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On the Nature of the Universe
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Group Reads > June 2012 - On the Nature of the Universe by Lucretius

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Post your questions, comments and outrages here to share and discuss with other members. Happy reading!


Karen | 18 comments I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book! I wasn't expecting such beautiful language and logical thinking. I found it very refreshing and a reminder of the kind of thought that has been squelched for centuries. In spite of attempts to make curiosity a sin, science and technology have progressed mightily since the time of Lucretius, but, were he alive today, he would be considered one of the world's greatest thinkers. I read this book in delicious small bites and, just as I was finishing, I was given "The Swerve" by Stephen Greenblatt. What a happy coincidence!


message 3: by David (last edited Jun 19, 2012 08:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David References for this work just kept popping up in other readings. I read The Swerve recently and now I have finally decided I have to read this poem for myself. Can anyone recommend the best translation? I have heard the Rolfe Humphries English translation was very good and easier to read than some of the others.The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura I would prefer it in an ebook format but so far I have only found it as a paperback.


David One has to be impressed with how close some of scientific conclusions come to today's understanding of certain principles. Read in the light of a more modern understanding the work creates a sense of awe in the potential of ancient wisdom and a healthy respect for the well reasoned arguments in the work.

However, I find myself more than a little concerned by they very same strength of reasoning employed in Lucretius' arguments. If I were unarmed and without a modern education I would have a very difficult time arguing against some of the claims made in this work and would feel forced to accept some things that we now know are false. How could anyone in antiquity with any sense of health in their reason argue against this? The fact that certain groups adopting Neo-Platonist and Origen philosophies won out over this is both shocking and sad.


Karen | 18 comments David wrote: "One has to be impressed with how close some of scientific conclusions come to today's understanding of certain principles. Read in the light of a more modern understanding the work creates a sense..."
From what I've read, the biggest villains in suppressing rational thought were the Christians, who could not tolerate anything that opposed the idea of a god or gods or the resurrection of Jesus.


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