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Read e-book online Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in PDF

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

ISBN-10: 0226067157

ISBN-13: 9780226067155

With Ancestor of the West, 3 unique French historians exhibit the tale of the beginning of writing and cause, demonstrating how the logical spiritual buildings of close to japanese and Mesopotamian cultures served as precursors to these of the West."Full of topic for somebody attracted to language, faith, and politics within the historic world."—R. T. Ridley, magazine of spiritual History"In this available creation to the traditional international, 3 top French students discover the emergence of rationality and writing within the West, tracing its improvement and its survival in our personal traditions. . . . Jean Bottero specializes in writing and faith in historical Mesopotamia, Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers a broader historical past of historic writing, and Jean-Pierre Vernant examines classical Greek civilization within the context of close to japanese history."—Translation assessment

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

Example text

Thus roughly a thousand signs in all, most of which, it is true, had multiple uses, were enough to create a system that enabled its users to put down in writing at the very least that which was in the realm of accounting. It was, and this must be strongly emphasized, what might be called a writing system of things: its signs referred immediately­ directly or indirectly-to material objects themselves, without go­ ing inevitably through the words that expressed them, just as our index finger extended to indicate the direction to follow is immedi­ ately understood by everyone concerned regardless of their native language.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the documents, the cuneiform texts in which we glean the details of the myths, are from various periods in the long span of the local civilization and its contempla­ tion, and each is from a different place and by a different author; thus we can justify their inconsistencies, which in no way detract from the role they played. To look at only one example, some myths advanced the proposi­ tion that the world was born the way humans and animals were born, through natural procreation, following the coupling of divine parents: the god from Above, from the sky (An), impregnating the goddess from Below, the earth (Ki), to give birth to the framework of our existence.

I should add that what was true of individuals is all the more so of the political life of that time: the royal notaries and scribes have transmitted royal ordinances, edicts, official acts proclaimed by the ruler, his charitable gifts, his inter­ vention in all matters of daily life in the realm, and even interna­ tional treaties that he might have negotiated between powerful leaders. In the domains of administration and justice, the king, the chief judge, was expected to delegate a part of his power to local magis­ trates.

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Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece by Jean Bottero, Clarisse Herrenschmidt, Jean Pierre Vernant, Francois Zabbal, Teresa Lavender Fagan

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