Download e-book for kindle: Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World by Tim Whitmarsh

By Tim Whitmarsh

ISBN-10: 0571279325

ISBN-13: 9780571279326

How new is atheism? even if adherents and competitors alike this day current it as an invention of the ecu Enlightenment, while the forces of technology and secularism largely challenged these of religion, disbelief within the gods, in reality, originated in a much more distant earlier. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh trips into the traditional Mediterranean, an international nearly unimaginably diverse from our personal, to get well the tales and voices of these who first refused the divinities.

Homer’s epic poems of human striving, traveling, and keenness have been historic Greece’s in simple terms “sacred texts,” yet no historic Greek idea two times approximately wondering or mocking his tales of the gods. monks have been functionaries instead of resources of ethical or cosmological knowledge. The absence of centralized non secular authority made for a rare number of views on sacred concerns, from the devotional to the atheos, or “godless.” Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic variety of principles concerning the gods, targeting the colourful people who challenged their lifestyles. between those have been a few of the maximum historical poets and philosophers and writers, in addition to the fewer popular: Diagoras of Melos, probably the 1st self-professed atheist; Democritus, the 1st materialist; Socrates, accomplished for rejecting the gods of the Athenian kingdom; Epicurus and his fans, who proposal gods couldn't intrude in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata.

Before the revolutions of past due antiquity, which observed the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced through imperial may possibly, there have been few constraints on trust. every thing replaced, notwithstanding, within the millennium among the looks of the Homeric poems and Christianity’s institution as Rome’s nation faith within the fourth century advert. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in measurement and complexity, and gear used to be more and more focused in valuable capitals, states sought to impose collective spiritual adherence, first to cults dedicated to person rulers, and eventually to monotheism. during this new global, there has been no room for outright disbelief: the label “atheist” was once used now to demonize a person who in basic terms disagreed with the orthodoxy—and so it'll stay for centuries.

As the twenty-first century shapes up right into a time of mass details, but additionally, ironically, of collective amnesia about the tangled histories of religions, Whitmarsh offers a bracing antidote to our assumptions concerning the roots of freethinking. through shining a mild on atheism’s first thousand years, Battling the Gods bargains a well timed reminder that nonbelief has a wealth of culture of its personal, and, certainly, its personal heroes.

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The Baal of Mt. Amanus, in whom the Canaanites saw a supreme god. EI, the god of the Canaanite pantheon, was given the epithet Baal lJamon; later on, the epithet became a divine name, hence a divine being to be equated with Kronos or Saturnus. If the epithet (Olam, "the Ancient One," of Ugaritic and Phoenician texts is indeed an appellation of El, the Latin epithets Gerontis applied to Kronos or Senex or Saeculo (Frugifero) used of Saturn (Cross, Canaanite Myth, p. 25) represent the survival in the western Mediterranean of the early cultic formulae of the Canaanites.

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In Mesopotamia the Sun god Sham ash was portrayed on the stele of Hammurabi as a god of justice with the rod and the ring. Sham ash was the guarantor of the Code inscribed on the stele. 371, 423). 332, pI. 49). , p. 126). At Palmyra, Yarhibol was also depicted as a radiate figure, for instance, on the tesserae (see RTP IIB, II9, 120, 243, 245, and 246), on the reliefs of the Palmyrene (Inv. XII, 54, 56), and on the one (PI. X) found at Dura-Europos (Pagan God, p. IIO, n. 25; a good reproduction of this stele is also published in R.

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Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World by Tim Whitmarsh


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