Perennial wisdom from one of history’s most important but lesser-known Stoic teachers
“He knew that all a philosopher could do was respond well—bravely, boldly, patiently—to what life threw at us. That's what we should be doing now.”—Ryan Holiday, Reading List email
The Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus was one of the most influential teachers of his era, imperial Rome, and his message still resonates with startling clarity today. Alongside Stoics like Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, he emphasized ethics in action, displayed in all aspects of life. Merely learning philosophical doctrine and listening to lectures, they believed, will not do one any good unless one manages to interiorize the teachings and apply them to daily life.
In Musonius Rufus’s words, “Philosophy is nothing else than to search out by reason what is right and proper and by deeds to put it into practice.” At a time of renewed interest in Stoicism, this collection of Musonius Rufus’s lectures and sayings, beautifully translated by Cora E. Lutz with an introduction by Gretchen Reydams-Schils, offers readers access to the thought of one of history’s most influential and remarkable Stoic thinkers.
About the Author
Musonius Rufus was a Roman Stoic philosopher from the first century C.E. Cora E. Lutz was a translator whose 1947 translations of Musonius are considered by many to be the best versions available in English. Gretchen Reydams-Schils is professor in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame and holds concurrent appointments in Classics, Philosophy, and Theology.
"[Musonius Rufus] deserves to be more widely read, especially by people looking to Stoicism for guidance today."—John Sellars, author of The Pocket Stoic
"The work of Musonius Rufus offers a guide to living meaningfully through the practical application of philosophy. Gretchen Reydams-Schils provides a lucid and incisive introduction to Cora Lutz's classic translation of this fascinating Stoic thinker."—Liz Gloyn, Royal Holloway, University of London
“Given the explosion of interest in Stoicism from many quarters, it is important to make a fuller selection of sources more widely available.”—Kurt Lampe, University of Bristol
“Not as well known as his most famous pupil, Epictetus, Musonius is a practical philosopher who offers helpful advice on a range of everyday concerns. He deserves to be more widely read, especially by people looking to Stoicism for guidance today."—John Sellars, author of Lessons in Stoicism