chapter  III
70 Pages

Currents of Thought in the Roman Imperial Period

This chapter discusses the age in which Christianity originated was one of complete disintegration of the traditional forms of production and of the state. The human individual can exist only in society and through society. The peasant in the period of his strength and self-sufficiency was offered little opportunity for thought by the social life of the times, as life was definitely fixed for him by custom and habit. A scientific study of nature is possible only in the cities, where man is not made to feel so directly and emphatically his dependence on nature, with the result that he may begin to work as a detached observer of nature. Natural philosophy begins in the cities, but gradually many cities grew so large that their populations began to be cut off from any relation with nature, thus losing all interest in the subject. Duplicity is a necessary complement to credulity and the love of miracles.