The Adventure of the Human Intellect [Hardback]

Kurt A. Raaflaub (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781119162551 | Published by: Wiley-Blackwell | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 296p,

The Adventure of the Human Intellect


In 1946, a series of lectures by scholars affiliated with the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute were assembled into a volume titled The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man. The lectures explored themes of intellectual history and the development of abstract reasoning among the Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Hebrews. In The Adventure of the Human Intellect, fourteen scholars, led by editor Kurt A. Raaflaub, engage with the themes of that nearly seventy year old volume to bring its ideas into the twenty-first century. This work offers a new appraoch to an old debate about the beginnings of intellectual history and rational thinking, bring to bear modern theoretical approaches, up-to-date evidence, and the results of recent scholarship. The work is broader in scope than the 1946 original, including a discussion of civilizations from both the Old and New Worlds. It examines the worldviews 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, and illuminates a wide array of responses to particular environments, circumstances and challenges. The Adventure of the Human Intellect focuses on ancient responses to widely differing conditions, as they manifest in social practices and cultural products, and in which relationships between religions, science, cosmology, and politics are permeable.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Francesca Rochberg and Kurt A. Raaflaub
1 A Critique of the Cognitivehistorical 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 ThoughtWorld 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

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