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The Nature of the Gods (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

`The translation is both lively and accurate; the introduction is judicious and informative. The notes are especially strong on the identification of the many historical references in the work.' Phronesis

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540068
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.4 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Cicero's "De Natura Deorum" is a work the great orator used to present his own position towards philosophy, the gods, and how they work in the universe and in the lives of individuals. Cicero presents his thesis by opening a dialogue between three distinguished philosophers from the major schools of the first century BC: namely the Stoics, Epicureans, and Academics. Velleius, in book one, expounds upon the general tenets of the Epicureans; in book two, Balbus the Stoic in turn attempts to refute the claims made by Velleius; and finally, in book three, Cotta takes the position of the Academics, which should be understood as Cicero's opinions himself. If judged correctly, Cicero's opinions are quite clear, but they should be left for the reader to discover on his own. As pure philosophy, this book obviously lacks merit; but as for creativity and sheer eloquence Cicero's work will make for an entertaining and insightful read, especially as an introductory to the philosophical maxims during the decay of the Roman Republic. Despite the works lack of philosophical ingenuity, its influence may possibly be greater than what is customarily maintained, since it is likely that "De Naturae Deorum" impacted Boethius in writing his "Consolation of Philosophy." First of all, both works address many of the same issues, and secondly in their literary style they both use prose and verse to convey meaning. Overall, this work will make for a comforting, and at times insightful read; this will be an essential addition to the classical library.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim and read it in it's entirety in one evening, and promptly started over from the beginning. Not only is Cicero an elegant writer, but unlike many of his contemporaries his arguments are logically thought out and easy to follow. Anyone who has ever wondered if God or the gods would be encompassed in a physical or ethereal form and anyone who has ever wondered just how much involvement any god could have in the day to day lives of human beings will find this book surprisingly modern in its thoughts and conclusions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Travers on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a review of the translation published by Oxford World's Classics.

In this work, Cicero tackles the question of theology from the perspective of the schools of thought in Rome in the first century BCE. The theories of the Epicurians, the Academics, and the Stoics are given a lot of space, but the history of philosophical theology is touched on in some detail too. Many of the theories are ones that seem quite contemporary. We see the same arguments for the existence of God today.

The book is wide ranging, discussing everything from epistemology to theology. Moreover the introduction discusses the historical importance of this work in early Christianity (which may be one reason why the theories seem contemporary) as well as the context in which it was written.

This is a book that will make you think, and will make you see current theology debates with new eyes. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hypatiaa on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Cicero's famous work, De Natura Deorum - on the Nature of the Gods, is important evidence of the theological beliefs of the major philosophical schools during the Late Republic of Rome. It is an important work - and still relevant today in philosophical studies as it is the major text that underlies David Hume's great treatise, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. It is also important evidence of two fragmentary works of the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus - in parts following closely - On Signs and On Piety. I go back to this work often as an important witness to understand the thoughts of other major philosophers both ancient and modern.
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