Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Stoicism

  • John Sellars
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_239-1

Abstract

The ancient philosophy of Stoicism found both admirers and critics during the Renaissance. Early humanists such as Petrarch and Coluccio Salutati admired many aspects of Stoic philosophy, based on their reading of Cicero and Seneca. Seneca attracted much humanist attention and was the subject of biographies and commentaries. However Stoicism also had its critics, from Lorenzo Valla, adopting an Epicurean point of view, to Marsilio Ficino, defending his own Platonic position. The recovery and translation of Greek authors such as Diogenes Laertius and Epictetus expanded knowledge of the Stoa. Whereas early humanists associated Stoicism with Cicero and Seneca, later generations returned Zeno and Chrysippus to center stage. Seneca remained important, even after the correspondence with St Paul was dismissed as spurious, and attracted the attention of Erasmus, Jean Calvin, and Justus Lipsius. It was with Lipsius that the fortunes of Stoicism changed dramatically. His De constantia founded what has come to be called Neostoicism, while his two Stoic handbooks published in 1604 brought together for the first time more or less all the surviving evidence for Stoic philosophy. His contemporaries Michel de Montaigne and Guillaume Du Vair presented Stoic ideas in the vernacular and reemphasized the practical orientation of Stoicism. The early seventeenth century saw a flurry of scholarly studies by Adam Bursius, Caspar Scioppius, and Isaac Casaubon alongside those of Lipsius. Throughout the period, a continual theme was the compatibility of Stoicism with Christianity; by the end of the period, they were firmly disconnected, paving the way for eighteenth-century presentations of Stoicism as a form of materialism and atheism.

Keywords

External Good Greek Text Christian Doctrine Christian Teaching Latin Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyKing’s College LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jill Kraye
    • 1
  1. 1.THE WARBURG INSTITUTELondonUK