03.04.03 341-270 B.C. Epicurus
Epicurus was the father of a philosophy known as Epicureanism. His ideas were intended to bring stability and security to an uncertain world after the death of Alexander the Great. The Greek Empire was divided among Alexander’s four generals, causing social and political instability and regional military confrontations. Epicurus said the primary purpose of man is to discover self-happiness, and the pursuit of pleasure ought to be his primary mission in life. However, pleasure was also defined as the avoidance of pain. His ideas became the cornerstone of first century Hellenistic philosophy and were confronted by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:16-33. Today this same philosophy is known as humanism.
A century and a half later the Hellenistic influences would be so intense upon the Jews, that a small religious splinter group, known as the Essenes, would have a radical philosophy directly related to Epicureanism. The Essenes would teach that all pleasure is evil; each day was to be filled with work and prayer, the direct opposite position of the Greek philosopher.
. For more information, see “Epicureans” 02.01.05.
. De Lacy, “Epicureanism and the Epicurean School.” 3:2-3.
. Harrington, “Epicureans.” 5:618.
. Guignebert, The Jewish World in the Time of Jesus. 181.