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On Remembrance and Veterans Day

Veteran's DayAt the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the hostilities of WWI came to an end. Although the war didn’t officially end for another 7 months, countries around the globe commemorate the armistice on Remembrance Day.

This special day is acknowledged throughout Great Britain, Canada, India, South Africa,  Australia, and New Zealand. It’s also observed by other countries who fought alongside the British Empire during WWI, like Kenya, Bermuda, Barbados, and Mauritius.

On November 11, 1919, President Wilson called for the United States to recognize the first Armistice day:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In the summer of 1926, the United States Congress passed a resolution officially recognizing Armistice Day with the following resolution:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

In 1954, after suffering through WWII (the largest deployment America had ever seen) and the Korean War, veterans’ organizations appealed to the 86th Congress to modify Armistice Day to honor the American veterans of all wars. Congress responded by changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Whether or not you live in a country that observes Remembrance Day or Veterans Day, take a few moments today to thank someone who has served your country and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Last Chance for Reformation Day Deals!

Reformation Day

For just a few more days, you can get discounts on books by Luther and Zwingli, up to $600 off the Calvin 500 Collection, and Luther’s 95 Thesesfree!

But you have to act fast—all Reformation Day deals expire Monday, Nov. 11. Use coupon code REFDAY13 at checkout.

Martin Luther, born on Nov. 10, 1483, revolutionized the beliefs and worship of Christians around the world. In honor of his 530th birthday, you can save on a number of his resources:

  1. luthers-worksTake up to 10% off Luther’s WorksThis 55-volume set includes Luther’s exposition and commentary on Scripture, plus an index of quotes and topics. You won’t find a larger collection of Luther’s works.
  2. Take up to 18% off The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism. This two-volume set encompasses Lutheran orthodoxy. It includes contributions from numerous theologians from 1577–1713, giving you a fair picture of Lutheran theology as a whole.
  3. Pick up the 95 Theses for free! Written 496 years ago, this is one of the most significant documents in Christian history. The Logos edition provides the text in parallel English and Latin versions. Get it free while you can!

Browse all the Reformed products on saleDon’t miss this chance to pick up Reformed resources at massive discounts! Use coupon code REFDAY13 through Monday, November 11.

Pre-Order Camp Logos 2 on DVD

camp-logos-2-dvd-rom

We recently shipped Camp Logos 1 on DVD, and hundreds of users are already learning to get more from their software—from the comfort of their homes. Now you can pre-order the Camp Logos 2 DVDs for only $199.95.

What do you get with Camp Logos 2?

Camp Logos 2 focuses on helping you organize your library. Chances are, you’ve got hundreds or thousands of resources, and that can be overwhelming. Camp Logos 2 teaches you to organize them in the way that works best for you. You’ll get answers to questions like:

  • How do I organize my books for maximum benefit?
  • How are my books indexed?
  • How do I combine and prioritize resources?

If you’ve already been through Camp Logos 1, you may be wondering, “Do I really need Camp Logos 2?” If you want to make use of every book you own, yes. Camp Logos 1 teaches you the basics; Camp Logos 2 teaches you how to get the most out of every single book you own, and how best to incorporate future additions to your library.

“As a ‘power user,’ I found Camp Logos 2 incredibly helpful! It was a giant leap forward from Camp Logos 1, and it made it possible for me to customize the software to perfectly meet my study needs.” —Camp Logos 2 attendee

You’ll also cover topics like text comparison, visual filtering for English words and original-language lemmas, original-language searching, and far more.

Right now, you can get the DVD edition of Camp Logos 2 on Pre-Pub for $199.95. Pre-order it today!

Double Amputee Displays Logos Loyalty

Logos Prosthetic LegAt Logos, we work hard to provide a tool that people feel passionate about. We’re proud to have such loyal customers—in fact, we’ve had some go above and beyond in showing their loyalty. When double-amputee Matthew Jones, a devoted Logos user, requested to add our logo to his new prosthetic legs, we eagerly agreed.

We recently had the chance to chat with Jones about his background and his passion for Logos.

1. What is your personal background?

I was raised in Japan by my missionary parents. I have been married to a gentle-spirited lady named Nina for 32 years. God has blessed us with 13 children. I worked for General Motors in Oklahoma and Michigan until I retired at 38. I am now a stay-at-home dad.

