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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Epicureans (ĕp'i-kû-rç'anz, or ĕp'i-kû're-anz). A sect of philosophers which derived its origin from Epicurus, of Athenian descent, but born in Samos 341 b.c. He lived much in Athens, where he had a garden in which he delivered his lessons to his disciples; he died 270 b.c. In his ethics Epicurus denied that there was a creator of the world; still he believed that there were gods, to be worshipped for the excellence of their nature: they lived in quiet, and did not interfere with the government of the universe. He made good and evil depend on the increasing of pleasure and diminishing of pain, or the reverse; esteeming the pleasures and pains of the mind superior to those of the body, so that a happy life must be a virtuous life. The soul, he taught, was indissolubly connected with the body. Hence it will be seen that the dogmas of Epicureanism were strongly in opposition to the truths of the gospel. Consequently the Epicureans at Athens, though differing from the Stoics in the rejection of absolute destiny, and on other points, yet equally with them ridiculed the doctrines of Paul. Acts 17:18.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Epicureans'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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