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Philosophy before the GreeksThe Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia$
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Marc Van De Mieroop

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157184

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157184.001.0001

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At the Time of Creation

At the Time of Creation

(p.3) Chapter 1 At the Time of Creation
Philosophy before the Greeks

Marc Van De Mieroop

Princeton University Press

This book examines how the ancient Babylonians approached the question of what true knowledge was. The ancient Babylonians left behind a monumental textual record that stretches in time from before 3000 BC to the first century AD. The system of reasoning the Babylonians followed was very unlike the Greek one, and thus that of western philosophy built upon the Greek achievements. It was rooted in the cuneiform writing system. The book focuses on one area and explores it in three structurally related corpora: epistemology as displayed in writings on language, the future, and law. This chapter considers the poem entitled Babylonian Creation Myth, which belongs “before philosophy,” the importance of the Sumerian and Akkadian languages to Babylonian hermeneutics, the Babylonian cosmopolis, the written and oral traditions of ancient Mesopotamian culture, and intertextuality of Babylonian texts.

Keywords:   knowledge, Babylonia, philosophy, cuneiform writing, epistemology, language, law, Babylonian Creation Myth, hermeneutics, Babylonian cosmopolis

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