“Philosophy Before the Greeks” by Marc Van De Mieroop

The Biblical Review

Marc Van De Mieroop. Philosophy Before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016, pp. 297, $35. 

*I’d like to express my gratitude to Princeton Press for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Renowned philosopher Georg Hegel was notorious for his Eurocentric approach to philosophy, dismissing non-western approaches to truth. Although his ideas are no longer universal, certain aspects are still prevalent in academics and scholarship. In a course at the summer school for which I TA, an instructor commented on the Greeks: “The Greeks were the first people to approach the world scientifically and develop a full philosophy” (paraphrase). Due to misunderstanding of ancient Babylonia and the intellectual reception of Eurocentric philosophy, within both specialized and general educations, such a comment is reasonable. So in an attempt to curb this tendency and provide ancient Babylonia with conceptual…

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