Zhorova P.S. W. Burkert’s Historical and Philosophical Concept (Based on His Work “Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis”)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2017.3.2

Polina S. Zhorova

Postgraduate Student, Department of History of Philosophy,

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

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Miklukho-Maklaya St., 6, 117198 Moscow, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article examines the historical-philosophical concept of the famous German antiquity historian and philologist Walter Burkert. Within his concept the author examines the archaeological epigraphy, ritual and mystery side of Greek culture, religious philosophy along with works by historians, poets and philosophers for centuries. His work is focused on combining the universally recognized facts with the archaic finds, a religion that emerged in the Greek culture through the middle East and Persian influences. W. Burkert also offers to dispel the common perception of the Greek culture and to move away from the understanding of it as the “Greek miracle” indicating a balanced picture of the archaic period in which under the influence of the Semitic East the whole Ancient Greece culture began its unique flowering. Cultural hegemony was soon adopted in the Mediterranean. W. Burkert sees no reason to distinguish between the mythological cosmogonies of the Greeks from their Eastern predecessors claiming that they belong to a single family. It is also clear, though, that the presocratics are still    followed in the footsteps of Eastern predecessors what has been repeatedly demonstrated by W. Burkert through the analysis of ancient Greek texts. For example, he describes some instances of religious borrowing, for example, an important role of Persian influence on Greek religion. This, for example, “the possibility of a heavenly immortality” as  a reference to the  Zoroastrian tradition. No less important is also the trade relations with the Phoenician merchants, who were always considered by the Greeks as carriers of Eastern culture and the main suppliers of    imports to Greece from the East (the proof is the excavations in Al-Mina archaeological fund in the form of ceramics in Islands such as Kos and Rhodes, etc.). In more rational areas such as mathematics and astronomy where Greek borrowings through continuous and extensive contacts with the Middle East are, in general, irrefutable, we can see the reflection images of the natural world in theology. The author, overall, characterizes himself as a philologist studying the texts of Ancient Greece in an attempt to find historical, psychological and social explanation of religious phenomena that we face in our era.

Key words: prephilosophy, afrocentrism, eurocentrism, borrowings, early Greek philosophy.

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W. Burkert’s Historical and Philosophical Concept (Based on His Work “Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis”) by Zhorova P.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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