I notice that the author, of the review posted, very carefully avoids mentioning that G. M. James in his book says that Aristotle stole Egyptian books from the Library of Alexandria. A truly remarkable feat given that the library did not exist until after his death.3 Has for the rest of the piece please find below some comments on selected excerpts.
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.- Ancient Egyptian saying, wrongly credited to the Christian bible.
Is it or is it not in the Bible and if it is how can it be "falsely" attributed to the Bible?
Question: To what country do we owe our Civilization, Philosophy, the Arts and the Sciences? Answer: Greece.
Who is this "We" and who the hell says this?
Question: Who is the wisest man the world has ever seen?
Question: Name the world three greatest thinker of all times?
Says Who? and what about Jesus, the Buddha and Confucius.
Question: Who is the world greatest mathematician of all times, the [person] who invented the theorem of the Square of the Hypotenuse?
All in all a collection of Agitation Propaganda points and assertions designed to generate much heat and little light.
I have quoted from an encyclopedia, which is often defined as 'volumes containing collections of human knowledge.' You don't argue with an encyclopedia, do you?
Why Not? and I certainly do!
You will be adjudged CORRECT and RIGHT if you give the above answers in an examination. But actually, none of the answers are TRUE. Based on what we know of history, they are FALSE.
The greatest crime Europe committed against the world is the intellectual theft of Africa's heritage. Empires could be stolen, whole countries snatched and named after pirates rapists and swindlers. Palaces and monumental edifices destroyed could be rebuild. But when you steal a people's cultural patrimony, and used it to enslaved and insult them, you have committed unforgivable acts that border on the sacrilege.
I can think a few things more serious than alleged "theft" of intellectual ideas like, the slave trade and colonialism. Of course how can intellectual property be the collective property of a group and that use of it, borrowing it or being influenced by it can be theft?
More agitation propaganda and besides it is not true.
They go around the world with volumes upon volumes celebrating Greek this, Greek that. From their original abode in Europe to the real estate they stole from other people, they shouted on top-voice about how they single-handedly invented and sustained human civilization! Sororities are created at institutions of higher learning. 'Great thinkers' waxed lyrical and sentimental about 'Greek Civilization.'
More useless polemics, designed to create heat and not light.
The Egyptians have developed their systems and taught same to Initiates around the world long before the Greeks were allowed into the temples. It was only after the invasion of Alexander the Destructor (called the Great by western mythorians) when the temples and the libraries were plundered, that the Greek gained access to all the ancient books, on which Aristotle built his own school and his reputation as the wisest man that ever lived!
Lots of assertions and nonsense. Aristotle had established his own school more than twenty years before the conquest of Egypt by Alexander. And regarding the ideas that Alexander "ripped off", How he could have gotten his Politics, (a discussion of overwhelmingly Greek political systems) or his The Athenian Constitution from Egypt is beyond me. Most of Aristotle's writing are prior to Alexander conquering Egypt and of course there is little to no evidence that Aristotle ever went to Egypt. (he died in 322 B.C.E.)5
In the first chapter of his book, James masterfully destroyed the myth of a Greek philosophy. Pythagoras, the oldest of the so-called Greek-thinkers was a student in Egypt for several years. He was exiled when he started to teach what he had learned. Socrates was executed for teaching 'foreign ideas.' Plato was sold into slavery. Aristotle was also exiled. What we are asked to believed by western scholars was that these ancient Greeks were persecuted in a society that is sufficiently advanced in philosophy.
It is possible that Pythagoras went to Egypt although not likely. Regarding Plato he was not sold into slavery. Also Pythagoras was not the oldest of Greek thinkers that honour was given to Thales of Militus. What does the Greek persecution of Philosophers have to do with where the Greeks got their philosophy. The comment about persecution is pure polemics what does that have to do with anything? The French Philosophers of the Enlightenment were often persecuted and harassed also.6
On what basis do western scholars claim philosophy for Greece? Because the literature were written in Greece. As is still in existence unto today, most Orders prohibit their members from writing down what they learn. This explains why Socrates, as even the Encyclopedia Britannica admitted, did not commit anything to writing! The Babylonians and the Chaldeans, who also studied under the Egyptian Masters, also refused to publish those teachings. It is usurpers like Plato and Aristotle that brought into book forms all the secret teachings of Egyptian and claim authorship!
Mere assertion. Evidence please. Note the polemical flourish of describing Plato and Aristotle has "usurpers". I note that the touch that it was all oral saves the need to provide evidence.
George James pointed out the absurdity of this stance. The Hebrew scriptures, called the Septuagint, the Gospels and the Epistles were also written in Greek, why are the Greek not claiming authorship of them? 'It is only the unwritten philosophy of the Egyptians translated into Greek that has met such an unhappy fate: a legacy stolen by the Greeks.'
