Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Wise Stoic

This week I read Seneca's "Letters from a Stoic" and was taken back by how close his doctrine seems at times to Christianity. Seneca was born in 4 B.C. Rome, a well known philosopher and statesmen; rising in prominence to become one of the Chief Advisors to Nero.

Here is a selection from Letter XLI,

"...you are perservering in your efforts to acquire a sound understanding. This is something it is foolish to pray for when you can win it from your own self. There is no need to raise our hands to heaven; there is no need to implore the temple warden to allow us close to the ear of some graven image, as though this increased the chances of our being heard. God is near you, is with you, is inside you. [...] No man, indeed is good without God--is anyone capable of rising above fortune unless he has the help of God? [...] if you come across a man who s never alarmed by dangers, never affected by cravings, happy in adversity, calm in the midst of storm, viewing mankind from a higher level and the gods for their own, is it not likely that a feeling will find its way into you of veneration for him? Is it not likely that you will say to yourself, 'Here is a thing which is too great, too sublime for anyone to regard it as being in the same sort of category as that puny body it inhabits' Into that body there has descended a divine power. A thing of that souls height cannot stand without the prop of the deity. [...] a soul possessed of greatness and holiness, which has been sent down into this world in order that we may gain a nearer knowledge of the divine, associates with us, certainly, but never loses contact with its source."

I must admit that the following moved me severely, and I could not help but think of the greatness of God, all from a non-Christian author. The parallelism between it and our faith are compounded between the fact that Seneca was born the same year as Jesus. Not that it is doctrine but interesting non the less.

2 Comments:

At 8:29 PM, Blogger bombasticbeats said...

I have nothing profound to say, but I wanted to drop in and say hiyo!

Love the blog and keep it up.

How was the Modern Life is War show? It ended up being a good thing that I stayed home that night but it was a tough weekend for me emotionally and I had tons of domestic stuff to do before the week started.

 
At 9:56 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

it was freakin awesome

 

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