Crafting Eros through the Stoic Logos of Nature

Kathy L. Gaca

in The Making of Fornication

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520235991
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929463 | DOI:
Crafting Eros through the Stoic Logos of Nature

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This chapter describes the recent scholarship on early Stoic sexual ethics. It also examines the salient features of the Greek erotic tradition that Zeno and Chrysippus found so problematic. The sexual principles that the early Stoics formulate in response to the Greek tradition are then elaborated. The chapter evaluates the later Stoics Antipater, Hierocles, and Musonius as one group and then Seneca and Epictetus as another. The friendship-building sexual relations facilitate the progress toward wisdom and virtue for members of the early Stoic city as a whole. Antipater, Musonius, and Hierocles argue that it is patriotic for men to marry and raise a family. The ideas of Zeno and Chrysippus offer an ethical advance in major respects over ancient Greek sexual mores. Stoic sexual ethics overall maintains that sexual relations are justified and conducive to virtue, so long as they are directed toward mutual friendship.

Keywords: Stoic sexual ethics; Zeno; Chrysippus; Antipater; Hierocles; Musonius; Seneca; Epictetus

Chapter.  17802 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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