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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008

13 - Theology

Philosophical theology is a rational enterprise or at any rate an attempt to rationalize the irrational. This chapter concentrates on three ingredients of Hellenistic theology which together form a sort of triptych: the issues of the existence and attributes of the gods; the questions of divine providence and theodicy, or the relation between the gods and the world and humans; and problems regarding our knowledge of the divine. The views of the Epicureans and the Stoics on the relation between the gods and the world and men are radically opposed to each other. Nevertheless they share a common purpose in that they both strive to liberate us from fear. Academic theological arguments are ascribed to Carneades, who refutes conclusions, not premisses. One of his lines of attack is to undermine the tenet, held and argued by Stoics as well as Epicureans, that the gods are living beings.
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The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy
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