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Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (Oxford Scholarly Classics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
West's skill and sensitivity as a translator and interpreter is impressive, his command of such a variety of ancient languages and texts just plain intimidating. But he writes clearly and makes his points in a way accessible to students and non-specialists (though there is a fair amount of untranslated Greek, as was the custom a few decades ago).
Anyone interested in Presocratic philosophy needs to read this book--and not just for West's arguments for eastern influence, but also for his valuable and intelligent commentary on the texts themselves. West's study will also be of great interest to students of ancient cultural exchange and the history of ideas and religion.
It seems odd to me that some find fault with this book for the spirit and execution of its daring and groundbreaking explorations. West is anything but pedantic and anything but careless. Indeed, he is a fine example of that rarest of birds: the masterful scholar who is also a creative thinker.
His book was written at a time when many in academe still held to a fiction of ancient Greece as a self-created world sealed off from "foreign" influences. Perhaps a final relic of the colonial mentality, who knows, but something that had to be demolished. West's book was badly needed--a breath of fresh air and a foundation for much important work in the years to come. Its staying power is testament to the quality of his work. The fact that it's still an exciting and powerful read is testament to his genius. To paraphrase Heraclitus: One scholar is worth ten thousand to me, if he's the best.
(The best exposition on the interpretation of mythological tales can be found in de Santillana's and von Dechend's Hamlet's Mill Hamlet's Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth; along with William Sullivan's The Secret of the Incas The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time in which Sullivan applies von Dechend's and de Sanitllana's approach to mythologies with stunning results.Read more ›