The other major Hellenistic philosophy during the period from Alexander to the dawn of the Christian era was Stoicism. Like the Epicureans, the Stoics were skeptical as to the major metaphysical issues that had occupied the minds of Plato and Aristotle. They rather focused on the practical concern of how to live a balanced and satisfying life. In this way they were like the Epicureans, who also were mostly interested in practical matters rather than the more transcendent issues of human existence.
Though they were asking the same questions, the Stoics gave quite different answers from those offered by the Epicureans. The Stoics believed that the world is governed by the 'fates,' and what the fates decree cannot be changed or influenced. The only personal control available in life, in the Stoic vision, involved the inner life of peace, calm, and reason, in the face of a deterministic external world. They were thus committed to the eight principles that make up the bulk of the lecture in this lesson.
Observers have from time to time noticed that the Stoic principles share some important features with the Christian ethic. Ideas of reason, logos, discipline, and moderation, all fit nicely with the Christian ethic. There are, however, important differences that separate a Stoic approach to life from that embraced by a Christian. It is important to keep track of both as we give our attention to the Stoic philosophy.
This wide ranging course starts with the pre-Socratic philosophers of the ancient world, and traces the history of philosophical speculation across the ages up to the present. Included along the way is special attention to the greatest Christian thinkers in history, including Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and many others.