Lucretius and His Fear of Death and Gods
Lucretius was as zealous fighter against religion as any other poet or thinker in history (e. g. much more zealous as Epicurus himself). Believing the fear of death caused by religious myths to be the main obstacle to human happiness (defined as the living in the perfect impassivity), he considered extirpation of religion the principal goal of epicurean philosophy. He was severe in rejecting oficially practicised old Roman rites; however, he considered secret rites-- such as those of the Pythagoreans, which seeemed to him to be more persuasive and suggestive - to be even more dangerous, though there was a slight resemblance between Pythagorean and Lucretius' teaching regarding the symbolic interpretation of traditional myths about punishment in the after-life and about expectation of the imminent end of the world. Of course, we must not overlook that this great poet always took into account the »dark side« of religious doctrines. Several scholars assert that Lucretius to all apperances never set his mind fully free of what we call metaphysical anxiety. The author of the present article makes an effort to represent this very »metaphysical sensibility« as the source of the deepest feelings and poetical expressions in the De Rerum Natura.
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