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Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient…
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Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2015; vuoden 2015 painos)

– tekijä: Tim Whitmarsh (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2551182,997 (3.83)8
"How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities"-- "How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities. Homer's epic poems of human striving, journeying, and passion were ancient Greece's only "sacred texts," but no ancient Greek thought twice about questioning or mocking his stories of the gods. Priests were functionaries rather than sources of moral or cosmological wisdom. The absence of centralized religious authority made for an extraordinary variety of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to theatheos, or "godless." Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic range of ideas about the gods, focusing on the colorful individuals who challenged their existence. Among these were some of the greatest ancient poets and philosophers and writers, as well as the less well known: Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; Socrates, executed for rejecting the gods of the Athenian state; Epicurus and his followers, who thought gods could not intervene in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata. Before the revolutions of late antiquity, which saw the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced by imperial might, there were few constraints on belief. Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity's establishment as Rome's state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label "atheist" was used now to demonize anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy--and so it would remain for centuries." -- Publisher's description… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:balcan
Teoksen nimi:Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World
Kirjailijat:Tim Whitmarsh (Tekijä)
Info:Knopf Publishing Group (2015), 304 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:criticism, history, Classical

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Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World (tekijä: Tim Whitmarsh) (2015)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
What I found especially fascinating about this book was the fundamental point that he makes about peoples attitudes towards religion. The idea of a single unified faith community is a mirage ..both in the ancient world, in the medieval world and in the modern world: there has always been a spectrum of faith, belief and unbelief. As the author says: "This book represents a kind of archeology of religious skepticism". And he is open about the difficulty of relying on ancient texts (which may or may not represent accurately the common way of thinking). To my mind there is a over-reliance on the greek Dramatists and interpreting their works. However, even given some doubts about these sources, Whitmarsh manages to amass enough evidence to bolster his point that skepticism about the Gods and religion is not a new phenomenon. It has existed for thousands of years ...even in societies with no background in rational thought or debate.
There is an interesting discussion about the introduction of Diopeithe's decree in the 430's BC...Whitmarsh calls him a religious crackpot but his decree has massive and long lasting impact. Up until this decree the Athenians were pretty tolerant of varying beliefs about the gods. But following the decree ...to be a good citizen you not only had to do right but to think right too. In a way, this intolerance about "right-thinking" has echoed down through the ages with religious bigotry and intolerance and justified all sorts of terrible pogroms and religious wars....especially after the 300's AD when Christianity gained the ascendancy.
Atheists, after this decree, ran very real risks of being condemned for impiety and disbelief in the gods. and one hears the echoes of this intolerance with Galilio being shown the instruments of torture...to help change his beliefs; and Charles Darwin being reluctant to publish his findings for fear of offending his religious wife ....let alone the rest of the establishment of Victorian England.
There seem to be many in the ancient Greek world who not only didn't believe in the riotous goings-on at Mt Olympus but who rejected the concept of gods altogether. And I take my hat off to them. Diogenes, the cynic, who, whilst one man was marvelling at a series of temple inscriptions put up by survivors of sea storms, retorted that there would have been many more if the the non-survivors had also left dedications. Whitmarsh also makes the point that, as a rule, polytheism...the belief in many gods....was infinitely more hospitable to unbelievers than monotheism. Under Christianity, by contrast, there was no good way of being an atheist. Atheism was the categorical rejection of the very premise on which Christianity defined itself. (I think Augustine of Hippo bears a fair bit or responsibility for this intolerance which has continued don through the centuries ...and probably held back western civilisation from intellectual development for about a thousand years).
I would have liked to have seen more about atheism in other societies (for example, Egyptian, Persian, Chinese, Indian). But the author explains that although China for example had its atheists and other places also, the best historical writings and materials were available for Greece ....hence his concentration on this state. Rome is considered in the latter part of the book and, in general, was fairly tolerant of all sorts of religions and non-believers until the formal adoption of Christianity as the state religion...and with it....as mentioned above...came those wonderful attributes of intolerance, persecution, and execution for those who did not profess the "right-beliefs".
Generally, I found the book quite fascinating ..though also mildly depressing ...especially the persecution of non-believers that is a recurring theme. I give it four stars. ( )
  booktsunami | Oct 18, 2021 |
This a really interesting book.
I would have rated it higher but I really struggle with these history books which are full of names and names and names and I can remember who anyone is and it all gets an it complicated. Sometimes the ideas got a bit lost in the detailing of events too, but I guess someone else might find this okay.

I didn't find it preachy or anything like that. Just a nice pile of thoughts and facts and commentary.
5 stars if I wasn't dyslexic and Greek memes weren't really hard to read and pretty confusing? I dunno, maybe. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy anything based on history. ( )
  AndreaWay | Nov 15, 2020 |
Disappointing as most of the philosophers discussed didn't really seem to be atheists. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jun 21, 2020 |
This is a very good history of ancient Greek society and the role of mythology. It also extends in the peak of the Roman empire. Unfortunately, there is little about the existence or role of atheism during this period. The author does an admirable job of trying to tease out references to and insinuation of atheism from the existing texts, but its pretty slim pickings.

( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 26, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 11) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
In this fine polemic, Whitmarsh rightly argues that the greatest debt the modern world owes to ancient Hellas is the freedom to question received beliefs. In his view, the persecution of freethinkers, scientists, and other such dangerous people was rare in antiquity; most Hellenes easily tolerated scepticism about their own religion. What he calls ‘atheism’ but I prefer to call freethinking has, he shows, a longer and more illustrious history than most of us suppose, and was crucial to the rise of modern science and society. Religion, his argument suggests, is not innate, but a human construct that can and should be subject to rational scrutiny.

His ambitious, provocative, and timely book deserves to make an impact like that of Stephen Greenblatt’s Swerve. Written for a general audience, it has enough of a historical armature that it should satisfy readers with no prior background. Seasoned classicists will find it radical and illuminating. However, like all good polemicists, Whitmarsh tells only half the story: he understates to what extent we owe to Athenian democracy the first violent reaction against freethinking. Culminating in Socrates’ execution, this reaction profoundly slowed the progress of science, invention, and human rights in the ancient and medieval worlds.
 
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Tiedot venäjänkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
To the people of Greece in these difficult times
Ensimmäiset sanat
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
Kirjan kehujat
Alkuteoksen kieli
Kanoninen DDC/MDS
Kanoninen LCC

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities"-- "How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities. Homer's epic poems of human striving, journeying, and passion were ancient Greece's only "sacred texts," but no ancient Greek thought twice about questioning or mocking his stories of the gods. Priests were functionaries rather than sources of moral or cosmological wisdom. The absence of centralized religious authority made for an extraordinary variety of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to theatheos, or "godless." Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic range of ideas about the gods, focusing on the colorful individuals who challenged their existence. Among these were some of the greatest ancient poets and philosophers and writers, as well as the less well known: Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; Socrates, executed for rejecting the gods of the Athenian state; Epicurus and his followers, who thought gods could not intervene in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata. Before the revolutions of late antiquity, which saw the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced by imperial might, there were few constraints on belief. Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity's establishment as Rome's state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label "atheist" was used now to demonize anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy--and so it would remain for centuries." -- Publisher's description

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