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Roman Christianity and Roman StoicismA Comparative Study of Ancient Morality$
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Runar M. Thorsteinsson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199578641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578641.001.0001

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Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

(p.22) 2 Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism

Runar M. Thorsteinsson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter begins with an introduction to the life of Seneca (ca. 1–65 CE), who served as emperor Nero's tutor and advisor in the middle of the first century. As a rich moralist, Seneca has often been referred to as a shallow hypocrite, but it is argued here that this is a mistake. Seneca wrote extensively on ethics, and the chapter attempts to present an overview of his moral teaching. Seneca follows the basic idea of the Stoic theory of oikeiosis. According to him, people are by nature inclined to love their neighbour, whatever the identity of the neighbour. The Stoic doctrine of universal humanity runs like a red thread through the entire moral teaching of Seneca. It strongly guides his view and discussion of various topics, including social issues.

Keywords:   Seneca, Nero, nature, oikeiosis, love, universal humanity

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