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Black Athena: Ten Years After: book announcement --
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Black Athena: Ten Years After

Edited by: Wim M.J. van BINSBERGEN

ISBN: 90-72067-07-X / ISSN: 0165-2486
Dfl.98/Euro 45/US$50 (ex. VAT/BTW) (postage not included)


Jan Stronk & Maarten de Weerd, 'Preface', p. 5
Wim van Binsbergen, 'Black Athena ten years after: Towards a constructive re-assessment', p. 11
Martin Bernal, 'Responses to Black Athena: General and linguistic issues', p. 65
Jan Best, 'The ancient toponyms of Mallia: A post-Eurocentric reading of Egyptianising Bronze Age documents', p. 99
Wim van Binsbergen, 'Alternative models of intercontinental interaction towards the earliest Cretan script', p. 131
Arno Egberts, 'Consonants in collision: Neith and Athena reconsidered', p. 149
Martin Bernal, 'Response to Arno Egberts', p. 165
Josine H. Blok, 'Proof and persuasion in Black Athena I: The case of K.O. Muller', p. 173
Martin Bernal, 'Response to Josine Blok', p. 209
Wim van Binsbergen, 'Rethinking Africa's contribution to global cultural history: Lessons from a comparative historical analysis of mankala board-games and geomantic divination', p. 219
Note on contributors, p. 253
General index, p. 255

What prompted a successful Sinologist - British-born Martin Bernal, from Cornell University, USA - specialising in modern Chinese intellectual history, to turn in mid-career to the intellectual and religious history of the Eastern Mediterranean basin? Why did he set out to rewrite two millennia of European intellectual history, exposing the eighteenth-century rise of Altertumswissenschaft as a critical phase in the collective, Eurocentric denial of what Bernal calls the 'Afroasiatic roots of European civilisation'? How could his multi-volume book Black Athena (1987, 1991) create havoc - in the form of a heated and protracted, international debate - in the fields of African Studies, ancient history, classical archaeology, Egyptology, comparative linguistics, the history of ideas, and human biology? How could Martin Bernal become a hero of militant African American intellectuals identifying as Afrocentrist? Why did this condemn him to the hatred of conservative white American classicists and historians of ideas? Why was he tempted to overplay his hand? What errors did he commit in the fields of epistemology, historiography and historical linguistics? Why, yet, is Martin Bernal largely right - if often for the wrong reasons?

With the publication, in 1996, of the devastatingly critical Black Athena revisited (eds. Mary Lefkowitz & Guy MacLean Rogers) the impression was created that the Black Athena thesis had been conclusively refuted.

However, the present collection - the product of prominent Dutch scholars in passionate and often extremely critical debate with Martin Bernal - seeks to restore the balance. Bernal himself has contributed three innovative and illuminating pieces to the collection, systematising his linguistic claims, and for the first time applying the Black Athena thesis to sub-Saharan Africa.

By offering answers to the above questions, the collection takes the international debate to the next, constructive phase. It shows that incisive and multifaceted criticism of Bernal's position and methods is necessary and often justified. Yet the editor's overall conclusion is that we should not throw away the baby with the bath water. At the eve of the 21st century, the formulation of a non-Eurocentric, multicentric model of global cultural history - a model, also, that will inform and inspire our global future - is of vital importance. It is here that Martin Bernal shows the way as none before him. Specifically his vision's implications for sub-Saharan Africa constitute a major intellectual challenge. Stressing massive intercontinental interactions and vital global contributions of the African peoples, they also invite us to redress the present-day negative image of Africa.

The collection Black Athena: Ten Years After is published by the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, at the retail price of Dfl.98/Euro 45/US$50 (ex. VAT/BTW) (postage not included)

Black Athena: Ten Years After (Wim van Binsbergen, ed.):

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go to Wim van Binsbergen's website on Afrocentricity and the Black Athena debate

procedez vers la site-toile francophone/anglophonede Wim van Binsbergen sur l'Afrocentricite et le debat sur Black Athena

page last modified: 07-01-03 10:00:18