Neostoicism was a syncretic philosophical movement, joining Stoicism and Christianity. It was founded by Belgian humanist Justus Lipsius who in 1584 presented its rules in a famous dialogue De constantia (On Constancy). Then he amplified them in the treatises Manductio ad stoicam philosophiam (Introduction to the Stoic Philosophy), Physiologia stoicorum (Physics of the Stoics), both published in 1604.

Neostoicism is a practical philosophy which holds that the basic rule of good life is that the human should not yield to the passions, but submit to God. Neostoicism recognizes four passions: greed, joy, fear and sorrow. Although the human has the free will, everything that happens (even if it is wrong because of the human) is under control of God and finally it tends to the good. The human who complies with this rule is free, because he is not overcome by the instincts. He is also calm, because all the material pleasures and sufferings are irrelevant for him. Finally, he is really, spiritually happy, because he lives close to God.

Neostoicism had a direct influence on many seventeenth and eighteenth-century writers including Montesquieu, Bossuet, Francis Bacon, Joseph Hall, Francisco de Quevedo and Juan de Vera y Figueroa. The work of Guillaume du Vair, Traité de la Constance (1594), largely derived from that of Lipsius.



  • Mark Morford, Stoics and Neostoics: Rubens and the Circle of Lipsius (1991)
  • Gerhard Oestreich, Neostoicism and the Early Modern State, English translation by David McLintock (1982)
  • Jason Lewis Saunders, Justus Lipsius: The Philosophy of Renaissance Stoicism (1955)

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