2. What’s the story behind your prosthetic legs?

I lost my legs to diabetes via below-knee amputation. My new legs are made by the world’s best prosthetics crafter—they go the extra mile in personalizing their work. They did a great job placing my two graphics on a pearl-white background.

3. What inspired you to use the Logos logo?

I am happy with my Logos 5 software and like to talk to others about it. The Logos logo represents not only the world’s premier Bible software, but also the fine people who work for Logos. I am hoping the logo will spark conversation with others. I also think it looks pretty cool.

4. What’s the meaning behind the other symbol?

The other graphic is a combination of symbols representing my spiritual heritage. The top symbol is a menorah, representing Israel. The bottom symbol is an ΙΧΘΥΣ fish, representing “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” The base of the menorah intersects the tail of the fish to form the Shield of David in the middle. A cross is in the center of the star. The old covenant and the new covenant meet at the cross.

5. How long have you been using Logos?

I “came home” to Libronix 3 in April of 2008. I was the first person to see Logos 4 when it was newly posted on the website. I quickly updated to Logos 4, and then Logos 5. I am excited to see what the future holds for Logos 6 and beyond.

6. How do you use your Logos library?

If I were a pastor, I would use Logos for sermon preparation and counseling, but I am not. If I were an academic, I would concentrate on reading lists, but I am not. Nor am I an expert linguist, so I do appreciate reverse interlinears.

One benefit of my large Logos library is being able to find something on just about every topic I want to read up on. Many of the resources lend themselves very well to our homeschooling efforts. I use Logos for Bible study and studying background material.

The Passage Guide is a quick and easy way to launch a great study. I like all the guides in Logos 5, but the Passage Guide is my favorite—hands down.

One recurring delight I have with Logos is discovering a resource in my library that I did not know I had. Another delight is learning another new trick from Morris Proctor in weekly emails or in a forum post by one of the many seasoned users.

7. You’re a frequent contributor to our forums—tell us about your involvement there.

I have found a nice community of fellow users in the forums. I learn so much from others—I believe it is an important venue of support and education. The forum community spans across all geographical and cultural divides. There are some very talented and gracious people posting there. I like to associate with these types of people, so I hang out in the forums whenever I get the chance. It is a great feeling to be able to help someone with a problem.

We’re incredibly honored to mean so much to Matthew Jones—and humbled by the loyalty of all our users.

Thank you!

* * *

Right now, you can get 15% off any new Logos 5 base package. Use coupon code GET15OFF today and see what you can get out of your new library.

What Did Ancient Heresy Mean for the Early Church?

Last week, we looked at the Epicureans, who sought to maximize individual pleasure. Two weeks ago, we looked at the Stoics, who sought freedom from the world. Now let’s look at another competitor with early Christianity, this one much closer to home—the Gnostics.

Everyone knows that Gnosticism, popular in the first few centuries AD, was rejected as heresy. What’s really interesting is what it meant for the early church.

Evil world, secret knowledge, layered heavens

irenaeus-gnosticismGnosticism was “a system of religious thought that blended elements of Christianity with Greek philosophy and Zoroastrianism. The basic tenet is that the created world [is] evil and salvation [comes] through secret knowledge (gnosis)” (FSB). But the diversity of Gnostic schools makes the system hard to pin down. Indeed, wrote a sarcastic Irenaeus, “since their teachings and traditions are different, and the newer ones among them claim to be constantly finding something new, and working out what no one ever thought of before, it is hard to describe their views.”

So let’s look at the strangest, most interesting cosmology: that of one of the later Gnostics, Basilides.

Basilides’ heaven was not one but many, concentric. At the distant center was a single god, ruling over seven lesser gods; these seven created a heaven. They also created seven more gods and another, lower heaven, the symmetrical image of the first; the gods of this lower heaven created yet another heaven, with its sevenfold pantheon; these, another, and so on—365 heavens total. (Thus was the problem of evil resolved: by sheer distance between the world and the divine.) At the very bottom was the god of the Hebrew Bible, who, reduced 365 times over, was nothing but a demiurge—a creator god, working not with essences (like the inner gods) but with mere matter.

