- Jul 2007
I wouldn't say Epicureanism was "distinctly spiritual" and it certainly wasn't a philosophy built on "divine revelation" - its epistomology did not include any such concept, but was built squarely on empirical 'sensations' (aesthesis), and universal concepts called prolepsis, what we today might call 'common sense'. Generally speaking, it was a very empirical philosophy. There certainly wasn't any 'divine revelation', in fact, that runs counter to Epicurean notions about the gods, who do not communicate or interfere with the mortals whatsoever.Epicurus is a distinctly spiritual philosophy, and does not rely on the same logic that the Socratic method does, but rather the same trust in divine revelation that Christianity later would.
Furthermore, Epicurus follows in the traditions of Democritus and says that all phenomena have a natural cause and man can achieve freedom through knowledge and understanding of the natural processes that cause all phenomena.
One of Epicureanisms main tenets is that the gods do not reward or punish mortals. The gods - material creatures, made up of atoms and existing in deep space - were too remote to have any interest in mankind, and activities like prayer or the offering of sacrifices were described as wholly futile. Their role, in Epircureanism, is nothing more than as a remote and theoretical concept or placeholder for a state of perfect happiness, to which man is supposed to strive through achieving pleasure (which has a special definition under Epicureanism - it is moderate pleasure and the avoidance of the painful consequences of immoderation).