By Jean Bottero, Clarisse Herrenschmidt, Jean Pierre Vernant, Francois Zabbal, Teresa Lavender Fagan

With Ancestor of the West, 3 distinct French historians exhibit the tale of the start of writing and cause, demonstrating how the logical non secular constructions of close to japanese and Mesopotamian cultures served as precursors to these of the West."Full of subject for a person drawn to language, faith, and politics within the old world."—R. T. Ridley, magazine of spiritual History"In this available creation to the traditional global, 3 prime French students discover the emergence of rationality and writing within the West, tracing its improvement and its survival in our personal traditions. . . . Jean Bottero makes a speciality of writing and faith in old Mesopotamia, Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers a broader historical past of old writing, and Jean-Pierre Vernant examines classical Greek civilization within the context of close to jap history."—Translation evaluate

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Extra info for Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece

Sample text

It was not by sheer chance! If we examine these archaic documents closely, we immediately understand what their purpose was. Not only do all of them appear to be covered with these various pictograms, but next to and between the drawings there are speci­ fic designs (primarily round in shape, or half-moons, with a specific outline), which quickly appear to be numbers in that their specific designs are often added up at the end-which enables us easily to understand their meaning and the system to which they belong.

Each likely hypothe­ sis, each myth giving some detail of that creation-and the myths were often contradictory-presented things in its own way, but they all attributed the origin of the universe and of humans to the sole will and intervention of the gods. It was only in how events unfolded, in the means and stages of cosmogony-the birth of the universe­ that explanations differed; each explanation was as "likely" as the next, but varied depending on the point of view adopted by the author, who was conditioned by his time, his vision of things, and thousands of other peculiarities in his thought and his life.

Such a large vision of the world, translated into countless written texts, is impossible, in these few pages, to describe both completely and in sufficient detail for it to be understood. I will 34 therefore do my best to limit myself to a brief description of twQ criticaJ realities regarding that vjsjQ[l, realities that, as such, are no vo longer our own but-and this is also true for writing-that still fundamentally belong to us, and without which our own reality would not have become what it is today.

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