From there, Gnosticism was characterized by:

  • Dualism between essence and matter, light and darkness, spirit and body. (Most Gnostics, judging all things fleshly as sinful, were ascetics; others, judging all things fleshly as equally sinful, were hedonists.)
  • A focus on enlightenment. The Gnostics thought that they, through divine revelation, possessed secret knowledge that would allow them to pass from earth up through the ringed heavens—enlightenment unavailable in Scripture alone. (Enlightened souls were the only thing on Earth worth redeeming.)
  • A vastly different notion of Christ. God took mercy on darkened, matter-bound humanity, sending a redeemer—a redeemer whose body was, since flesh and pure spirit are incompatible, merely an illusion. Therefore, Jesus’ physical crucifixion was illusory, too.

History tends to record Gnosticism as a subset of Christianity, but, given these radical departures, it’s more accurate (and interesting) to regard it as a standalone worldview. That’s especially true when you consider its diverse heritage.

Where did Gnosticism come from?

plato-gnosticismGnosticism’s three great influences were Platonism, Zoroastrianism, and elements of Christianity.

  1. From Plato, the Gnostics inherited the distinction between spirit and flesh, key to the Gnostic conception of personal enlightenment. Likewise, the Platonic distinction between form and matter influenced the Gnostic distinction between an essential heaven and a material earth. And the demiurge, too, comes to Gnosticism from Plato, who imagined a creator god in his Timaeus.
  2. From Zoroastrianism, the Gnostics inherited the dualism between light and darkness. More generally, Gnostic dualism owes something to Zoroaster’s consolidation of the Iranian pantheon into opposing forces of “illuminating wisdom” and “destructive spirit.”
  3. From Christianity, Gnosticism inherited pieces but by no means the whole: Jesus, but not his physical resurrection; the Bible, but only as an untrustworthy text to be modified by aggressive misreading and supplemented by such forged additions as the Gospel of Judas. (The Gnostic tendency to modify Scripture is unsurprising—they thought of it, after all, as the work of an inferior deity, given to errors, omissions, and deceit.)

Irenaeus’ counterarguments

Alarmed by the Gnostic worldview, Irenaeus set out to disprove it in Against Heresies. He argued that:

  • The church was authoritative because of apostolic succession. According to the Gnostics, only their oral tradition, derived from the apostles, granted divine knowledge; Irenaeus countered that “The Church . . . received from the apostles and their disciples its faith.” Because the church leaders learned from people who’d learned from people who (a few steps earlier) had learned directly from Christ and his apostles, the church was to be trusted.
  • The gospel was reliable because it was written after the apostles came to divine knowledge. The Gnostics thought the gospel was written before the apostles came to full enlightenment; Irenaeus responded that, right after the Resurrection, “the Holy Spirit came upon [the apostles], and they were filled with all things and had perfect knowledge.”
  • The sheer diversity of competing Gnostic viewpoints undermined the Gnostic claim to truth. With so many Gnostics “constantly finding something new, and working out what no one ever thought of before,” how could any one be correct?

Gnosticism’s defeat was decisive—so much so that we know the school primarily through the writings of Irenaeus and other critics.

Gnosticism’s consequences

The debates over Gnosticism helped shape the early church in three ways. They contributed to:

  1. An increased focus on apostolic succession, so important to Irenaeus’ arguments.
  2. A standardized scriptural canon. In AD 150, Marcion proposed his own canon, which omitted the OT and was edited by Marcion himself. Irenaeus responded with a list of 21 canonical books, including the four Gospels.
  3. An emphasis on creeds to separate false from proper belief. The Apostles’ Creed, specifically, not only predates but also answers Gnostic heresy: “I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” rejects the Gnostics’ subaltern demiurge and flawed physical world; “Jesus Christ . . . born of the virgin Mary” rejects the Gnostic conception of Jesus’ body as illusory; “I believe in the holy catholic [universal] church” rejects the Gnostic claim that enlightenment is for a select few.

Gnosticism was remarkable not only for its strangeness, its startling diversity of cosmologies, but for its historical consequences. It’s in large part thanks to Gnosticism that the third- and fourth-century Christians solidified the doctrines we now regard as orthodox; that alone makes the Gnostics worth studying.

* * *

prudentius-gnosticismIf you’re interested in church and intellectual history, you should know the rise and fall of Gnosticism. Noet sets you up with many of the school’s most important texts, as well as smart tools for better scholarship.

