The Nature of the Gods and on Divination

The Nature of the Gods and on Divination

By (author) Marcus Tullius Cicero , Translated by C.D. Yonge

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In The Nature of the Gods the eminent Roman statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.) analyzes the positions of the Stoic, Epicurean, and Academic schools on the existence and nature of the gods, and whether they act in the interests of humankind. Cotta, the Academic spokesman, criticizes his Epicurean and Stoic interlocutors for their failures, respectively, to account for human freedom and for the accidents and evils that occur in life. Lacking sure knowledge of what gods are, human beings are left to their own intelligence and natural abilities to make their way in an uncertain world. On Divination is closely related in subject-matter. In this dialogue between Cicero and his brother, Quintus, the latter upholds the truth of various sorts of divination on Stoic principles. Cicero counters that there is no such "science" of divination, and that the ambiguities and absurdities inherent in oracles, prodigies, and dreams preclude any divine agency. They are, rather, the result of natural phenomena or coincidence.

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  • Paperback | 263 pages
  • 141 x 215.1 x 14.7mm | 335.66g
  • 01 Dec 1997
  • Prometheus Books
  • Amherst
  • English
  • New ed of 1853 ed
  • 1573921807
  • 9781573921800
  • 1,932,539

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In The Nature of the Gods the eminent Roman statesman and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.) analyzes the positions of the Stoic, Epicurean, and Academic schools on the existence and nature of the gods, and whether they act in the interests of humankind. Cotta, the Academic spokesman, criticizes his Epicurean and Stoic interlocutors for their failures, respectively, to account for human freedom and for the accidents and evils that occur in life. Lacking sure knowledge of what gods are, human beings are left to their own intelligence and natural abilities to make their way in an uncertain world. On Divination is closely related in subject-matter. In this dialogue between Cicero and his brother, Quintus, the latter upholds the truth of various sorts of divination on Stoic principles. Cicero counters that there is no such "science" of divination, and that the ambiguities and absurdities inherent in oracles, prodigies, and dreams preclude any divine agency. They are, rather, the result of natural phenomena or coincidence.

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