Was Epicurus the First Apikores (Heretic)?!

Of course not.

But then we must ask: why is it specifically his name that is synonymous for heresy in Chazal: Apikores? Why wasn’t an earlier individual’s name chosen?

From Wikipedia:

Also important in the history of atheism was Epicurus (c. 300 BCE). Drawing on the ideas of Democritus and the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy according to which the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention (see scientific determinism). Although he stated that deities existed, he believed that they were uninterested in human existence. The aim of the Epicureans was to attain peace of mind and one important way of doing this was by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational. The Epicureans also denied the existence of an afterlife and the need to fear divine punishment after death.

Now we understand. He was not the first atheist, but the first to try and integrate it with everything else, make it a “shittah”.

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