Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

Philodemus: On Frank Criticism

Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

Philodemus: On Frank Criticism

Article excerpt

Philodemus: On Frank Criticism, ed. David Konstan, Diskin Clay, Clarence E. Glad, Johan C. Thom, and James Ware. Texts and Translations 43; Graeco-Roman 13. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998. Pp. xii +191. $34.95.

Philodemus (ca. 110-40/35 BCE) was a Syrian Epicurean who taught at Herculaneum. A student of Zeno of Sidon and of Demetrius the Laconian, he authored a number of works and also produced transcripts of his lecture notes under Zeno. His handbook, piepi sappnaiaq, is just such a transcript, based upon lectures heard in Athens. It discusses the private virtue, piappnoia, that is, that personal candor or frank criticism-the antithesis of flattery-required to keep friendship genuine. Thus we here learn a great deal about the psychagogic theory and practice of Epicureanism in Greece and Italy during the first century BCE. The editors, all participants in the SBL Hellenistic Moral Philosophy and Early Christianity Group, have supplied us with the first translation of the work into a modern language. …

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