Maybe because specific works were specifically claimed to be the work of Plato, Aristotle etc. And maybe they wrote them! I note that Plato wrote dialogues about conversations that various people he knew allegedly had. I note that since the Greeks did not claim to have written the Septuagint it was because they didn't write it so that if they claimed they wrote something (i.e., a Greek wrote it) maybe they did.
This is not the only absurdities James pointed out in the book. Another instance: The number of books whose authorship is credited to Aristotle is simply impossible to be the work of one single man, even in our age when word-processing software makes writing a lot easier.
We know that a lot of Aristotle's books were lecture notes and he had students help him with projects. I note that Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books.7
We also have to keep in mind that Aristotle was purported to have been taught by Plato. Plato, as the books, show was a philosopher. Aristotle is still regarded as the greatest scientist of antiquity. The question thus beggared is how could Plato taught Aristotle what he didn't know himself?
Plato did teach Aristotle any evidence otherwise (i.e., that someone else taught him?) Excuse me but can't Aristotle have found things for himself?
'The aim of this book is to establish better race relations in the world, by revealing a fundamental truth concerning the contribution of the African Continent to civilization. It must be borne in mind that the first lesson in the Humanities is to make a people aware of their contribution to civilization; and the second lesson is to teach them about other civilizations. By this dissemination of the truth about the civilization of individual peoples, a better understanding among them, and a proper appraisal of each other should follow. This notion is based upon the notion of the Great Master Mind: Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' Consequently, the book is an attempt to show that the true authors of Greek philosophy were not the Greeks; but the people of North Africa, commonly called the Egyptians; and the praise and honor falsely given to the Greeks for centuries belong to the people of North Africa, and therefore to the African Continent. Consequently this theft of the African legacy by the Greeks led to the erroneous world opinion that the African Continent has made no contribution to civilization, and that its people are naturally backward. This is the misrepresentation that has become the basis of race prejudice, which has affected all people of color.
Lots of assertions backed by no evidence. Pythagoras went to Italy, not to Samos, to establish his school. Ionia was never a part of Egypt.9
All of these Ionians did not claim for themselves the glory of philosophy or the sciences. The Persians and the Chaldeans were also introduced to the Ancient Mystery Systems, yet they did not claim authorship. It was the Athenians - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle who usurped this African legacy and thereby distorted the reality of human history. What is quite clear was that it was Athens that those who taught the mysteries were persecuted the most until Alexander's time. We know with certainty that these philosophers were roundly persecuted by the Athenian Government for teaching foreign doctrines.
Any evidence? of course not.10
What is incredible about these 'Great Philosopher' is the total lack of any knowledge about their early lives. The world is asked to believe that these men who possessed all the super-natural abilities attributed to them had no education, no training, philosophy, mathematics and the sciences just came to them!
"Athenian impostors", let the useless, polemical insults fly! Has for not allowing them to write how convenient for G.M. James but of course our impostors get no credit for saving knowledge from obliteration. The stuff about Socrates is nonsense Socrates drank poison because he was tried and convicted for corrupting the youth, not to avoid telling secrets.12
A collection of assertions and insults about Aristotle. The "simple historical fact" is that there is NO evidence that Aristoltle was ever in Egypt or that he looted libraries (of written down information that was supposidly only past down oraly!?).13
The statement Greek philosophy was confined to the period 640-322 B.C.E. is simply false.14
This is mere assertion Philosophy seems to have flourished in Europer in the past few centuries despite constant wars. I could also give China in the Era of warring states (c. 600-221 B.C.E.)15
The Death of Socrates is one of the Cliches of the western tradition.16
More Agit-prop and so what how does this prove that Greek scholars did not write the books or make the discoveries atributed to them? Also Socrates new god was his personal "daemon" not a Egyptian deity. Oh and the story of Athens presecuting philosophers seems to be seriously exagerated. After all Athens attracted thinkers from all over the Greek speaking world.
The conquest of Alexander and the destruction of the Lodges and the libraries plus the edicts of Theodosius and Justinian suppressed the Egyptian mystery systems and the Greek philosophy schools alike, paving the way for christianity which is nothing but a badly mis-understood Egyptian religion.
"Impostors", more insults. Besides perviously our Author had said the Ionians were good guys unlike the evil Athenian three (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle). G.M. James shows no such thing except very vague alleged similarities.17
In these, the most important chapters, James concluded that the Greeks were guilty of plagiarism of the highest order.
Once again ideas are property of one particular group and of course the Greeks are guilty of "plagiarism", basically by mere assertion.
