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17-10-'11 | Ancient World Seminar | Gerard Boter | Epictetus: Freedom as Philosophy

Wanneer:ma 17-10-2011 16:15 - 17:30
Waar:zaal 130
Epictetus (ca. 50 - ca. 130 A.D.) was born from a slave mother; for some time he served in the household of Epaphroditus, a freedman of Nero's, in Rome. Even while being a slave, he was able to follow the courses of the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus, whose teachings made an overwhelming impression on him. After having obtained his freedom, he founded a school of Stoic philosophy in Nicopolis in Epirus.
Stoicism teaches people to become completely independent from external matters: the perfect Stoic is fully self-sufficient and therefore perfectly happy. For Epictetus, the ex-slave, the highest goal to be achieved is freedom. Real freedom is not dependent on external circumstances but lies completely within our own power: "if you want, you are free". The concept of freedom will be the basis for this lecture on Epictetus, his teaching and his philosophy.
Gerard Boter is Professor of Greek at the VU Amsterdam. He received his PhD at the same university in 1986. The title of his disseration,The Textual Tradition of Plato's Republic, already announced the two topics to which he would devote most of his scholarly attention: the writings of Greek philosophers and the editing of ancient texts, preferably combining the two. He is currently working on an edition of Plato's Timaeus and Critias, and on an edition of Philostratus' Vita Apollonii. Throughout his career, Gerard Boter has often returned to the work of the first century Stoic philosopher Epictetus, publishing an edition of his Encheiridion in 1999 and - in collaboration with Rob Brouwer - a Dutch translation of Epictetus' collected works this year. This translation renders Epictetus' practical philosophy accessible to a wider audience.