A philosophical school founded by Epicurus (342–270 BCE), who taught in a garden at Athens. He propounded an atomic theory of the universe; the atoms which comprise human beings are scattered at death, so there is no existence after death, and nothing to be feared. In his Ethics Epicurus taught that the absence of pain is the greatest good; it consists primarily in a repose of mind. Virtue tends to this repose; therefore virtue is essential for happiness.

Not surprisingly, Paul made little headway when he confronted Epicureans at Athens (Acts 17: 32) in 50 CE. The modern use of Epicureanism to mean self‐indulgence does not do justice to the subtlety of the ancient philosophy.