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In the following months, in conjunction with Philadelphia Stoahttps://philadelphiastoa.org, I will lead a group discussion on David Fideler’s book Breakfast with Seneca: A Stoic Guide to the Art of Living. The books spans 14 Chapters with a little over 200 pages of text (excluding bibliography, appendix, and notes). Professor Fideler covers various topics from Friendship, Love, and Grief… to Lasting Joy. Tentatively, the plan is to meet on every 3rd Sunday of each Month (see schedule below).
The reason why I picked this book is because Seneca is one of three influential Roman Stoic thinkers. Indeed, Seneca is prior to both Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. Furthermore, from my research not too many groups are reading Seneca. David Fideler writes,
“While the Stoic school started in Athens roughly three hundred years before Seneca was born, the writings of the Greek Stoics are mostly lost. They only survive in brief quotations or fragments. This makes Seneca the first major Stoic writer whose philosophical works have come down to us in a nearly complete form. He had one of the most well-informed and curious minds of his age, and displayed a daring intellectual freedom and open-mindedness in his writings. It is this quality that makes him seem very modern. In this book, which features fresh translations from his work, I explain Seneca’s key ideas and wise teachings in the clearest way possible. This is also an introduction to Stoic philosophy in general, because it’s impossible to fully understand Seneca’s thinking without understanding the Stoic ideas on which it was based. ”
David Fideler studied ancient philosophies and religions at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a PhD in philosophy and the history of science.
Additional Note: Professor Fideler has agreed to speak to our group about his book (in Zoom). He mentioned that he can meet with us at the midpoint of the book (Chapter 7. approx. Sept 2022) and again at the end of his book. I will attempt to gather questions from our readings. Indeed, our reading group will have a lively engagement with Professor Fideler.
Youtube with David Fideler:
2nd Meeting: July 17th Sunday 4 to 5:30 pm.
Chapter 2: Value Your Time: Don’t Postpone Living (p. 33-45)
Chapter 3: How to Overcome Worry and Anxiety (p. 46-59)