  1. Understand its Hellenistic origins (and the origins of so much of Western thought) with the 24-volume Works of Plato, on Community Pricing for 83% off.
  2. Examine its rise with Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History.
  3. Know the arguments against heresy with Irenaeus’ Against Heresies and the Works of Prudentius (who refuted the dualism of Marcion), on Community Pricing for 73% off.

Or extend your library with Noet’s enormous Classical Foundations Bundle, which sets you up to study antiquity across philosophy, history, and literature.

Then keep reading about early-church context:


 

Get the Newest Books at the Lowest Prices

Logos PrePubThe Pre-Publication program (or “Pre-Pub” for short) gives you the chance to push new books into Logos at the lowest possible prices.

Logos books are more than ordinary ebooks, which are essentially just print books on a screen.

Logos books are robust digital resources. They’re built by real humans—not computer scripts—who know that the phrase “first verse of the first epistle of John” needs to link to 1 John 1:1; that’s just one example of the thousands of decisions that only a real person can make when building a digital text. The result? You get high-quality digital editions that work across all your devices and with all our tools.

As you can imagine, building these kinds of digital editions is very expensive for us. And it’s an even bigger investment when you consider that we ship thousands of new books every year. That’s why, before we invest the resources in building a digital edition, we post the book on Pre-Pub at an extra-low price to see if there’s enough interest.

Or, to put it more briefly, with Pre-Pub:

  • You get the chance to pre-order the newest books at the best prices.
  • We can rest assured that our investment in building new books will benefit the most people.

Six things you need to know about Pre-Pub

  1. You get the lowest prices. In exchange for pre-ordering early—and helping us determine whether we should produce a Logos edition—we reward you with a lower price. In just about every instance, the Pre-Pub price is the lowest price ever for a product.
  2. Prices go up, but they don’t go down. As books get closer to meeting 100% of their costs—and when they go over 100%—prices often go up. If you pre-order early, you’ll be locked in at your price, even if the price goes up later. This means you shouldn’t wait to pre-order something you’ve got your eye on: the price could go up next week or next month—or even this afternoon.
  3. When you pre-order, we don’t charge your credit card. A pre-order is simply a reserved spot at the best price. We’ll only charge your card when we build the Logos edition and deliver it to you, and we’ll be sure to remind you a couple weeks beforehand.
  4. You can cancel at any time. You have nothing to lose by pre-ordering something you’ve got your eye on and then changing your mind later. And by pre-ordering, you’ll lock in today’s price even if the price goes up tomorrow.
  5. You get to be one of the first people to get the new resource. As soon as we produce the book, we deliver it to you and it downloads automatically. You’ll be able to access it on all your devices the moment it’s ready.
  6. You get to help Logos decide which resources to produce next. Products that move over 100% get into the production queue. If there’s a product under 100% you want to see in our format, your pre-order is your vote to move it closer to the front of the line. And it’s not always enough to place a pre-order for yourself—it’s also important that you tell your friends. Even something as simple as dropping a note on Facebook or Twitter can get the few extra orders needed to move something into production.

How to make sure you never miss another Pre-Pub deal

Because Pre-Pub prices go up over time, it’s important to keep up with the newest books and get in early. But with hundreds of new books going up every week, this can be a challenge.

That’s why we created an email list to keep you up to date on all the latest products.

When you sign up, you’ll get one email each weekday morning with a list of the previous day’s new books. You’ll be able to quickly scan the newest products, and you’ll never miss out on the best prices.

Sign up today!





3 Noteworthy Deals (and 200 More)

Logos November Deals

We have over 200 resources on sale all November long! You don’t need a coupon code to take advantage of these awesome deals—just be sure to get them before the month is over.

Calvin and the History of Calvinism Collectioncalvin-and-the-history-of-calvinism-collection

Regularly $249.95
Get it for $164.95 through the end of November (that’s 34% off!)

This collection, containing some of the most important scholarship on Reformation history and the Calvinist movement, is a must no matter your theological bent. Calvinists will love the exploration of their origins. Others will glean a more complete understanding of the important questions that Calvin and others sought to answer. This is the largest discounted collection in the monthly sale; at less than $7/vol., it represents an extraordinary value.

A Compendium of Christian Theologycompendium-of-christian-theology-2nd-ed

Regularly $99.95
Get it for $32.95 through the end of November (that’s 67% off!)

