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Greek philosophers of the New Testament period belonged mainly to two schools, the Epicureans and the Stoics. The Epicureans were named after their founder, Epicurus, a philosopher who taught in Athens about 300 BC. They believed that the world is neither permanent nor stable, and therefore people should not become too involved in its affairs. They should aim for maximum contentment through living calmly and avoiding all pain, desire, unpleasant feelings and superstitious fears. That was the way the gods lived, and that was why they took no interest in human affairs.

The Epicureans, with the Stoics, were members of the Areopagus, a council of philosophers that Paul addressed in Athens (Acts 17:18-19; Acts 17:22; see AREOPAGUS). The Epicureans would have agreed with Paul that God needs nothing from mere humans (Acts 17:25), but they refused to accept his teaching on the resurrection (Acts 17:31-32). In later times their rejection of God and pursuit of pleasure led to carefree living, greed and immorality.

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Epicureans'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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