battling the gods atheism in the ancient world

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Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 9780571279326
Genre : Religion
File Size : 50. 67 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 : 9780307948779
Genre : History
File Size : 64. 87 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. 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. "

Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 9780307958334
Genre : History
File Size : 83. 93 MB
Format : PDF
Download : 541
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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 Evolution Of Atheism

Author : Stephen LeDrew
ISBN : 9780190225186
Genre : Religion
File Size : 40. 94 MB
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The concept of evolution is widely considered to be a foundational building block in atheist thought. Leaders of the New Atheist movement have taken Darwin's work and used it to diminish the authority of religious institutions and belief systems. But they have also embraced it as a metaphor for the gradual replacement of religious faith with secular reason. They have posed as harbingers of human progress, claiming the moral high ground, and rejecting with intolerance any message that challenges the hegemony of science and reason. Religion, according to the New Atheists, should be relegated to the Dark Ages of superstition and senseless violence. Yet Darwin did not see evolution as a linear progression to an improved state of being. The more antagonistic members of the New Atheist movement who embrace this idea are not only employing bad history, but also the kind of rigid, black-and-white thinking they excoriate in their religious opponents. Indeed, Stephen LeDrew argues, militant atheists have more in common with religious fundamentalists than they would care to admit, advancing what LeDrew calls secular fundamentalism. In reaction to fundamentalist Christianity and Islamism, this strain of atheism has become an offshoot of the religion it tries so hard to malign. The Evolution of Atheism outlines the essential political tension at the heart of the atheist movement. The New Atheism, LeDrew shows, is part of a tradition of atheist thought and activism that promotes individualism and scientific authority, which puts it at odds with atheist groups that are motivated by humanistic ethics and social justice. LeDrew draws on public relations campaigns, publications, podcasts, and in-depth interviews to explore the belief systems, internal logics, and self-contradictions of the people who consider themselves to be atheists. He argues that evolving understandings of what atheism means, and how it should be put into action, are threatening to irrevocably fragment the movement.

The Invention Of God

Author : Thomas Römer
ISBN : 9780674504974
Genre : History
File Size : 54. 31 MB
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Who invented God? When, why, and where? Thomas Römer seeks to answer these enigmatic questions about the deity of the great monotheisms—Yhwh, God, or Allah—by tracing Israelite beliefs and their context from the Bronze Age to the end of the Old Testament period in the third century BCE, in a masterpiece of detective work and exposition.

Ancient Religions

Author : Sarah Iles JOHNSTON
ISBN : 0674025482
Genre : History
File Size : 64. 81 MB
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Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. This collection of essays, drawn from the groundbreaking reference work Religion in the Ancient World, offers an expansive, comparative perspective on this complex spiritual world.

Panorama Of The Classical World

Author : Nigel Spivey
ISBN : 1606060562
Genre : History
File Size : 77. 71 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.

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