CP: Lucretius' On the Nature of Things

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David Bailey | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jul 19 2013 7:44 AM

We know very little about the person, Titus Lucretius Carus, but his unique poem On the Nature of Things (De Rerum Natura) is very well known and available at Logos Community Pricing.

Epicureanism and stoicism were two dominant and opposing philosophies during the Hellenistic Empire of Rome.  Both philosophies had tremendous influence during the early days of Christianity, and continue to have impact in our world today.

Snippets taken from Notes from the Editors of The Great Books of the Western World:

 “Epicureanism is a materialistic philosophy that argues for an atomistic structure of nature. Its theory explains psychological as well as physical processes, from ethics to optics. Epicureanism provides a means of overcoming the obstacles to tranquility – notably, the fear of death and of the gods – by explaining things…in terms of the motions of material particles.

As has been mistakenly supposed, Epicureanism does not advocate a life given to pleasure; as Lucretius warns, excess is self-defeating, for its pains are far greater than its pleasures. Rather, the good life is one of quiet contemplation and withdrawal from any involvement in human affairs.”


Lucretius’ poem is a presentation and defense of Epicureanism, which emphasizes sense experience and natural, empirical evidence for knowledge. Lucretius, for example, writes that our universe today is composed of previously existing matter that came together through natural processes, from turbulent motions of atoms through infinite space. He also describes the idea that in our infinite universe of unlimited colliding atoms, there exist other worlds (besides our earth) and heavens, and possible existence of other races of beings.  All this sound familiar with current ideas?

On the Nature of Things

  • Book I: principles of atomistic materialism
  • Book II: nature of atomic compounds
  • Book III: atomic structure and mortality of the soul
  • Book IV: mechanics of sense perception, thought-vision, and explanation of bodily functions
  • Book V: description of creation and working of man and the cosmos
  • Book VI: natural phenomena of earth and sky (i.e. thunder, lightning)

Recall that while in Athens, the Apostle Paul had a memorable encounter with a group of Stoic and Epicurean philosophers. Paul boldly spoke to those who were willing to hear more about his new teaching of Christ (see Acts 17:16-34).

Perform an “all text” search in your Logos library, minus Perseus, using Lucretius OR Epicurean.  How many results, articles, and resources appear? My search resulted in over 1900 articles and 700 resources!

Logos has many available resources that discuss or reference Epicureanism, such as The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religions, Exploring the New Testament World, and The Early Church Fathers collection. I notice that both Origen and Lactantius quote Lucretius and Epicureanism throughout their respective writings, Origen Against Celsus (Contra Celsum) and The Divine Institutes (Divinae Institutiones), found in Logos’ Early Church Fathers.

Although I have a preferred English translation of De Rerum Natura, by Hugh A. J. Munro, I would very much like to own a digital version of Lucretius’s masterpiece in Logos! If you are a researcher and reader of Western philosophy or New Testament background studies, Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura is a must-have! At the current Bid price of $5 for the Loeb Classical Library edition, this is a no-brainer. Consider the prices found in other venues and how this edition will integrate with resources in your Logos library.

Place your Bid on Lucretius in CP.  It is the current best price for this resource.


Posts 2279
Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 19 2013 10:16 AM

Thanks for highlighting this, David.

Bid duly placed Big Smile

Posts 654
David Bailey | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 10:53 AM

Great!  I hope more will bid on CP for this.

Posts 466
Butters | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 10:58 AM

I've bid on this as well - thanks for pointing it up.  Interesting to note that one can find an early articulation of many aspects of evolution, both macro and micro, in De Rerum Natura.  This always comes as a shock, and a bit of a disappointment, to ideological Darwinists.  LOL.  

“To love means loving the unlovable.  To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.  Faith means believing the unbelievable.  Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” ~Chesterton

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