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The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus

An English Translation, Revised Edition


William O. Stephens

This text remains the only English translation of Bonhöffer’s classic, definitive examination of Epictetus’s ethics. Thorough, knowledgeable, perceptive, and accessible, the unity of this book and its thematic presentation make it an invaluable resource for both scholars and general readers eager to apply Stoic thinking in their daily lives. The translation is crisp, clear, consistent, and very readable. Careful attention to the details and nuances of the German as well as the Greek of Epictetus make this an excellent achievement. This new edition includes a useful biography of Bonhöffer, a new overview of the last twenty years of scholarship on Epictetus, and an extensive bibliography. It is essential reading for students taking courses on ancient Hellenistic or Roman philosophy, their instructors, and any non-academics who want to learn Stoicism.

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First Edition

I would like to thank all of the following people for their generous assistance: Sibylle Baur of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart for providing me with the biographical information on Adolf F. Bonhöffer; Prof. Ernst J. Brehm for his gracious help in translating Ritter’s necrology of B; Nanci Borg for her contribution to the word processing of the manuscript; Peggy Troy for her ever reliable and invaluable help in editing and proofreading the manuscript, and her stalwart genealogical and geographical research into B’s biography. I also owe thanks to JoAnn Frenschkowski for her help with the early stages of the translation, several years ago, when the kind support she gave was most needed. Thanks are also due to Roland Barthes for his assistance with the later stages of translation.

—Omaha, June 1995, W. O. S.

Paperback Edition

Interest in Epictetus and Stoicism has kept this book in such demand that, happily, a second printing is needed. That Bonhöffer’s scholarly work can thereby continue to reach a wider anglophone audience is welcome, and my gratitude goes to all the readers who have brought this about.

—Omaha, March 2000, W. O. S.

New Edition

With the second edition out of print for some time, a new revised edition is needed. Its new features are an overview of the last twenty years of scholarship on Epictetus with references and a short list of abbreviations....

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