creator.” The Miscellanies, Book I, p. 295.

It is good that the philosophers who did not weave fantasies about God are rejected.

This passage is now better understood, and it is known that Paul had all philosophy in mind.