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

With Ancestor of the West, 3 individual French historians display the tale of the start 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 subject for somebody drawn to language, faith, and politics within the historical world."—R. T. Ridley, magazine of non secular History"In this available advent to the traditional international, 3 prime French students discover the emergence of rationality and writing within the West, tracing its improvement and its survival in our personal traditions. . . . Jean Bottero makes a speciality of writing and faith in historic Mesopotamia, Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers a broader historical past of old writing, and Jean-Pierre Vernant examines classical Greek civilization within the context of close to jap history."—Translation assessment

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

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So true was this that the system was even used, since before the middle of the third millennium, to write a dozen other languages that were all quite different from Sumerian and Akkadian, as well as from each other. And in the middle of the second millennium the same system was used, concurrently with the Akkadian language it was transcribing, as the instrument of communication for international diplomacy throughout the Middle East, including Egypt. Yet this must be repeated: it was a very complicated system, diffi­ cult to acquire and to use, to read and to write.

All the dead without exception went to that place together-this was their des­ tiny. There was no "judgment" to assign a different fate to each individual depending on the morality of his behavior during his lifetime; in the underworld the dead led less a life than a larval and torpid existence (like the " sleeping" cadaver), sad and melancholic, for all time. ,­ nation to death as well as the impossibility of imagining them "re­ turned to noth ingness, " an abstract and unimaginable notion. I have therefore not been wrong to suggest an intelligent image of the world as the distant source of our own.

Gauchet shows how human beings, at first deeply involved in the supernatural and the divine, whose existence and intervention, hu­ mans believed, explained everything around them, gradually be­ came detached from those beliefs, henceforth seeking only in the here and now the answers to the questions raised by the here and now, thus "disenchanting" their way of viewing things, cutting it off from the heavens, and, as we might say today, laicizing it. The ancient Mesopotamians, however lofty their civilization and lively their intelligence, had not yet disenchanted their world-far from it-they had not yet excluded from their intellectual constructs the constant intervention of those gods whose existence they felt forced to postulate, since without the gods humans lacked the ability to answer the infinite questions raised by the world and by occur­ rences around them.

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