By Adam Buben
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Additional resources for Meaning and Mortality in Kierkegaard and Heidegger: Origins of the Existential Philosophy of Death
Just as God is the divine fire that takes in, permeates, and animates the entire universe, human souls do the same on a much smaller, bodily, scale (Gould 1970, 127, 155– 56). Despite this relationship to the divine, however, the Stoics do agree with the Epicureans that the “gift” of soul is more like a rental that must be “given back” (compare Epictetus, Enchiridion 11). Death is simply the reintegration of an individual spark into the divine fire that makes up the universe. 9 Even though there is some parallel with the Epicureans on the irrationality of fearing death given certain metaphysical realities, it might at first glance appear that the Stoics are more in line with the Christians when it comes to the relevance of death in life.
He asserts, “Wherever Christ is, Judas, Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, and Annas will inevitably be also, so also his cross. 16 In other words, one will only know if one is doing it right when one is betrayed, arrested, mocked, tortured, condemned, or even killed. Applying these criteria to his own situation, in which even martyrdom seems to be a real possibility, Luther (1968a, 63) begins almost to revel in death as he states: “They threaten us with death. If they were as smart as they are stupid, they would threaten us with life.
6 In fact, Josiah B. 7 Nonetheless, the Stoics also have a great deal in common with the Epicureans on the two issues that matter for the sake of my account. They are, for the most part, without a clear notion of an individualistic afterlife and they often seek to diminish the significance of the deaths of individuals. Like the Epicureans, the Stoics seem opposed to what traditional fear-mongering religions have to say about death and what comes after. For example, Epictetus (Enchiridion 5) states, “Death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates.