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The Development of the Idea of History in Antiquity
     

The Development of the Idea of History in Antiquity

by Gerald Press (Editor)
 

An extensive scholarly literature, written in the past century holds that in ancient Greek and Roman thought history is understood as circular and repetitive - a consequence of their anti-temporal metaphysics - in contrast with Judaeo-Christian thought, which sees history as linear and unique - a consequence of their messianic and hence radically temporal theology.

Overview

An extensive scholarly literature, written in the past century holds that in ancient Greek and Roman thought history is understood as circular and repetitive - a consequence of their anti-temporal metaphysics - in contrast with Judaeo-Christian thought, which sees history as linear and unique - a consequence of their messianic and hence radically temporal theology. Gerald Press presents a more general view - that the Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian cultures were fundamentally alien and opposed cultural forces and that, therefore, Christianity's victory over paganism included the replacement or supersession of one intellectual world by another - and then shows that, contrary to this view, there was substantial continuity between "pagan" and Christian ideas of history in antiquity, rather than a striking opposition between cyclic and linear patterns. He finds that the foundation of the Christian view of history as goal-directed lies in the rhetorical rather than the theological motives of early Christian writers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This carefully written book is a valuable synoptic study for further research on the idea of history in antiquity." Review of Metaphysics

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780773510029
Publisher:
McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date:
09/10/2003
Series:
McGill-Queen's Studies in the History of Ideas Series
Pages:
176

Meet the Author

Gerald A. Press is professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York and the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy.

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