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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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Index of Names


The page numbers listed below are those of Bonhöffer’s original. In the translation they appear boldfaced within square brackets, e.g. [175]. (Tr.)

(With the younger Stoics having been cited almost constantly by way of comparison, in the case of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius I have confined myself to citing the passages where their doctrines are discussed in detail and in connection.)


Academy, Academician. Old Academy: the πρῶτον οἰκεῖον (175, 176). Relationship of happiness and virtue (167, 183). Telos (185). καθῆκον (194).

Antiochus of Ascalon. Academic Stoic (165), opponent of skepticism (197). Fights against the autarky of virtue and the Stoic telos (19n, 178, 179, 186, 220). — His telos (10n, 165). πρῶτα κατὰ φύσιν, concerning the seeds of virtue in itself (175, 187). — Denies the equality of sins (100, 139).

Antipater of Tarsus, Stoic. Position on Panaetius (82, 99). Dispute with Diogenes and Carneades (233 etc., 241). — Ideal interpretation of marriage (88). Slavery (99). Telos (168–170, 178–184).

Apollodorus, Stoic. Doctrine on goods (242).

Arcesilaus. Originator of the Stoic definition of the καθῆκον (193, ←327 | 328→194). — Judgment of Cleanthes about him (215).

Archedemus, Stoic. Regarded by Epictetus as orthodox authority (123n, 125, 126). — Considers ἡδονή to be κατὰ φύσιν, but devoid of ἀξία (174, 177). — Telos (168–170, 178, 184, 185, 188).

Aristippus, makes pleasure the telos (175, 176, 185).

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