Ἃ δέ σοι συνεχῶς παρήγγελλον, ταῦτα καὶ πρᾶττε καὶ μελέτα, στοιχεῖα τοῦ καλῶς ζῆν ταῦτ' εἶναι διαλαμβάνων (Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus 123.2) -> Carry on and practice the things I incessantly used to urge you to do, realizing that they are the essentials of a good life.

uwtb · 2 · 787

uwtb

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Looking for help with this part of Epicurus' "Letter to Menoeceus":

ἃ δέ σοι συνεχῶς παρήγγελλον, ταῦτα καὶ πρᾶττε καὶ μελέτα, στοιχεῖα τοῦ καλῶς ζῆν ταῦτ’ εἶναι διαλαμβάνων.

That's more than 12 words.  I would be happy to hear about the full passage, but really I want to know about the last few words (I'll take the last 12, or whatever works). 

Some translators have rendered the words that most interest me as "first principles of the good life".  Others have gone with "elements of right life".  Perhaps there are other possibilities as well.  The main issue is that "first principles of the good life" does not sound right to me, and I am wondering how much warrant for that the text offers.  What is the most literal rendering of those words?

Thank you! 
« Last Edit: 30 Nov, 2013, 02:09:52 by billberg23 »


billberg23

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Welcome to the Forum, uwtb!
We encounter the same sort of ambivalence with translations of that equivalent expression in Plato, τὸ εὖ ζῆν (Crito 48b6) — "living well" or "the good life,"  either of which could be misunderstood as connoting a hedonistic or at least a self-satisfied life.  I think we clear up the ambiguity when we translate it as "a good life" or "the virtuous life" instead:
"Carry on and practice the things I incessantly used to urge you to do, realizing that they are the essentials of a good life / the virtuous life." 
« Last Edit: 30 Nov, 2013, 02:11:23 by billberg23 »



 

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