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Divination and Human NatureA Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity$
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Peter T. Struck

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169392

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169392.001.0001

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Divination and the History of Surplus Knowledge

Divination and the History of Surplus Knowledge

(p.1) Introduction Divination and the History of Surplus Knowledge
Divination and Human Nature

Peter T. Struck

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. It begins by discussing the practice of divination for many millennia and across the whole Old World. It then reviews bodies of scholarship on divination and make a distinction between classical Greek ideas of divination and the quite different phenomena of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible or the later development of apocalyptic literature. It then details the book's effort to work through evidence that positions divinatory knowledge within the classical thought-world in a way that is more or less analogous to the position of the modern concept of intuition. It also makes a case for understanding divination as more closely related to surplus knowing than occult religion.

Keywords:   ancient divination, divinatory knowledge, surplus knowledge, occult religion

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