Authored by: Margaret Graver

Ancient Philosophy of Religion

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844652204
eBook ISBN: 9781315729633
Adobe ISBN: 9781317546511


 Download Chapter



The philosophical works of Cicero (106–43 BCE) give evidence of a lively interest in what we now call the philosophy of religion, or philosophical theology. That broad realm of study addresses questions of the same kind as are commonly associated with religious thought, in particular the following:

the nature of the divine; whether any divine beings exist;

whether the universe is divinely created; whether events are in any sense controlled or directed by the divine;

whether future events are already fully determined by divine will; whether human beings have any means of discerning and/or influencing god’s intentions;

the nature of the human soul; its prenatal or post-mortem existence; whether there are divinely appointed rewards or punishments; whether human nature is inherently pleasing to the divine;

the source of religious stirring in individuals and of religious teachings and practices in human cultures.

All of these are addressed by Cicero, most extensively in his treatises On the Nature of the Gods, On Divination and On Fate, but also in the Tusculan Disputations and the earlier works On the Republic and On the Laws. In these writings he makes it his task not only to seek the truth of these difficult matters, but also to record as many as possible of the conflicting theological positions held by earlier philosophers and by his contemporaries in Rome. He is thus a key figure in the transmission of ancient Mediterranean thought.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.