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14+ obres 497 Membres 12 Ressenyes

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Tim Whitmarsh is Reader in Greek Literature at the University of Exeter.

Inclou el nom: Timothy Whitmarsh

Obres de Tim Whitmarsh

Obres associades

A Companion to Ancient History (2009) — Col·laborador — 34 exemplars
The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies (2010) — Col·laborador — 23 exemplars
The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies (2009) — Col·laborador — 21 exemplars
The Oxford Handbook of the Second Sophistic (Oxford Handbooks) (2017) — Col·laborador — 12 exemplars
Greeks on Greekness: Viewing the Greek Past Under the Roman Empire (2006) — Col·laborador — 11 exemplars
African Athena: New Agendas (Classical Presences) (2011) — Col·laborador — 10 exemplars
Classical Pasts: The Classical Traditions of Greece and Rome (2005) — Col·laborador — 10 exemplars
Classics and the Uses of Reception (Classical Receptions) (2006) — Col·laborador — 9 exemplars
Severan Culture (2007) — Col·laborador — 9 exemplars
The Author's Voice in Classical and Late Antiquity (2013) — Col·laborador — 6 exemplars
Epistolary Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature (2013) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Constructing Identities in Late Antiquity (1999) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Paideia : the world of the second sophistic (2004) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Readers and writers in the ancient novel (2009) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars
Philostratus (2009) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
The Limits of Ancient Biography: Genre And Technique (2006) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
Textual Events: Performance and the Lyric in Early Greece (2018) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars
Cultural Memories in the Roman Empire (2016) — Col·laborador — 3 exemplars
How to Do Things with History: New Approaches to Ancient Greece (2018) — Col·laborador — 2 exemplars
Classical antiquity (vol 29 no 2) — Col·laborador — 1 exemplars


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Whitmarsh, Tim
Cambridge University



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 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 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 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.
… (més)
booktsunami | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | 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.… (més)
mjhunt | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Jan 22, 2021 |
Really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy anything based on history.
AndreaWay | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Nov 15, 2020 |
Disappointing as most of the philosophers discussed didn't really seem to be atheists.
Robertgreaves | Hi ha 11 ressenyes més | Jun 21, 2020 |



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