These three volumes, unmatched in fairness and concision, constitute the authoritative textbook on dogmatic theology in the Wesleyan tradition. Your theological library would be incomplete without them.

journal-of-hebrew-scripturesJournal of Hebrew Scriptures

Regularly $179.95
Get it for $65.95 through the end of November (that’s 63% off!)

Only in Logos could you get a peer-reviewed academic journal, devoted to the study of the Hebrew Bible, networked—all 2,500-plus pages—with your entire digital library. Logos 5’s powerful search tools unlock these volumes’ wealth of information—through the end of the month, at a 63% discount.

These are some of the most noteworthy titles on sale this month, but there are many more. Browse all the November deals today!

This Year’s Black Friday Deals Are Up to You!

Logos Black Friday Sale

Black Friday is drawing near, and with it, one of our most anticipated sales of the year. This year, we’re making things even more exciting. You can pick the deals by placing items on your wish list!

Have you been wanting to add the Tyndale Commentaries collection to your library, but just haven’t been able to fit it into your budget? Would a significant discount make it possible to buy Geisler’s Systematic Theology? Would Boice’s Expositional Commentaries help bring your preaching to the next level? Add them to your wish list—if they’re among the most popular wish-list items, they’re likely to be put on sale.

All deals will be announced on Friday, November 29, and run through Monday, December 2; check back here to see what they are!

How do I add resources to my wish list?

When you’re signed in to your Logos.com account, you’ll find “Add to wish list” links on live product pages and search results. Click these links to build your wish list. Reviewing your wish list is as easy as going to your account and clicking the “Wish List” tab.

If you hit the “Edit” link at the top of your wish list, you can give your list a specific name, see when you added items, and make it private or—coming soon—public.

You can also make multiple wish lists in case you want, say, one specifically for commentaries or ministry books, or one that’s public.

Start adding items to your wish lists today, and encourage your friends to do the same!

Free Book: The Works of Richard Sibbes, vol. 1

the-works-of-richard-sibbes-vol-1All November long, you can get volume 1 of The Works of Richard Sibbes for free!

“The winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.”
—Richard Sibbes

When was the last time you went through trials? How did they affect your relationship with Christ—were you encouraged in your faith, or did you feel abandoned? In The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English theologian, takes on these questions and more. Sibbes uses the metaphor of bruising to describe how God enlightens us: hardships, we learn, come about as a way to drive us to God. Only when our pride is humbled are we able to grasp the sacrifices Christ made for us.

“I shall never cease to be grateful to Richard Sibbes, who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil. I found at that time that Richard Sibbes . . . was an unfailing remedy. His books, The Bruised Reed and The Soul’s Conflict, quieted, soothed, comforted, encouraged, and healed me.”
—Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Volume 1 of The Works of Richard Sibbes gives you not only The Bruised Reed, but also a preface by the editor and a detailed biography.

Download your free copy today, and then enter to win the complete Works of Richard Sibbes!

What if Life Were All about Pleasure?

Paul, in Acts 17:18, addresses adherents to two philosophical schools: Stoicism and the Epicureanism. We already know that the Stoics had much in common with the early Christians; not so the Epicureans, for whom life’s highest goal was individual pleasure.

But Epicureanism is worth studying as more than just early-church context. Though it fell out of favor in the third century AD, it nevertheless anticipated today’s intellectual climate in startling ways.

So, who were the Epicureans?

diogenes-laertius-lives-of-eminent-philosophers

  1. Moderates, not hedonists. “The philosophy,” notes the Faithlife Study Bible, “emphasized physical and intellectual pleasure and emotional calm (the most pleasure with the least pain).” But, though epicurean’s modern sense connotes excess, the ancients were moderates: Epicurus, quoted in Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers, writes that “Nature’s wealth . . . is easy to procure; but the wealth of vain fancies recedes to an infinite distance.” Therefore,

    “When we say . . . that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality. . . . By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of revelry . . . it is sober reasoning . . . and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest tumults take possession of the soul.”

