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Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion

Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion
On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination

  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107070486

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  • During the months before and after he saw Julius Caesar assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 BC, Cicero wrote two philosophical dialogues about religion and theology: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination. This book brings to life his portraits of Stoic and Epicurean theology, as well as the scepticism of the new Academy, his own school. We meet the Epicurean gods who live a life of pleasure and care nothing for us, the determinism and beauty of the Stoic universe, itself our benevolent creator, and the reply to both that traditional religion is better served by a lack of dogma. Cicero hoped that these reflections would renew the traditional religion at Rome, with its prayers and sacrifices, temples and statues, myths and poets, and all forms of divination. This volume is the first to fully investigate Cicero's dialogues as the work of a careful philosophical author.

    • Brings to life Cicero's exciting interpretations of Hellenistic philosophers on the gods and religion
    • Argues forcefully for Cicero's worth as a careful philosophical author
    • Shows how the traditional religion of the late Roman Republic, and the scientific and philosophical world of Hellenistic thought, give Cicero original perspectives on the big questions in the philosophy of religion
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The burgeoning interest in Cicero's writings on philosophy takes a different turn in this pioneering treatment of his works on religion. J. P. F. Wynne provides a lucid, accessible, and attractively written introduction to Cicero's distinctive brand of sceptical dialogue in general, before turning to his markedly contrasting treatments of theology and of divination. His new book makes a powerful case for taking them to constitute a single extended and sophisticated project: 'moderating' religion, to secure it from the extremes of impiety and superstition.' Malcolm Schofield, University of Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107070486
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Cicero and the translation of philosophy from Greece to Rome
    1. Cicero's project in On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination
    2. The beatitude of Gaius Velleius
    3. Balbus the reformer and Cotta the pontifex
    4. Quintus' Stoic case for divination
    5. Marcus' arguments against divination
    6. Marcus' moderation
    Appendix 1. Terminology in DND and Div. for religious virtues and vices, and Greek equivalents
    Appendix 2. Velleius' strategies against his opponents
    Appendix 3. Balbus' classification of the gods.

  • Author

    J. P. F. Wynne, University of Utah
    J. P. F. Wynne is Associate Professor of Classics in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at the University of Utah. He is a scholar of later ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and religion, and a specialist on Cicero, Stoic and sceptical philosophy, and the philosophy of religion in the ancient world.

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