Seneca: The Surprising Metaphysics of Letters 58 and 65 to Lucilius


  • Giorgio Faro Pontificia Università della Santa Croce



innate ideas, matter, creative reason, Seneca's Platonism, presence of God in us


This essay highlights two letters to Lucilius, n. 58 and n. 65, which have a decidedly metaphysical content, surprising enough for some statements that are found there, unusual and unexpected in a pagan writer, even in an innovator of stoicism, such as Seneca. Some Italian scholars wanted to find its roots in the creationist thought of Philo of Alexandria, the first to attempt a wonderful philosophical synthesis of biblical faith and reason. Without excluding this realistic hypothesis, the author of this essay also wants to hypothesize the contribution of nascent Christianity to Rome, which certainly Seneca could not ignore. St. Paul appealed to the emperor, who had the last word in the trials in which they appealed to Caesar. And his first political advisers were precisely Lucius Anneus Seneca and Sextus Afranius Burro. Finally, a brief investigation follows on letter 41, with specifically moral contents, to evaluate the consistency of one of the criticisms that Lattanzio, who also admires Seneca, makes against him.