battling the gods atheism in the ancient world

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Battling The Gods

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 9780571279326
Genre : Religion
File Size : 23. 48 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 : 38. 77 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 : 21. 72 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 : 67. 48 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.

Democracy

Author : Paul Cartledge
ISBN : 9780199697670
Genre :
File Size : 52. 86 MB
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The 2,500 year story of democracy: how it has survived, how it has been practised, and how it has been imagined, from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century.

Ancient Greek Literature

Author : Tim Whitmarsh
ISBN : 0745627919
Genre : Literary Collections
File Size : 88. 48 MB
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In this book, Tim Whitmarsh offers an innovative new introduction to ancient Greek literature. The volume integrates cutting-edge cultural theory with the latest research in classical scholarship, providing a comprehensive, sophisticated and accessible account of literature from Homer to late antiquity. Whitmarsh offers new readings of some of the best-known and most influential authors of Greek antiquity, including Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Aristophanes and Plato, as well as introducing many lesser-known figures. Unlike conventional narrative histories, this volume focuses on the profound effects of literature within Greek society. Whitmarsh shows that literature, distributed via a range of social institutions, such as festivals, theatres, symposia and book production, played an important role in the legitimization – and challenging – of ideologies of gender, class and cultural identity. The volume also addresses the legacy of Greek literature: how the Victorian cult of Hellenism and its successors have structured the reception of ancient texts, and how and why the modern West has adopted the Greeks as its ancestors. This book will be important reading for undergraduates, in their first year and above, of ancient Greek literature and culture. All texts in the volume are translated, and no knowledge of ancient Greek literature is assumed.

The Cambridge Companion To Atheism

Author : Michael Martin
ISBN : 1139827391
Genre : Religion
File Size : 85. 91 MB
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In this 2007 volume, eighteen of the world's leading scholars present original essays on various aspects of atheism: its history, both ancient and modern, defense and implications. The topic is examined in terms of its implications for a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, feminism, postmodernism, sociology and psychology. In its defense, both classical and contemporary theistic arguments are criticized, and, the argument from evil, and impossibility arguments, along with a non religious basis for morality are defended. These essays give a broad understanding of atheism and a lucid introduction to this controversial topic.

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