Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Idea of Knowledge in the Ancient World

Ten articles on the idea of knowledge as it was understood in the ancient world, as they were tweeted:

Nick Zacharewicz @NickSCZach (Jan 9, 2017)
"A great source if you're wondering how ancient peoples thought."

Divination in Antiquity (and the sense it made) #Telos #Divination #Sacrifce #immanence

To know about important things in the ancient world it was understood you needed to have insight into the mind of God. The process of gaining that insight involved the technique of divination, and the paying of due honour in the form of sacrifice.


'Whose right is it to make Gods?' The Idea of Being in Israel #Assyria #Israel #gods #images #idolatry #divinity

How can man make gods, and know the will of the gods? This was a live question in the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, and it is still a problematic notion. It is a main focus of my book The Sacred History of Being, and this is a chapter from it.


The Fifty Names of Marduk #An #Babylon #EnumaElish #Marduk #Mesopotamia #NewYearFestival 

How the gods were characterised in the New Year Festival liturgy in Babylon. The pantheon reflects knowledge of the Divine. A chapter extract from The Sacred History of Being.


A Metaphysic beneath Theology? 'The Divine and the Limit' #Janus #liminality

The Divine and its aspects does not have to be represented in the form of images, but can be represented in terms of abstract ideas (the end, the limit, the completed, etc).


The Esoteric Conception of Divinity in the Ancient World
 #Assyria #Limit #Reality

How knowledge of the Divine was understood and represented in ancient Assyria (this extract points to the whole article which appeared in the Ritman Library Newsletter for December 2015. The article is freely available).


Understanding Ancient Religion: Cultural Parallels, and False Narratives #Hindu #Rome #Janus #Religio #Temple

Is ancient religion in general about knowledge and observance, rather than belief? If the history of the meaning of the term 'religio' is explored, our modern understanding of it falls apart.


Mesopotamian Polytheism, and the cult of Monotheism: Knowledge and Belief in Israel #Israel #Mesopotamia #Politics

It is possible to read the emergence of monotheism in Israel as a prolonged theological and philosophical controversy, in which the nature of a deity without form, colour, and shape, similar in nature to ‘the one thing’ that we should look to, as referenced by Plato, is debated.


Post-Enlightenment Plato, and That Which Cannot Move. #Plato #Gottingen #Reality #Philosophy #Universe #gods

How we have misunderstood the real history and function of philosophy, which had its origins in the 'cultus deorum', and which was based on the idea that man should strive for an understanding of the Divine. Post enlightenment philosophy is about an understanding of the world apart from knowledge of the Divine.  Which is why the ancient world is so hard for us to understand.


How Egypt lost Philosophy - in 'The Sweet Song of Swans' #AncientEgypt #Gottingen #Philosophy #Enlightenment

Egypt used to be regarded as the home of philosophy and the knowledge of Divine things. Not any more. Extracted from the chapter 'The Sweet Song of Swans' in The Sacred History of Being, published in November 2015. 


Logic, Sophistry and the Esoteric in Ancient Education #Aristotle #Plato #Logic #Sophistry #Esoteric #Philosophy

Truth and fiction in the education of the young. Finding those who could think for themselves.

TY, May 5, 2016

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