Martin Bernal proposes a new model for examining the origins of civilization—
This model first occurred to him during what he calls a “mid-life crisis,” in 1975, during which time he became interested in his own ancestral roots and culture. This ultimately led him to construct a new model following his Eureka! moment when he realized that the font of civilization is buried in Egypt. He uses a variety of sources to craft his argument—many linguistic references—and borrows freely from Herodotus to support his thesis. Indeed, the title of his book is borrowed from inspiration he found reading Herodotus.
I am now on page 185 of his text, which is the first part of a trilogy, two volumes so far are in print, and I have taken a long pause, before I move ahead, mainly out of frustration with—not whom he credits as the font of civilization—what appears to be a quite conscious effort and vicious attack on the contribution of Ancient Greeks, not only reducing their influence to nil—so far, well, actually it’s kind of confusing—but using modifiers such as…
“Diodoros Sikeliotes, writing in the 1st century BC, expressed the same confusion, if not schizophrenia, on the issue of the ‘barbarians’ who civilized Greece near the beginning of his massive ‘Library of History’… ” page 110. (italics mine)
He is not exactly subtle.
However, as I have not completed the entire volume, I can only post briefly here what I have read so far. But there are several other such modifiers sprinkled throughout the text, which I will discuss more thoroughly once I have completed reading the full text.
In the meantime, I find these modifiers rather curious, and suspect, as well— And a bit of a departure from the noble intentions of the author to enlighten the world of thought about the origins of civilization. In doing so, he seems unable to resist trashing Greek culture.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how and what material is selected to craft and interpret History.
And, if you choose to read this book, then do so carefully, and with your eyes wide open.
(Sorry about the absence of the closure of the quote. It’s that WordPress thing I was talking about— Complicated.)
I now see that Bernal took the time to produce a volume where Black Athena responds to her critics. I can only say that I absolutely must read that volume. He has also completed all 3 volumes of his trilogy, so I stand corrected!