Battling The Gods by Tim Whitmarsh

this book looks really good. we have a subscription to scribd, and they have the audiobook. Alas, no actual book, since i can read far faster than people can talk. Oh well, better than nothing.


Battling The Gods: Atheism In The Ancient World.

As an atheist seeing this book in the British Museum shop, I was very pleased to buy it! The author is a specialist on Ancient Greek literature, and has an engaging, bracing writing style. Although the subtitle suggests a general overview, in fact the book focuses on Ancient Greece in three phases (archaic, Hellenistic and Classical), and on the Roman Empire. The thesis of the book in fact is to show that atheism is not a post-Enlightenment social construction, rather one with a much longer history.

Much of the book is given over to a study of Greek religion and philosophy, pointing out the complete lack of centralisation, and the status of religion in typical Greek city-states. It’s fascinating stuff, deeply informed by the author’s understanding of Ancient Greek society, and by his grasp of sources in particular. A delight of this…

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