The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies

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Skyhorse Publishing, Feb 7, 2012 - Art - 768 pages
This revolutionary study by the renowned classical philologist reveals the interplay of Greek and Indian thought at the roots of Western culture.

Thomas C. McEvilley’s magisterial work demonstrates that Eastern and Western civilizations have not always had separate, autonomous metaphysical schemes, but have mutually influenced each other over a long period of time. Examining ancient trade routes, imperialist movements, and migration currents, he shows how some of today’s key philosophical ideas circulated freely in the triangle between Greece, India, and Persia, leading to an intense metaphysical interchange between Greek and Indian cultures.

While scholars have sensed a philosophical kinship between Eastern and Western cultures for many decades, The Shape of Ancient Thought is the first study to provide the empirical evidence. Covering a period ranging from 600 B.C. until the era of Neoplatonism and a geographical expanse reaching across the ancient world, McEvilley explores the key philosophical paradigms of these cultures, such as Monism, Pluralism, and reincarnation, to reveal striking similarities between the two metaphysical systems.

Based on 30 years of intense intellectual inquiry and research and on hundreds of early historical, philosophical, spiritual, and Buddhist texts, the study offers a scope and an interdisciplinary perspective that has no equal in the scholarly world.

About the author (2012)

Thomas Mcevilley is Distinguished Lecturer in Art History at Rice University, where he has been on the faculty since 1969. The author holds a Ph.D. in classical philology. In addition to Greek and Latin, he has studied Sanskrit and has taught numerous courses in Greek and Indian culture, history of religion and philosophy, and art. He has published countless scholarly monographs and articles in various journals on early Greek poetry, philosophy, and religion as well as on contemporary art and culture. He has been a visiting professor at Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant in 1993 and has been awarded an NEA critic s grant and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism by the College Art Association. His other books include Sculpture in the Age of Doubt (Allworth Press). He lives in New York City.

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