SENECA'S RESPONSE TO STOIC HERMENEUTICS BY EMILY E. BATINSKI As a Stoic, Seneca was heir to a tradition which called into ser- vice poets to illustrate or to validate philosophic arguments')- Homer's authoritative reputation made him a particular favorite among the Greek Stoics, and by means of allegorical and etymological interpretation they transformed him into a proto-Stoic and wise man, the highest accolade they bestowed2). Although Seneca also cited verses to exemplify his arguments, he expressly repudiated the critical tools of this hermeneutical system, allegory and etymology. His rejection of this critical methodology arose from aesthetic judgments and reflected his reception of Stoic philos- ophy. Despite his repudiation of the Stoic critical methodology, he shared with his fellow Stoics the same assumptions which influ- enced his reading of a text. Seneca's rejection of allegory and etymology has led scholars to ignore the impact Stoic hermeneutics had upon his interpretation of literature. Studies on Seneca as a literary critic either focus on his interpretation of poetic citations, or attempt to construct his aesthetics. Scholars have examined Seneca's interpretation of poetry since he offers important evidence for the early reception of Golden Age poets, especially Vergil. Doppioni and Auvray analyze
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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