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The Adventure of the Human Intellect: Self, Society, and the Divine in Ancient World Cultures

The Adventure of the Human Intellect: Self, Society, and the Divine in Ancient World Cultures

Kurt A. Raaflaub (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-16261-2 April 2016 Wiley-Blackwell 280 Pages




The Adventure of the Human Intellect presents the latest scholarship on the beginnings of intellectual history on a broad scope, encompassing ten eminent ancient or early civilizations from both the Old and New Worlds.
  • Borrows themes from The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1946), updating an old topic with a new approach and up-to-date theoretical underpinning, evidence, and scholarship
  • Provides a broad scope of studies, including discussion of highly developed ancient or early civilizations in China, India, West Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Americas
  • Examines the world view of ten ancient or early societies, reconstructed from their own texts, concerning the place of human beings in society and state, in nature and cosmos, in space and time, in life and death, and in relation to those in power and the world of the divine
  • Considers a diversity of sources representing a wide array of particular responses to differing environments, circumstances, and intellectual challenges
  • Reflects a more inclusive and nuanced historiographical attitude with respect to non-elites, gender, and local variations
  • Brings together leading specialists in the field, and is edited by an internationally renowned scholar

Notes on Contributors vii

Series Editor’s Preface xi

Preface and Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Francesca Rochberg and Kurt A. Raaflaub

1 A Critique of the Cognitive‐historical Thesis of The Intellectual Adventure 16
Francesca Rochberg

2 The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: Revisiting a Classic 29
Peter Machinist

3 The World of Ancient Egyptian Thought 73
James P. Allen

4 On Speculative Thought in Ancient Mesopotamia 89
Benjamin R. Foster

5 Self, Substance, and Social Metaphysics: The Intellectual Adventures of Israel and Judah 105
Ryan Byrne

6 Ancient Greece: Man the Measure of All Things 127
Kurt A. Raaflaub

7 The Thought‐World of Ancient Rome: A Delicate Balancing Act 149
Robert A. Kaster and David Konstan

8 Self, Cosmos, and Agency in Early China 167
Lisa Raphals

9 Vedic India: Thinking and Doing 185
Stephanie W. Jamison

10 “Chronosophy” in Classic Maya Thought 198
Stephen Houston

11 The Word, Sacrifice, and Divination: Aztec Man in the Realm of the Gods 216
Guilhem Olivier

12 Night Thoughts and Spiritual Adventures: Native North America 239
Peter Nabokov

Index 000

"...a modern remake of the classic. ...Raaflaub has further raised the bar for the present volume, including chapters not just on ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel, but also on Greece, Rome, China, India, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and Native North Americans. ...A truly global work that will be a welcome addition to a range of intellectual history and World-Civ courses. excellent resource, well put together and comprehensive in all the right ways." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review