Chapter eight dealt with the Memphite Theology which 'is an inscription on a stone, now kept in the British Museum. It contains the theological, cosmological and philosophical views of the Egyptians. It has already been referred to in my treatment of Plato's doctrines; but it must be repeated here to show its full importance as the basis of the entire field of Greek philosophy.' p. 139. Here James show how portions of the philosophy of the Memphite Theology were assigned to the Greeks. This is a very important chapter as it throws enough light, not only on the whole argument of where the Greek got the ideas credited to them, but also about the true source of modern scientific knowledge.'
If the modern Nebular hypothesis credited to Laplace which holds that our present solar system was once a molten gaseous nebula is ever proven right, credit should go to the ancient Egyptians. Their cosmology is strikingly similar. They knew that the universe was created from fire. The Egyptian God Atum (Atom) together with his eight Created Gods that composed the Ennead or Godhead of nine, this correspond with our nine major planets. Atom, the sun God, was the Unmoved Mover, a doctrine which has been falsely attributed to Aristotle. Likewise, the injunction, 'Know Thyself,' was wrongly attributed to Socrates. As James pointed out, it was an inscription found on every Egyptian Temple. The Cardinal virtues, justice, wisdom, temperance and courage which was falsely credited to Plato owed their origin to the Egyptian Masters.
The idea that the world emerged out of swerling chaos is quite common. Again more vague similarities that G.M. James interprets as consistant with Greek thought, with little thought to providing a link to Greek thought. Oh and is our author asserting that the Egyptians knew of nine planets, (now eight since Pluto as been demoted)? If so our author as a serious case of woo.
In the concluding chapter nine, 'Social Reformation through the New Philosophy of African Redemption,' James wrote: 'Now that it has been shown that philosophy, and the arts and sciences were bequeathed to civilization by the people of North Africa and not by the people of Greece; the pendulum of praise and honor is due to shift from the people of Greece to the people of the African continent who are the rightful heirs of such praise and honor.
Open admission that this is designed to "steal the heritage" how revealing.
Yes I have and it is very bad book full of distorions, falsehoods and insults all for a very clear political purpose to which honesty and accuracy and simple good scholarly etiquite are sacrificied.18
1. James, G. M., Stolen Legacy, Philosophical Library, New York, 1954.
2. In the Hall of Maat at Here.
3. Snowden, Frank M. Jr., Bernal’s “Blacks” and the Afrocentrists, in Black Athena Revisted, Ed. Lefkowitz, Mary R., & Rogers, Guy, Mclean, The University of Noth Carolina Press, Chapel Hill NC, 1996, pp. 112-128, p. 121.
4. For early Greek philosophy see Kirk, G. S., Raven, J. E., & Schofield, M., The Presocratics, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983, Waterfield, Robin, The First Philosophers, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, Barnes, Jonathan, Early Greek Philosophers, Second Revised Edition, Penguin Books, 2001. The above books contain the surviving fragments of the pre-Socratics with commentary.
5. See Aristotle, The Politics, Penguin Books, London, 1962, and his The Athenian Constitution, Penguin Books, London, 1984.
6. See Footnote 4 for more detail on Pythagoras.
7. See Wikipedia Bibliography of Isaac Asimov Here
8. For Greek Philosophy after Aristotle see Long, A. A., & Sedley, D. N., The Hellenistic Philosophers, v. 1 & 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1987. See also Walbank, F. W., The Hellenistic World, Fontana Press, London, 1992, pp. 176-199.
9. Footnote 9.
10. For an evaluation of the idea idea that Athens routinely prsecuted philosophers and how very dubious the whole idea is see Stone, I. F., The Trial of Socrates, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1988, pp. 231-247.
11. Footnote 3.
12. Footnote 10.
13. Footnote 3.
14. Footnote 8.
15. Nivison, David Shepherd, The Classical Philosophical Writings, in Loewe, Michael & Shaughnessy, Edward L., The Cambridge History of Ancient China, Press, Cambridge, 1999, pp. 745-789, Harper, Donald, Warring States, Natural Philosophy and Occult Thought, in Loewe, pp. 790-884.
16. Footnote 10.
17. For more about these Ionian Philosophers see Footnote 4.
18. For more about Afrocentrism see Howe, Stephen, Afrocentrism, Verso, London, 1999. See also the essays in Black Athena Revisted and Lefkowitz, Mary, Stolen Legacy ( or Mythical History): Did the Greeks Steal Philosophy From the Egyptians? In Skeptic, v. 2 No. 4, 1994, pp. 98-103, Appiah, Kwane Anthony, Beyond Race: Fallacies of Reactive Afrocentrism, in Skeptic, v. 2 No. 4, 1994, pp. 104-107. For Why people believe strange stuff see Shermer, Michael, Why People Believe Weird Things, W. H. Freeman and Co., New York, 1997.