The Nature of the Gods is formatted as a dialogue involving arguments by Stoics and Epicureans, with a healthy dose of Cicero’s understanding of Greek philosophy thrown into the mix. Except for those readers graced by a solid, classical education, the “Introduction” to any translation of Cicero’s book will be required reading. This background reading will bring order to the text, and insight into Cicero’s ideas, beginning with the characters he develops for the dialogue. In my edition, Ross actually carries on Cicero’s work in an appendix, and here we see a hint of Voegelin’s observation about Cicero’s “compact” experience of the transcendent. Ross observes that the Stoics and Epicureans could not clearly recognize that God is not part of the created order, but remains a transcendent Creator mysteriously influencing people in Creation, and that refutations against their arguments need not have detracted in any way from the reality of God’s existence. The question that is not asked by Cicero, argues Ross, is “can there…be morality or truth or great art unless they derive from an…ultimate realm of a different kind from our relativities?” 
In the Introduction to my edition, Ross suggests this work by Cicero—with some exceptions—has not been well read over the centuries, and there have been times when it has been mistreated, as when Calvin set the work up as a straw man in order to carelessly knock it down in the name of his own Christian doctrine. There is also a clear enough hint that maybe Cicero’s work is no longer that important in the grand scheme of things. Having read many fine books that study the works of people such as Plato and Saint Augustine, to name two “book ends” that surround Cicero’s work in time, this may well be the case. I can only say that reading Cicero has been a very stimulating and sometimes surprising experience for me. So, if you pass a dumpster someday, and you see Cicero’s The Nature of the Gods lying there, I would personally recommend it worth the effort to retrieve the book. Who knows, it may be the last copy on earth. My edition is starting to fall apart.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor