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A translation of one of the most important texts of Western philosophy.
Few ancient works have been as influential as the MEDITATIONS of Marcus Aurelius. A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behaviour, it remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus's insights and advice - on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others - have made the MEDITATIONS required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.
In Gregory Hays's new translation - the first in thirty-five years - Marcus's thoughts speak with a new immediacy. In fresh and unencumbered English, Hays vividly conveys the spareness and compression of the original Greek text. Never before have Marcus's insights been so directly and powerfully presented.
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Written in the mid second century by the philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations presents a noble approach to life. Schooled in the classic tradition, Marcus Aurelius reflects the mature harvest of the Stoic school of philosophy. His philosophy is best summed up by the saying "Do not be too concerned, for tomorrow you die". Lest this sounds too bleak, the awareness of mortality motivates a good, noble and upright life. Since we all die, the best thing is to live nobly and honestly. This is not only the way to live well, but also the way to avoid suffering. Meditations is composed of aphorisms and insights from Marcus Aurelius that allow his philosophy to be lived out.
The translator, Gregory Hays, is assistant professor of classics at the University of Virginia. Hays provides a clearly written introduction in which he explains the philosophical influences on Marcus Aurelius as well as the political and familial pressures he experienced. The translation itself is crisp and lucid. The result is a handsome collection of short exhortations and aphorisms that encourage a noble, if stoical approach to life. Marcus Aurelius always sheds light on life, but that light is always dappled with shadow. There is no hope and little humour in Marcus Aurelius. In the end, his outlook is pessimistic, and he makes one realise how refreshing and unique the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity really are. Nevertheless, Meditations is a cornerstone of the practical philosophy genre and this new translation will make up a vital part of a classic bookshelf. --Dwight LongeneckerReview:
An ancient work of spiritual reflection from the Roman emperor, which remains a powerful reminder of how we could live a more dignified life by avoiding deceit, vanity and greed. (OK! MAGAZINE - HOT STARS SUPPLEMENT)
Meditations is unaffected by time and offers plenty of wisdom. (IRISH EXAMINER)
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