Written between 56 and 64 AD, De beneficiis is a treatise in seven books that constitutes, together with De ira and De clementia, the centre of Seneca’s philosophical reflection on social ethics. More specifically, within the context of a critical re-interpretation of the stoicism of Chrysippus and Hecato, Seneca sees bene facere (“granting a benefit”, as well as “doing good per se”) as the primary means of achieving and maintaining a community’s civil cohesion.
Bene facere, however, is framed as the immediate consequence of bene velle (“loving”: e.g., Ben.1.6). There is, in this sense, a progressive shift from the material sphere of the objects and services conferred, to the immaterial and spiritualised sphere of intentions and benevolent emotions that cement a
Citation: Li Causi, Pietro. "De beneficiis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 January 2015 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35596, accessed 09 December 2023.]