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

With Ancestor of the West, 3 individual French historians show the tale of the delivery 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 topic for somebody attracted to language, faith, and politics within the historic world."—R. T. Ridley, magazine of non secular History"In this available creation to the traditional international, 3 top 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 historical Mesopotamia, Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers a broader heritage of historical writing, and Jean-Pierre Vernant examines classical Greek civilization within the context of close to jap history."—Translation evaluation

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

Example text

This civilization provided itself with the means to set down, to commemorate, to indefinitely distribute, and therefore to deepen and continually perfect what the minds of its thinkers had discov­ ered and developed and what was expressed by its two languages, Sumerian and Akkadian. , not far from Mesopotamia, but not in Mesopotamia itself. I emphasized above how the bearers of that old civilization, the Semites, as well as their Sumerian teachers, seem to us to have been endowed, if not with passion and imaginative and verbal power, then with a great curiosity about things, like a need to discern them clearly, analyze them, compare them, understand them, put them in order and classify them, with true intelligence and clarity.

Moreover, each sign retained the common possi­ bility of functioning, as in the beginning, as an ideogram and of referring to things as such while at the same time being able to be used to evoke monosyllabic sounds that made up the words in the language. And since each sign was able as an ideogram to refer eas­ ily to several different objects (the foot to "walking, " to " standing up, " to "transportation"), each sign could concurrently, as a phono­ gram, refer to several corresponding syllables (du, gub, tum) .

He proposed the creation of a replacement for the strik­ ing gods, one capable of carrying out the same work with as much assiduousness and efficiency but who would never be able to de­ mand a change in status, as the divine strikers had successfully done. That replacement would be the human being: he would be assured intelligence and productivity through the presence in his body's raw matter of the blood of a second-level god who was sacri­ ficed for this purpose; and it would be impossible for him ever even to dream of being raised to the status of a god, since he was made of the same raw material-clay-that would one day reclaim him (a common expression in Akkadian for dying was "to return to clay") .

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