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How Philosophers Saved MythsAllegorical Interpretation and Classical Mythology$
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Luc Brisson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226075358

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226075389.001.0001

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Stoics, Epicureans, and the New Academy

Stoics, Epicureans, and the New Academy

Chapter:
(p.41) FOUR Stoics, Epicureans, and the New Academy
Source:
How Philosophers Saved Myths
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226075389.003.0005

This chapter analyses the De natura deorum (DND), in which Cicero systematically covered what the three predominant philosophical currents of the time had to say on the various gods and on the interpretations that each of these figures generated. Only fragments of the works of the Stoics, the Epicureans, and the philosophers of the New Academy have survived. Balbus, the representative of Stoicism, wonders about the origins of the gods of the popular religion, in the second book of DND. The doctrine against which the attacks of the Epicureans and the Academicians converge is that of the Stoics, which is characterized by two traits, that is, the acceptance of the existence of all the traditional divinities, and the allegorical justification of their nature. Hence, the allegorical interpretation advocated by the Stoics remained predominant for centuries despite of all the attacks.

Keywords:   De natura deorum, DND, Cicero, gods, Stoics, Epicureans, New Academy

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