Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals

Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals

by Jacques Berlinerblau
     
 
One of the most controversial books to come out of the academy in the last fifteen years is Martin Bernal's Black Athena. It has been a true cause celebre. Afrocentrists have both praised the book and claimed that Bernal stole from the work of black scholars to create his study of the Afroasiastic roots of classical civilization. Classicists feel passionately about

Overview

One of the most controversial books to come out of the academy in the last fifteen years is Martin Bernal's Black Athena. It has been a true cause celebre. Afrocentrists have both praised the book and claimed that Bernal stole from the work of black scholars to create his study of the Afroasiastic roots of classical civilization. Classicists feel passionately about what they perceive as an attack from an outsider on the origins not only of ancient Greece but of their own discipline. It seems that everyone has something to say about the book; the question is how many really understand it. In Heresy in the University, Jacques Berlinerblau provides an exegesis of the contents of Black Athena, making it accessible to a wider audience. As he clarifies and restates Bernal's opus, Berlinerblau identifies Bernal's flaws in reasoning and gaps in evidence. He cuts to the heart of Bernal's prose, singling out the key points of Bernal's argument, explaining and arranging them in a cogent manner. Berlinerblau addresses the critics' really important objections, including his own, and links each of them to the appropriate substantive argument in Black Athena. He goes beyond simple summary and exposition to present the underlying --stated and unstated--agendas of Bernal and his critics. Ultimately, he exposes both sides and asks what the flawed reasoning from all concerned reveals about the stakes in this key academic dispute and what that, in turn, says about the modern academy. Jacques Berlinerblau is an assistant professor and director of Judaic studies at Hofstra University.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Berlinerblau (Judaic studies, Hofstra U.) explores the reactions<-- >widely divergent but mostly intense<-->to Martin Bernal's 1987 publication of the first volume of In light of classicist reacting to an outsider's intrusion into their field and Afrocentrist accusation of stealing the material from black scholars, he considers the question of intellectual responsibility during an age of cultural warfare. He also elucidates the contents of the book itself. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813525877
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

Molly Levine
Heresy in the University is an exemplary act of adjudication-genuinely clarifying about matters that have so often been obscured by angry polemic; genuinely judicious in a way that only a very capacious, open-minded, and broad-ranging mind could manage; charming self-conscious about its own limits and yet quite passionate about its loyalties....An exemplary book. (Bruce Robbins, coeditor of Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation and author of Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress)

Berlinerblau's ability to integrate far-reaching serious scholarly and ethical issues within the substantive content of the Black Athena debate is impressive.

(Molly Myerowitz Levine, Howard University, coeditor of The Challenge of Black Athena)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >