battling the gods atheism in the ancient world

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Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 9780571279326
Genre : Religion
File Size : 36. 74 MB
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How new is atheism? In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities. Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively free-thinking voices of antiquity. Tim Whitmarsh brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief. Battling the Gods is the first book on the origins of the secular values at the heart of the modern state. Authoritative and bold, provocative and humane, it reveals how atheism and doubt, far from being modern phenomena, have intrigued the human imagination for thousands of years.

Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 0571279309
Genre : Atheism
File Size : 30. 84 MB
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How new is atheism?In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities.Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively free-thinking voices of antiquity.Tim Whitmarsh brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief.Battling the Gods is the first book on the origins of the secular values at the heart of the modern state. Authoritative and bold, provocative and humane, it reveals how atheism and doubt, far from being modern phenomena, have intrigued the human imagination for thousands of years.

Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 9780307958334
Genre : History
File Size : 33. 98 MB
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How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities. Homer’s epic poems of human striving, journeying, and passion were ancient Greece’s only “sacred texts,” but no ancient Greek thought twice about questioning or mocking his stories of the gods. Priests were functionaries rather than sources of moral or cosmological wisdom. The absence of centralized religious authority made for an extraordinary variety of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to the atheos, or “godless.” Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic range of ideas about the gods, focusing on the colorful individuals who challenged their existence. Among these were some of the greatest ancient poets and philosophers and writers, as well as the less well known: Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; Socrates, executed for rejecting the gods of the Athenian state; Epicurus and his followers, who thought gods could not intervene in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata. Before the revolutions of late antiquity, which saw the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced by imperial might, there were few constraints on belief. Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity’s establishment as Rome’s state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label “atheist” was used now to demonize anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy—and so it would remain for centuries. As the twenty-first century shapes up into a time of mass information, but also, paradoxically, of collective amnesia concerning the tangled histories of religions, Whitmarsh provides a bracing antidote to our assumptions about the roots of freethinking. By shining a light on atheism’s first thousand years, Battling the Gods offers a timely reminder that nonbelief has a wealth of tradition of its own, and, indeed, its own heroes. From the Hardcover edition.

The Oxford Handbook Of Atheism

Author : Stephen Bullivant
ISBN : 9780199644650
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 86. 32 MB
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This handbook is a pioneering edited volume, exploring atheism - understood in the broad sense of 'an absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods' - in its historical and contemporary expressions. It probes the varied manifestations and implications of unbelief from an array of disciplinary perspectives and in a range of global contexts.

Panorama Of The Classical World

Author : Nigel Spivey
ISBN : 1606060562
Genre : History
File Size : 41. 84 MB
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This imaginative approach to the era in which Western civilization was born is a thorough--and thoroughly accessible--synthesis of the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan worlds, spanning the period from Late Geometric Greece in around 700 b.c., to the rule of Constantine in the early 4th century a.d. The authors incorporate important developments in recent scholarship, including ideas of gender, war and pacifism, imperialism and dissent, political propaganda, economy, cultural identity, racism, hygiene and diet, and public and private uses of space. The book highlights the modern relevance of classical antiquity, from its influence on contemporary politics to the representation of the female body in Western art, and concludes by charting the history of classical civilization. The extensive reference section includes biographies, an introduction to classical mythology, a glossary of technical terms and vase shapes, as well as a timeline, map, bibliography, and index.

Greeks And Barbarians

Author : Kostas Vlassopoulos
ISBN : 9781107244269
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 34. 90 MB
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This book is an ambitious synthesis of the social, economic, political and cultural interactions between Greeks and non-Greeks in the Mediterranean world during the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. Instead of traditional and static distinctions between Greeks and Others, Professor Vlassopoulos explores the diversity of interactions between Greeks and non-Greeks in four parallel but interconnected worlds: the world of networks, the world of apoikiai ('colonies'), the Panhellenic world and the world of empires. These diverse interactions set into motion processes of globalisation; but the emergence of a shared material and cultural koine across the Mediterranean was accompanied by the diverse ways in which Greek and non-Greek cultures adopted and adapted elements of this global koine. The book explores the paradoxical role of Greek culture in the processes of ancient globalisation, as well as the peculiar way in which Greek culture was shaped by its interaction with non-Greek cultures.

The Battle For God

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9780307798602
Genre : Religion
File Size : 31. 78 MB
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. In the late twentieth century, fundamentalism has emerged as one of the most powerful forces at work in the world, contesting the dominance of modern secular values and threatening peace and harmony around the globe. Yet it remains incomprehensible to a large number of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong brilliantly and sympathetically shows us how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish. We see the West in the sixteenth century beginning to create an entirely new kind of civilization, which brought in its wake change in every aspect of life -- often painful and violent, even if liberating. Armstrong argues that one of the things that changed most was religion. People could no longer think about or experience the divine in the same way; they had to develop new forms of faith to fit their new circumstances. Armstrong characterizes fundamentalism as one of these new ways of being religious that have emerged in every major faith tradition. Focusing on Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and Muslim fundamentalism in Egypt and Iran, she examines the ways in which these movements, while not monolithic, have each sprung from a dread of modernity -- often in response to assault (sometimes unwitting, sometimes intentional) by the mainstream society. Armstrong sees fundamentalist groups as complex, innovative, and modern -- rather than as throwbacks to the past -- but contends that they have failed in religious terms. Maintaining that fundamentalism often exists in symbiotic relationship with an aggressive modernity, each impelling the other on to greater excess, she suggests compassion as a way to defuse what is now an intensifying conflict.

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