Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in by Jean Bottero, Clarisse Herrenschmidt, Jean Pierre Vernant,

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

With Ancestor of the West, 3 special French historians show the tale of the start of writing and cause, demonstrating how the logical non secular constructions of close to japanese and Mesopotamian cultures served as precursors to these of the West."Full of topic for someone attracted to language, faith, and politics within the old world."—R. T. Ridley, magazine of spiritual History"In this available creation to the traditional international, 3 best 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 historic Mesopotamia, Clarisse Herrenschmidt considers a broader historical past 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 resources for Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece

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We would be naive to imagine that the discovery of writing was made all at once, in an instant, the way one finds a pearl. " The history (the prehistory-what came before) of writing in Mes­ opotamia begins with a millennial artistic tradition: paintings on the sides of clay vases and engravings on the stone seals in common use throughout the region. Artists were not only accustomed to projecting and concretely fixing images, to composing small tab­ leaux intended, I won't say to explain, but at least to suggest some­ thing in the realm of feelings rather than that of clear vision; but they acquired mastery over drawing, learning to plan out and 20 JEAN BOTTERO sketch things in a few strokes: the big-bellied profile of a vase was enough to suggest that vessel, a stem with four shoots to portray the head of a grain plant.

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) . up ha nes; 25 of the scribes were rendered if not impossible, then at least reduced to a minimum. In this way writing was quickly formed into a logi­ cal, coherent, perfectly manageable system designed to materialize and set down in every detail everything that could be expressed through the spoken language.

Throughout the third millennium, writing, the use of which had gone beyond its original function as a simple accounting and "bookkeeping" aid-being employed much more widely and grad­ ually and extending to a growing number of literary genres involv­ ing poetry and prose-at the same time became capable of re­ cording everything that could be expressed by the language; writing had come a long way from its initial function of recording basic mnemonics. And writing was organized into a system that to us appears extraordinarily complicated.

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