De Rerum Natura: Understanding the Nature of Things2019-04-09

De Rerum Natura: Understanding the Nature of Things and Conquering the Fear of Death through Epicurean Philosophy

How are we to face death? This is a question that human beings have sought to answer for millennia. Humankind’s fear of this unknown has fostered fear towards death. Fear and superstition have deprived human beings of the freedom to pursue valuable and virtuous goals in life. Lucretius wrote De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things) to explicate the world through Epicurus’s theory and help readers conquer their superstitions and fear of death by understanding the nature of the physical world. Lucretius believed that only by this understanding can human beings be liberated from the interference of fear and live a tranquil and virtuous life.
De Rerum Natura illustrates the principles of atomism, the origin of the cosmos, the nature of the mind and soul, the development of human civilization, and how disasters, such as plagues, wreak havoc. Lucretius stresses that none of the events on earth are the results of divine intervention. He refutes religious and philosophical beliefs that preach the immorality of the soul, and divine judgment and punishment after death. The entire work celebrates the glory of humanism, and Lucretius elegantly urges his readers to become the masters of their own fate.
To guide readers through the philosophical themes and context of De Rerum Natura, the translator and annotator Hsei-Yung Hsu included an introduction to and commentary on the work, a detailed analysis, relevant readings, and a timeline marking major historical events. The annotations are largely based on C. Bailey’s Latin translation of Lucreti De Rerum Natura Libri Sex (1922), an edition included in the Oxford Classical Texts. Hsu also referred to several Latin editions, including those by Munro (1886), Bailey (1947), Leonard and Smith (1970), and Rouse (2002). This book fully captures the essence and philosophical profundity of the original work, serving as a perfect guide for researchers of the field.
About the Translator and Annotator
Hsei-Yung Hsu is a professor of philosophy at NTU. He received his doctorate of philosophy from the University of Glasgow. He has taught at Tunghai University’s Department of Philosophy and was also a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford. His field of research includes ancient Western ethics and political philosophy.

(Resource: NTU HIGHLIGHTS Feb. 2019)