Philosophy Before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia

Philosophy Before the Greeks The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia There is a growing recognition that philosophy isn t unique to the West that it didn t begin only with the classical Greeks and that Greek philosophy was influenced by Near Eastern traditions Yet ev

  • Title: Philosophy Before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia
  • Author: Marc Van De Mieroop
  • ISBN: 9780691157184
  • Page: 279
  • Format: Hardcover
  • There is a growing recognition that philosophy isn t unique to the West, that it didn t begin only with the classical Greeks, and that Greek philosophy was influenced by Near Eastern traditions Yet even today there is a widespread assumption that what came before the Greeks was before philosophy In Philosophy before the Greeks, Marc Van De Mieroop, an acclaimed historiThere is a growing recognition that philosophy isn t unique to the West, that it didn t begin only with the classical Greeks, and that Greek philosophy was influenced by Near Eastern traditions Yet even today there is a widespread assumption that what came before the Greeks was before philosophy In Philosophy before the Greeks, Marc Van De Mieroop, an acclaimed historian of the ancient Near East, presents a groundbreaking argument that, for three millennia before the Greeks, one Near Eastern people had a rich and sophisticated tradition of philosophy fully worthy of the name.In the first century BC, the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily praised the Babylonians for their devotion to philosophy Showing the justice of Diodorus s comment, this is the first book to argue that there were Babylonian philosophers and that they studied knowledge systematically using a coherent system of logic rooted in the practices of cuneiform script Van De Mieroop uncovers Babylonian approaches to knowledge in three areas the study of language, which in its analysis of the written word formed the basis of all logic the art of divination, which interpreted communications between gods and humans and the rules of law, which confirmed that royal justice was founded on truth.The result is an innovative intellectual history of the ancient Near Eastern world during the many centuries in which Babylonian philosophers inspired scholars throughout the region until the first millennium BC, when the breakdown of this cosmopolitan system enabled others, including the Greeks, to develop alternative methods of philosophical reasoning.

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      Published :2018-08-14T16:22:14+00:00

    One thought on “Philosophy Before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia”

    1. For those who work in the field of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, especially with a focus on texts, Van De Mieroop's volume has great implications. It also brings clarity to some of the puzzling areas of the ANE written record, not just in Babylon, but throughout the Levant, Anatolia, and Egypt (although he does not deal with these other geographic areas in depth). The major short-coming, from my perspective, is that the title of this volume mistakenly leads those who do not know Van De Mieroop's [...]

    2. Quite a decent book about cuneiform writing (though with far too few examples for my taste), a good if superficial exploration of three genres of cuneiform, mostly Babylonian, writing: word lists, omen lists and law codes (which were lists as well, and were never used as actual law codes). Not very engaging style, much worse than his history of the ancient Near East, reading this has soon become a chore.It would not be that bad, but for one thing sorely missing from this book: Philosophy.

    3. If it wasn't for the title, the book could have received greatest appraisals, notably on the unparalleled lexicographical tradition of the Babylonians and its intricate complexity and emanations, but the title was suggesting a possible deep comparison between the speculative secretions of Ancient Babylonia and what the later Greeks came up with ; yet the "epistemology" exorcised in the book not only remains superficially touched upon, but there's no beginning of a genuine intellectual confrontat [...]

    4. I've written a critical summary of Marc Van De Mieroop's book under the title 'A Saussurian Approach to Babylonian Epistemology'. The blogpost can be found at:shrineinthesea/An interesting book, which illuminates much about the processes of Babylonian textual exegesis, but Van De Mieroop makes no serious effort to show the relationship between Greek philosophy and its Babylonian antecedents.

    5. This book does none of the things it promises - it might be a valuable discussion of Babylonian lexicography, but it stops just when, armed with all the information about ancient scholars and their worldview through the practice of writing and reading, philosophy could really begin. I was almost expecting a "to be continued" at the end of it.

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