The Sophist
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The Sophist

Lucretius: Philosophy vs. Religion

The Ancient Poet who Helped Shape the Modern World

Lucretius’ “On the Nature of Things” begins with a tribute to Venus (at the centre of this painting), but very quickly the author switches his attention to the philosopher Epicurus. The poem is the most comprehensive exposition of Epicureanism that survives today and was found by chance in a monastery. Painting: Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, 1482. (source: Wikipedia)

“That is the purpose of my poetry, as you peruse
My lines, to try to keep your mind’s attention, while you start
To understand the framework at the universe’s heart.”

In 1415 the Catholic Church was threatened with an existential crisis. Three men claimed the throne of a papacy at the height of…

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