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Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity Hardcover – January 16, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (January 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520253647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520253643
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sedley's argument is subtle and expert. . . . The brilliance of this book is that Sedley lets the Greeks talk to us and, surprisingly, we can understand what they're saying.”
(Nature 2008-03-13)

“The scholarly book [Sedley] has written is golden.”
(Jonathan Barnes London Review Of Books 2008-06-05)

“An exemplary study of Greek philosophy, sweeping in vision and exquisite in detail.”
(Alexander Nehamas Times Literary Supplement (TLS) 2008-06-20)

“An extraordinarily engaging book. . . . Bold.”
(Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) 2009-05-05)

“[An] authoritative study by the world's leading expert in the field.”
(Journal Of Hellenic Stds 2009-12-17)

“This is an important and timely volume.”
(Reports Of The National Center For Science Education 2011-01-27)

From the Inside Flap

"David Sedley's treatment of ancient views on intelligent design will transform our current thinking."—Thomas Johansen, author of Plato's Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias

"Creationism and its Critics in Antiquity has the qualities of a classic. Powerfully organised round an enthralling theme, it is singularly rich in execution. The author's unsurpassed command of his material is matched by the clarity, originality, and imaginative detail of his arguments. The book is as accessible as it is authoritative. It speaks to everyone interested in Greek philosophy, and very many of its readers will go back to it again and again."—Sarah Broadie, author of Aristotle and Beyond: Essays on Metaphysics and Ethics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By G. Korthof on May 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If one is interested in the roots of the Creation-Evolution controversy, this is the book to read. I suspected for a long time that theories to explain the origin of the world must have existed in Greek Philosophy, but I did not know any accessible introduction for the non-specialist. I am very glad that philosopher David Sedley openened up the world of Greek philosophy for all those who never dared to read Socrates, Plato, and Aristotles.
But Sedley did not write a general introduction to Greek philosophy. His unique focus is the origin and the nature of the world. He describes those ideas with modern concepts such as: 'creationism', 'design argument', 'Scientific Creationism', 'The origin of species', and 'atheism'. I wonder if it is anachronistic to use modern concepts to describe ideas of 2300 years old? I think the use of those modern concepts contributes unmistakably to the accessibility of Greek philosophers to us. They come closer to us. We recognize our own concerns with evolution and creation.

Is ancient atheistic theorizing relevant today? Surely, this is relevant and important, because it shows modern readers that explaining the world without invoking of gods existed more than 2000 years before Darwin! Darwin was not the first to propose a non-theistic ('atheistic') explanation of the origin of species.

Similarly, 'fine tuning' of the physical world is not a modern invention. We find it in Greek philosophy 300 years BC. The examples of 'design' are marvelous. I recommend the book if only for the beautiful examples of fine tuning.

From now on, teaching the theory of evolution to the public should start with David Sedley's 'Creationism and its critics in Antiquity'.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Sid Vogel on July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who knew those ancient Greeks could be so smart? The more I learn about this ancient race of people the more amazed I am. How could they think so clearly, how could they be so smart? How did they discover geometry, how did they calculate the circumference of the world and the distance to the sun? Maybe they were placed here by some master race in space? All this time I have been raised thinking Darwin was the Father of Evolution, and now I think he was simply a very successful plagiarizer. We find out from this book that the ancients beat him by thousands of years asking the same questions concerning the development of life, and some of them coming to the same conclusions he did, and even providing better evidence for their arguments. This is a book for anyone interested in the debate between Intelligent Design and Evolution. Who knew this debate has been going on since the dawn of civilization, and, miracles upon miracles, we have the written material that has been handed down to us to be able to follow those great debates, thanks to meticulous and serious scholars like David Sedley. This book is excellent, well written, easy to follow, well documented and very, very interesting to anyone who is interested in these debates. Now I know why Darwin was so reluctant to publish, he had been researching all the work of the ancients, and probably did not really think he had much new to offer. Had not Alfred Russel Wallace threatened to publish his discovery of the Laws of Natural Selection before Darwin went to press, Darwin might never have published his master piece. Darwin knew what most others did not know, he was simply restating an argument that had been made by the ancients thousands of years before, and he did not really even provide any more supporting evidence for his idea.Read more ›
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