Inquires into ancient Athenian philosopher Epicurus' analysis of irrational fears and desires, arguing that such emotions played a more central and controlling role in his system than has often been supposed, in a book that also looks at how ancient Roman poet Lucretius interpreted Epicurus' ideas. Reissue.
In this book, David Konstan argues that the modern concept of interpersonal forgiveness, in the full sense of the term, did not exist in ancient Greece and Rome. Even more startlingly, it is not fully present in the Hebrew Bible, nor in the New Testament or in the early Jewish and Christian commentaries on the Holy Scriptures. It would still be centuries - many centuries - before the idea of interpersonal forgiveness, with its accompanying ideas of apology, remorse, and a (...) change of heart on the part of the wrongdoer, would emerge. For all its vast importance today in religion, law, politics and psychotherapy, interpersonal forgiveness is a creation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the Christian concept of divine forgiveness was fully secularized. Forgiveness was God's province and it took a revolution in thought to bring it to earth and make it a human trait. (shrink)
This book is about love in the classical world -- not erotic passion but the love that binds together intimate members of a family and close friends, but may also include a wider range of individuals for whom we care deeply. Among the topics discussed are friendship, loyalty, gratitude, grief, and civic solidarity.
David Konstan argues that the term philia, in Aristotle, represents an elective, affective relationship, and not, as many scholars have maintained, a relation of mutual obligation, like that of kinship, with no necessary affective element; in addition, he disambiguates two senses of philia, one corresponding to “love”, the other designating the reciprocal affection characteristic of friendship.
In this book, eminent scholars of classical antiquity and ancient and medieval Judaism and Christianity explore the nature and place of forgiveness in the pre-modern Western world. They discuss whether the concept of forgiveness, as it is often understood today, was absent, or at all events more restricted in scope than has been commonly supposed, and what related ideas may have taken the place of forgiveness. An introductory chapter reviews the conceptual territory of forgiveness and illuminates the potential breadth of (...) the idea, enumerating the important questions a theory of the subject should explore. The following chapters examine forgiveness in the contexts of classical Greece and Rome; the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and Moses Maimonides; and the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and Thomas Aquinas. (shrink)
This paper shows the close relationship between morality and emotions, as emotions were defined and understood by classical Greek and Roman philosophers. Particular attention is paid to the nature of anger, and also to the distinction between full-fledged emotions, which depend on rational judgments and which, accordingly, only human beings are capable of experiencing, and what the Stoics called “pre-emotions,” which were common to human beings and other animals.
Aspasius' commentary on the "Nicomachean Ethics", of which six books have come down to us, is the oldest surviving Greek commentary on any of Aristotle's works, dating to the middle of the second century AD. It offers precious insight into the thinking and pedagogical methods of the Peripatetic school in the early Roman Empire, and provides illuminating discussions of numerous technical points in Aristotle's treatise, along with valuable excursuses on such topics as the nature of the emotions. This is the (...) first complete translation of Aspasius' work in any modern language. (shrink)
In The Government of the Living, Foucault demonstrates elegantly and convincingly the emergence of a new idea and practice of penitence within the early Church, one that traced its origins to the Bible but in fact represented a departure from earlier Christian beliefs. This shift occurred largely under the influence of monastic and ascetic tendencies that came to play an increasingly powerful role in the second and third centuries after Christ. I suggest that this is the fundamental contribution of the (...) lectures, rather than the framing narrative concerning truth and power. In my comments, I focus on the ideas of conversion, change of heart, remorse, and repentance, and show how the classical Greek and Latin terms for a change of mind assume meanings as widely different as “conversion” and “penitence.” This semantic slide or instability mirrors and enables the reinterpretation of Biblical faith as penitence. I also discuss the relationship between self-disclosure, as the classical writers understood it, and confession, and relate this to a new conception of the inviolable self. (shrink)
Greek and Roman literature has bequeathed us a variety of perspectives on old age. Old age, in ancient times before there were palliatives for pain and devices to compensate for failing sense, such as eyeglasses and hearing aids, could be painful and humiliating. At the same time, old age commanded a certain respect, for the wisdom that time and experience brought, and it afforded pleasures of its own, such as memories of former goods. If erotic passion and attractiveness were diminished, (...) this might be considered a benefit rather than a loss. An aged person might still be able to manage personal affairs, and if death was closer, it was not something to be feared, if one had lived a full life. Old age was a stage in life, the final one, but not less valuable for that. (shrink)
