Jakob Balde über Epiktet und sein Encheiridion

The wholesale denunciation of ‘Epictetus and other Stoics’ found in the Odes of Jacob Balde (1604–1668), a Jesuit and a poet, comes as a surprise amid general admiration for the Encheiridion in the Christian circles and the eagerness to marry Stoicism with Christianity evident even at times when such marriage would come at a stretch. Since Epictetus offers himself for such adaptations with ease, the case of Balde requires looking into it. The disdain poured out by Balde with all probability has its causes not in his thorough — or indeed at least passing — acquaintance with the Encheiridion itself, but in the anonymous compilation De vera sapientia, virtute et tranquillitate animi enchiridion DD. Eucherii Lugdunensis, Martini Bracarensis, et Magni Wigonis Antistitum of 1639, current under the name of Guigo de Castro (Wigo of Balde’s Latin ode). The compiler wages a war on Stoicism providing his reader with a repository of violently, albeit unwittingly, perverted examples from the Encheiridion (the crushed seashells and earthenware pot lamp doubling as a chamber pot obviously being the go-for favourites of his sources) which Balde, who probably was not acquainted with Epictetus firsthand, only too eagerly used as a foil for his image of Paul the Apostle.

 Klaus Döring. Jakob Balde über Epiktet und sein Encheiridion