Book Review, Epiktetus – Enchiridion

Enchiridion contains the teachings of Epictetus on philosophy and his lectures on life he gave to his students. This book, written centuries ago, is still valid today. Because human, remains the same…

This book contains the teachings of Epictetus, one of the Stoic philosophers. Actually, like the relationship between Plato and Socrates, the author of this book is not Epictetus, but a student of his. He has two books, Diatribai and Enchiridion, which have survived to the present day.

Arrianus, his student and author of these books, says:

“Whatever I heard from him, I wrote word for word, trying to preserve his way of thinking and the sincerity of his speech as much as I could and as a memory for future use.”

Diatribai is written as word for word conversations of Epictetus. Of the full text, 4 out of 8 volumes have survived to the present day. Enchiridion is an abbreviated summary of it. Also, Diatribai is not easy to find, although Enchiridion is more popular, I guess.

Diatribai means “Dialogues / Conversations”, while Enchiridion means “Guide”.

The city of Nicopolis where Epictetus lived

Epictetus lived in the 1st century (about 400 years after Socrates) and is one of the most important philosopher of the Stoa doctrine. Stoic philosophy is about human virtue, happiness, morality and how to live a “beautiful” life. Epictetus’s thoughts also contain and support the teachings of Socrates.

Enchiridion is a short but also an important and profound book. Like every philosophy book, should be read in a contemplative manner.

Since the book supposed to be a guidance for people, perhaps we should also apply the teachings of Epictetus in our lives together with reading. Otherwise, don’t you think it would lose its purpose?

Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Diogenes are some of the other important thinkers of the Stoa philosophy. In order to understand the Stoic doctrine, it might be useful to read the lives and writings of these thinkers too.

Emin Ali Ertenü
Emin Ali Ertenü
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