  2. Utilitarians. The Epicurean approach to pleasure was practical. They tolerated pain when it brought about greater pleasure; they obeyed social contracts to avoid crime’s anxiety, shame, and punishment; they did good deeds so that others might respond in kind.
  3. Empiricists. “[A]ll our notions are derived from perceptions,” wrote Epicurus, “either by actual contact or by analogy, or resemblance, or composition, with some slight aid from reasoning.” That is, the senses are the best criteria for knowledge.
  4. Atomists. They argued, notes the FSB, that “the world was made of atoms and that such material was all that the world contained.” Even the gods were made of atoms; so were souls.
  5. Believers in distant, nonintervening gods. Their gods were immortal, blissful, and almost infinitely distant—”limited beings” made from the same atomic stuff as humans, who, in their divine equanimity, didn’t care about evil and had “no real effect on the world” (FSB).
  6. Disbelievers in the afterlife. Since souls, made of atoms, disintegrate at death, and since the gods don’t care about evil, there’s no afterlife of divine punishment to fear. Instead, we should:

    “Accustom [ourselves] to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply sentience, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable . . . by taking away the yearning after immortality. . . . Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.”

    For Epicurus, the fear of death was the “greatest anxiety of the human mind”—the pain most worth eliminating.

How did the Epicureans anticipate modernity?

classics-in-empiricist-philosophy-collectionAs you can see, Epicureanism disagreed with Christianity on an awful lot: cosmology, theodicy, the meaning of life.

No, its conclusions are familiar for another reason—they sound like those of modern secular culture.

  • Epicurean empiricism prefigured that of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. In fact, it even came close to anticipating the idealism of the last two, according to which only perceptions exist, not objects. Epicurus writes, “the objects presented to madmen and to people in dreams are true, for they produce effects—i.e., movements in the mind—which that which is unreal never does” (emphasis added).
  • Epicurean atomism was remarkably similar to nineteenth-century atomic chemistry: atoms as indivisible, eternal building blocks, things as mere accumulations of atoms colliding with each other. More, the Epicureans came up with a “many worlds” cosmology long before twentieth-century quantum physics did, if for different reasons. Writes Epicurus:

    “there is an infinite number of worlds, some like this world, others unlike it. . . . For the [infinite] atoms out of which a world might arise, or by which a world might be formed, have not all been expended on one world or a finite number of worlds, whether like or unlike this one.”

  • Epicureanism’s matter-of-fact approach to social living shares much with Locke’s utilitarianism, and even modern libertarianism. Since individuals are their own best judges of how to live, society means essentially “Leave me free to maximize my pleasure; in turn, since I don’t want the negative repercussions, I won’t infringe on the freedom of others.” Libertarians, sound familiar?
  • The Epicureans thought the fear of death animated the rest of life’s anxieties; in the twentieth century, Heidegger and the existentialists agreed. (Of course, from there, their conclusions differed: For the Epicureans, the fear of death was illusory, to be transcended; for the existentialists, it was key to living bravely and authentically.)

Empiricism, atomism, extreme individuality, fear of death as the root of all anxiety—what makes these parallels really interesting is that they aren’t straighforward lines of influence. From the third century AD to the sixteenth, Epicureanism was almost entirely forgotten.

* * *

lucretius-on-the-nature-of-thingsThere are two reasons you should know Epicureanism:

  1. It, with Stoicism, was a big part of the context against which early Christianity established itself. Studying it helps you understand the early church—you’ll get more out of passages like Acts 17:18 and Phil. 3:18.
  2. As we’ve seen, it’s an indirect precursor to secular modernity—one that’s even more interesting for its indirectness. Even though Epicurean philosophy is largely forgotten, modernity tends toward the Epicurean; if you’re interested in engaging the culture, you’ll want to understand this fascinating echo.

Epicurus left us very little—Diogenes Laertius lays out his thought (and quotes him at length) in Lives of Eminent Philosophers, and Lucretius, in On the Nature of Things, builds on Epicurus’ destroyed magnum opus, On Nature. Luckily for scholars, we’re building Logos editions of both through Logos’ philosophy/classics division, Noet—and, right now, you can get these foundational texts on Community Pricing for $5 each. For such rich context, that’s a tiny investment.

Study ancient thought for the best price—bid now on Lives of Eminent Philosophers and On the Nature of Things.

Then build your library with Noet’s Ancient and Modern Philosophy bundles, or deepen your study with the immense Classical Foundations Bundle—124 volumes of philosophy, history, original-language scholarship, and literature.

P.S. Still not convinced that philosophy matters?