Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Cicero on the Knowledge of Nature

Peter Jones, in his Ancient and Modern column in The Spectator, speaks on divination...

"Cicero now takes each type of divination in turn interpretation of natural phenomena like entrails and lightning, the taking of auspices, casting of lots, horoscopes, oracles and dreams and shows what nonsense they are. He ends by asserting the importance of religion, which he associates with 'the knowledge of nature', and contrasts it with 'superstition, which must be torn up by the roots: for it is at your heels all the time, pursuing you at every twist and turn when you listen to a prophet or an omen, offer sacrifice, watch the birds, consult an astrologer, see lightning. Since these signs are given all the time, no one who believes them can ever be at peace.'"

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