Henry More as reader of Marcus Aurelius

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I examine Henry More’s engagement with Stoicism in general, and Marcus Aurelius in particular, in his Enchiridion Ethicum. More quotes from Marcus’ Meditations throughout the Enchiridion, leading one commentator to note that More ‘mined the Meditations’ when writing his book. Yet More’s general attitude towards Stoicism is more often than not critical, especially when it comes to the passions. I shall argue that while More was clearly an avid reader of the Meditations, he read Marcus not as a Stoic but as a ‘non-denominational’ ancient moralist who confirms a range of doctrines that More finds elsewhere in ancient philosophy. In this sense More continues the Neoplatonic practice of downplaying doctrinal differences between ancient philosophers in order to construct a single ancient philosophical tradition. This is quite different from the approach of his contemporary and fellow Cambridge Platonist, Ralph Cudworth, who was keen to highlight doctrinal differences between ancient philosophers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-931
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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