**This is the eighty-second in a series of weekly reports on news from the world of Epicurean Philosophy. Our home base for discussion is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ Copies of these posts, and links to active Epicurean websites, are stored at EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com.
**As of tonight, our group has grown to 1102. Last week this time we were 1030. We continue to grow steadily, and we welcome all participants and lurkers. We are here to discuss Epicurean Philosophy, have fun, and in the words of Lucian, “strike a blow for Epicurus – that great man whose holiness and divinity of nature were not shams, who alone had and imparted true insight into the good, and who brought deliverance to all that consorted with him!”
**We’ve had another active week of discussion so let’s check the highlights:
** Most-Commented Post of the Week: The run-away award winner for this category was Elli’s post on Pope Francis and his recent reference to Aristotle and Plato. This thread covered the gamut from the faces in the famous “School of Athens” painting to defense of Greco/Roman civilization from the barbarians, including the views of Nietzche and Dimitri Liantinis. I won’t attempt to summarize the details, but it might help if I point out a common thread in many of our conversations.
We often find ourselves discussing topics that are partial answers to the famous question “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Throughout the ages, have been people who have never given up the view that Greco-Roman civilization was superior to anything that has replaced it in the Judeo-Christian age. This view of history has been most notably expressed in the works of Nietzsche, especially in his “Antichrist.” Similar views were echoed more recently by a less-well-known (outside of Greece) intellectual by the name of Dimitri Liantinis. [Before going further, I should mention that one of our own group members has translated into English Liantinis’ most sweeping work, GEMMA, and this excellent book is available on Amazon.com.]
How does this relate to Epicurus? Nietzsche wrote in “Antichrist” that “One has but to read Lucretius to know what Epicurus made war upon—not paganism, but “Christianity,” which is to say, the corruption of souls by means of the concepts of guilt, punishment and immortality — He combatted the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity — to deny immortality was already a form of genuine salvation. Epicurus had triumphed, and every respectable intellect in Rome was Epicurean — when Paul appeared….”
Neither Nietzsche nor Liantinis appear to have been primarily Epicurean in viewpoint. Much of their work, however, is in the Epicurean tradition, so their arguments against the modern world and in favor of the Greco-Roman ethos have a distinctly Epicurean flavor. I highly recommend that students of Epicurus consider the writings of Nietzsche and Liantinis on this topic. They shed useful light on how someone of an Epicurean perspective would react to aspects of the modern world. I readily admit that both writers can be dense and difficult to follow if you are not familiar with ancient literature, but Nietzsche’s Antichrist is one of his most readable works, and the English translation of GEMMA is very approachable. Til you have time for those, our Facebook conversations can clue you in to the debate, and you’ll find much helpful information in Elli’s latest thread: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204818734691242&set=gm.751373588244937&type=1
** Most Far-Reaching Post of the Week: Although it gained not one comment, I want to point out that this past week we saw the announcement of Hiram Crespo’s Spanish-language translation of “A Few Days In Athens.” One day this book is going to be recognized for the landmark work which Thomas Jefferson saw it to be. Hiram Crespo has opened this book to an entirely new world. Of all Hiram’s many contributions to the study of Epicurus, this may in the end be one of the most far-reaching. I predict that one day “A Few Days In Athens” will be made into a movie script, and that its fame as a philosophical masterpiece will only grow over time. This book is further evidence that the aspirational phrase of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” comes not from the mind of Thomas Jefferson, but from the philosopher Jefferson called his “master” – Epicurus. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751933294855633/
**In other posts of the week –
**Aurelius E. posted on the views of Democritus and how they relate to Epicurus: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750407488341547/
**Aurelius also posted to a French-language introduction to Epicurean philosophy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750089921706637/
**Wayne W. posted to an “existential comic strip” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/750744964974466/
**I posted to a site with a new satellite mapping system for the lost city of Pompeii, which might prove useful in analyzing the origin of relics with an Epicurean flavor: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751712248211071/
**A friend pointed us to a youtube music video with some excellent lyrics regarding “free will.” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=864297360269071&set=gm.751893431526286&type=1
**Hiram reminded us of his Google Plus site — If you’re a user of Google Plus be sure to check out the Society of Friends of Epicurus page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=864297360269071&set=gm.751893431526286&type=1
**I posted a link and discussion of a blog entry on Epicurus and Kant: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751939568188339/
**Julius V M posted to a graphic on God and Free will that generated considerable discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/749980798384216/
**For those in the US celebrating “Thanksgiving”, Hiram posted the excellent Epicurean passage: “Thanks be to blessed Nature because she has made what is necessary easy to supply, and what is not easy unnecessary.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/751927611522868/
**And because the Epicurean resistance to fatalism and determinism never rests, not even on holidays, I chose the occasion to launch a new salvo on the topic. The target this time was appropriate because this American President was responsible for declaring Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Abe Lincoln’s strong fatalist views are very disappointing to read, but are well documented at the links in this post. But don’t despair too much, at the end of the post I linked back to Jefferson’s outline of Epicurean thought, which contains the simple but profound words – “Man is a free agent.” : https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752603354788627/
** Another post by Elli this week was an excellent excerpt from Lucian on “Thesmopolis the Stoic.” This was another great reminder that Lucian is a largely-undiscovered treasure who is fun to read almost regardless of one’s level of knowledge of philosophy. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204791451089169&set=gm.749499471765682&type=1
**Leonard M. did us all a service by reminding us of Cicero’s “On Ends”, the Epicurean section of which is one of the most important summaries of the philosophy left to us from antiquity. https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752416638140632/
**Last, as I “go to press” tonight, Yiannis T. has posted a link to an article on “where famous atheists get their values.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/permalink/752987034750259/
**OK that’s all for this week! Feel free to post any comments in this thread. I apologize if I missed anyone or anything. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please add a comment or participate in the Epicurean Philosophy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/EpicureanPhilosophy/ or hop around the internet world of Epicurean Philosophy by checking the links here: EpicurusCentral.wordpress.com
PEACE AND SAFETY!