There is a deep problem with beauty. Beauty is commonly equated with sexual attractiveness. Yet there is also the beauty of art, which arouses an aesthetic response of disinterested contemplation. As Roger Scruton writes in his recent book, Beauty : “In the realm of art beauty is an object of contemplation, not desire.” Are there, then, two kinds of beauty? By looking back at the classical Greek conception of beauty, we may see how it gave rise to the modern dilemma, (...) and some possible ways of resolving it. (shrink)
Epicurus had a distinctive position on pleasure: the greatest possible pleasure consists in the absence of pain. The pain in question may be physical or psychological. Not to be hungry, cold, or otherwise distressed is the greatest pleasure that the body can know; to be free of fear, particularly the kind of vague, undirected anxiety that Lucretius called cura, is the most pleasant state that the mind can achieve. As Lucretius exclaims, "Do you not see that our nature cries out (...) for nothing other than that pain be absent from the body and that it may enjoy in the mind pleasant sensations, far from anxiety and fear?". Beyond this, Epicurus avers, pleasures can only be varied, not increased. Epicurus further... (shrink)
Emotion Review, Volume 13, Issue 4, Page 282-288, October 2021. Efforts to identify in the expression “being moved” a new emotion have found a hospitable environment in the recent turn to the body in emotion and cognitive studies, exemplified herein affect theory, with a particular focus on the effects of music. Although classical Greek and Latin had comparable expressions, however, they did not single out a specific emotion. Given that music played an important role in ancient educational theories, and was (...) imagined as having arousing powerful reactions, this might seem a curious absence. The reason, at least in part, maybe the strong cognitive conception of emotions characteristic of classical theories. But this should not discourage the search for emotions that are not included in the ancient canons. (shrink)
Aristotle’s conception of vice is notoriously problematic. On the one hand, it appears as the antithesis of virtue; as such, it may seem, like virtue, to rest on principles, except that in the case of vice the principles are bad ones. On the other hand, vice may be something more like the privation or absence of virtue: not the negative pole or opposite of virtue but the condition of not being at all guided by rational principles or logos. As a (...) way of approaching Aristotle’s notion of vice, I propose to examine two disapproved qualities that Aristotle mentions briefly in his Rhetoric, and which are adduced as the opposites of emotions. The two qualities are ingratitude, which is represented as the opposite of feeling grateful, and shamelessness, the opposite of the emotion shame. Both ingratitude and shamelessness have the appearance of vices, even though they are contrasted here not with virtues but with passions or pathê. Examining the logic of these pairings will, I hope, shed light not only on ingratitude and shamelessness but also on the complex and unstable nature of vice itself. (shrink)
This latest volume of BACAP Proceedings contains some innovative research by international scholars on Plato, Aristotle, and Sophocles. It covers such themes as Plato on the philosopher ruler, and Aristotle on essence and necessity in science. This publication has also been published in paperback, please click here for details.
What is truly timeless? This book explores the language of eternity, and in particular two ancient Greek terms that may bear the sense of eternal : aiônios and aïdios. This fascinating linguistic chronicle is marked by several milestones that correspond to the emergence of new perspectives on the nature of eternity. These milestones include the advent of Pre-Socratic physical speculation and the notion of limitless time in ancient philosophy, the major shift in orientation marked by Plato s idea of a (...) timeless eternity, and the further development of Pre-Socratic insights by Epicurean and Stoic thinkers. From the biblical perspective, the intersection of Greek and Hebrew conceptions is reflected in Septuagint, as well as new inflections in popular terminology in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and in the role of eternity in the theology of the New Testament. The profound cross-fertilization of Christian and classical philosophical conceptions in the works of the Church fathers and their contemporaries is explored, bringing the topic into the Patristic period. Christian theology in the first five centuries of the Common Era and its choice of vocabulary prove to be most revealing of larger doctrinal commitments. Above all debate raged on the question of eternal damnation versus the idea (deemed heretical in the Christian church after the formal condemnation of Origenism) of apocastastis or universal salvation - that is, the belief that the wicked are not condemned to eternal punishment but will eventually be included among the saved. Terminology for eternity is often at the core of how these issues were debated, and helps to identify which writers inclined to one or the other view of the matter. (shrink)
This collection of original essays examines innovations in both the theory and practice of classical philology. The chapters address interdisciplinary methods in a variety of ways. Some apply theoretical insights derived from other disciplines, such as folklore studies, performance theory, feminist criticism, and the like, to classical texts. Others examine the relationships between classics and cultural studies, popular literature, film, art history, and other related disciplines. Others, again, look to the evolution of theoretical methods within the discipline of classics. Taken (...) together, the essays offer a spectrum of new approaches in the classics and their place within the profession. (shrink)