“The pursuit of truth” – On Marc Van De Mieroop’s Philosophy before the Greeks (TLS 2016)

David Lloyd Dusenbury, “Beware of Greeks,” TLS. The Times Literary Supplement (2 December 2016), 26. A review of Marc Van De Mieroop, Philosophy before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia (Princeton 2016). An excerpt from the author’s typescript is copied below:

the-flood-tablet-of-the-gilgamesh-cycle-from-the-library-of-ashurbanipal-at-the-british-museum
The Flood Tablet of the Gilgamesh cycle, from the Library of Ashurbanipal – at The British Museum

Marc Van De Mieroop warns on the first page of his book that it would be “culturally prejudiced” to reject the hypothesis that gives him a title – that there is philosophy before the Greeks. He seems not to know it, but the question of philosophy’s Hellenic origin dates back to the Hellenistic period (if not to Plato), and the charge of prejudice is one that was leveled by anti-Hellenistic writers in antiquity. …

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