Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of California Press
Download PDF (91.0 KB)
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Download PDF (86.8 KB)
Download PDF (54.1 KB)
Download PDF (56.1 KB)
This is the book of the Sather Lectures that I delivered at the University ofCalifornia, Berkeley, in the fall of 2004. I shall therefore start by express-ing my very warm gratitude to the Berkeley Department of Classics, bothfor taking a chance in inviting me to be the ninety-first Sather Professor ofClassical Literature, and for its unfailingly generous hospitality and sup-...
Download PDF (64.5 KB)
The dining hall of my college—Christ’s College Cambridge—displays por-traits of its most illustrious alumni. One pairing is of unique symbolic value.On the left is William Paley (1743–1805), author of the classic version ofthe Argument from Design. In his Natural Theology (1802), Paley devel-oped his celebrated comparison of the world and its natural contents to a...
I / ANAXAGORAS
Download PDF (164.1 KB)
The earliest western philosophers were the dazzlingly original Greekthinkers conventionally known as the Presocratics—a line-up which in-cluded such heterogeneous figures as Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras, Her-aclitus, Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, andProtagoras. Our label “Presocratics” assumes that Socrates, who lived in the...
II / EMPEDOCLES
Download PDF (205.1 KB)
In my first chapter, I identified in the writings of Anaxagoras what I taketo be the first Greek manifesto of rational creationism. I concluded by sug-gesting that Anaxagoras’s own agenda was not essentially religious in mo-tivation, but scientific: to exhibit the power of intelligence when it oper-ates on matter to create the world is to uncover the irreducible dualism of...
III / SOCRATES
Download PDF (112.0 KB)
To clear the way for this chapter’s protagonist, Socrates, I must start by ex-plaining briefly why I do not believe that his approximate contemporaryDiogenes of Apollonia is of major significance for our story, as has some-times been thought. For Diogenes has been often credited with the earliestversion of (roughly speaking) the Argument from Design, that family of...
IV / PLATO
Download PDF (183.7 KB)
At the end of the previous chapter I noted how, long before he came to writethe Timaeus, a dialogue best dated years, probably decades, after the Phaedo,Plato was already planning to vindicate the teleological style of cosmologyof which his Socrates had approved but also despaired.1 I can now add thatPlato did not need to wait for the Timaeus. For at the end of the Phaedo it-...
V / THE ATOMISTS
Download PDF (155.1 KB)
So far in our story the creationists have made all the running, culminatingin Plato’s Timaeus, the ultimate creationist manifesto. Even if one factionof Plato’s heirs insisted that he had never meant to say that a discrete act ofdivine creation had ever taken place, this dialogue’s impact on such thinkersas Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, and Galen, with whom my remaining chap-...
VI / ARISTOTLE
Download PDF (183.5 KB)
Aristotle (384–322 b.c.) was Plato’s student for two decades before found-ing his own school. Is it more fruitful to think of his mature work as anti-Platonist, or as that of an independent Platonist? Although this age-old ques-tion does not admit of final resolution, I am convinced with regard to mypresent topic, the explanation of purposive structures in the world, that most...
VII / THE STOICS
Download PDF (174.1 KB)
The Argument from Design has come to be the most celebrated member ofa family of arguments aimed at demonstrating the existence of a creator god.Although I have now covered more than a century and a half of debate aboutcreation, from Anaxagoras to Epicurus, extraordinarily we have met only oneargument that might merit this title. Having eliminated the minor Presocratic...
EPILOGUE: A GALENIC PERSPECTIVE
Download PDF (67.3 KB)
The most notable absentee from my story so far is Galen, the greatest andmost lastingly influential doctor of antiquity, whose voluminous writingshave in large part come down to us. I cannot here aspire to do justice to thehuge contributions that Galen made to teleological argument.1 Instead, mymain reason for ending up with him is to invoke him as a commentator on...
Download PDF (93.1 KB)
Download PDF (321.7 KB)
Download PDF (268.5 KB)
Download PDF (19.3 KB)
Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Sather Classical Lectures