Meditations is former U.S. President Bill Clinton's favorite book. This audio consists of a series of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor 161-180 AD, setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy.
Public Domain (P)2012 Trout Lake Media
I looked forward to Meditations both as philosophy and for the insights it might yield into Roman history. But the experience was almost completely ruined by Alan Munro's reading.
His voice was mellifluous, clear, confident, and well-paced. But it was as if he were reading for transcription, pausing every three or four words for the stenographer to catch up. So instead of reading sentences and paragraphs in a way that brought out their meaning, he read small clusters of words, breaking apart their larger meanings in a way that made it impossible for me to follow the author's argument. If he were to read the preceding sentence, this would not be an exaggeration:
So instead of reading.
Sentences and paragraphs
In a way
That brought out their meaning
He read small clusters of words
Breaking apart their larger meanings
In a way
That made it impossible for me
To follow the author's argument.
I suppose somebody with a different attention span might find a much better experience, but I'll certainly never make the mistake of buying anything else Munro narrates.
This is very slow going bouncing from one thought to another. If it wasn't for the fact that I enjoy hearing how others think I would have abandoned this book. I can only listen to it a small bit at a time as I find myself thinking of something else.
It lacked any motivation or excitement at all
The narrator has a resonant baritone voice. The narration would probably be okay if you were listening to it at home or with headphones. However, I usually listen to audible recordings in the car. With all the ambient noise, I found the narration very difficult to follow. I haven't experienced this problem with other narrators under similar conditions.
"Was Jesus really a greater thinker than Marcus"
I had a long discussion on the page for Marcus Aurelius in Facebook that I founded a few years ago and still administer where a Christian apologist claimed that Marcus Aurelius was a ‘midget’ as a thinker compared to Jesus of the Christian fame.
There is one slight problem in this comparison. Marcus Aurelius did write a book or that is definitely his own words from the beginning to the end. In this respect, he beats Jesus 1-0.
Marcus Aurelius has demonstrably himself written down his ideas. On the other hand nobody knows who has come up with the ideas that are attributed to Jesus in the "New Testament" of the Christians. This strange book was after all written many decades and even century and a half after the death of this Jewish preacher and rebel.
A simple unpleasant fact (for Christians that is) is that Jesus has not written a single word that we would know to be his own work. We have just a book that this full of alleged quotes from him, but their real and source will probably never be known for sure.
The Greek-speaking writers of the New Testament could well have made up a majority or even all of these quotes and ideas by themselves. Nobody knows their sources. Bart D. Ehrman has written some good books about the issue.
Marcus Aurelius’ only book ‘Meditations' was translated into Latin from Greek. It was the preferred language of Roman intelligentsia of that day. Meditations was originally called in Greek "Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν" or "Ta eis heauton", literally "thoughts/writings addressed to himself".
Marcus Aurelius wrote the 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek that was used by the highly educated class of Romans. He wrote the book as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement.
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