Intellectual Vicissitudes: The Black Athena Debate
18 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2009 Last revised: 29 Jan 2012
Date Written: October 2, 2009
Historiography is at its best when the historian interpreting data stays within the limits dictated by the range of knowledge he/she commands. No historian should be so credulous to believe that they can get away with positing a thesis, no matter how plausible, on unconventional evidence outside their field of knowledge. Therefore, it is fundamentally important for the historian interested in the study of ancient history to either narrow the scope of his/her inquiry or acquire the necessary languages and other disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology and/or statistics to more effectively facilitate and engender a first rate historical analysis. These principles have guided my effort to grasp Martin Bernal’s methodological scheme and interpretation of evidence supporting his thesis outlined in Black Athena. This is not such an easy task since the breadth of Bernal’s argument is supported by a variety of academic disciplines. Hence, I have circumscribed this study’s scope to the business of critically presenting those conclusions that best represent Bernal’s overall view: that Egypt and not Greece was the progenitor of Western Civilization.
Keywords: Black Athena, paradigm shift
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