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Ancient models of thought
in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory

by Wim van Binsbergen

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Ancient models of thought in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory, examined by an Africanist anthropologist turned intercultural philosopher. Topics include the comparative historical analysis of geomantic divination and mankala board-games; a theoretical model of magic in Ancient Mesopotamia; an archaeoastronomical analysis of cupmarks as star maps and as a possible origin of mankala board-games -- stating the case for the view that Neandertals made stellar maps; and a detailed analysis of animal symbolism across three continents and five millennia

proceed to the Shikanda portal in order to access all other websites by Wim van Binsbergen: general (intercultural philosophy, African Studies); ethnicity-identity-politics; Afrocentricity and the Black Athena debate; Ancient Models of Thought in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory; sangoma consultation; literary work
also a highly sensitive in-site search facility is now available at the overall Shikanda.net portal homepage, covering all Wim van Binsbergen's sites in a single search action

Texts and topics in the present website:

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The astrological origin of Islamic geomancy

paper read at The SSIPS/ SAGP 1996, 15th Annual Conference: ‘Global and Multicultural Dimensions of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy and Social Thought: Africana, Christian, Greek, Islamic, Jewish, Indigenous and Asian Traditions’, Binghamton University, Department of Philosophy/ Center for Medieval and Renaissance studies (CEMERS), October 1996 (PDF)

Rupture and fusion in the approach to myth
Situating myth analysis between philosophy, poetics, and long-range historical reconstruction, with an application to the ancient and world-wide mythical complex of leopard-skin symbolism

paper read at the International Conference ‘Myth: Theory and the Disciplines’, 12 December 2003
University of Leiden: Research School CNWS (School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies), IIAS (The International Institute for Asian Studies); and NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)

abstract | full paper

The leopard's unchanging spots:
Long-range comparative research as a key to enduring patterns of African agency

slide presentation, Theme Group on Agency in Africa, African Studies Centre, Leiden, November/December 2003 (version short core group); later versions to be presented at the Round Table on Myth, Harvard University, Boston (USA), 7-8 May, 2004; and the International Conference on Agency in African History, African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands, 25-27 May, 2004

From an African bestiary to universal science?
Cluster analysis opens up a world-wide historical perspective on animal symbolism in divine attributes, divination sets, and in the naming of clans, constellations, zodiacs, and lunar mansions
ABSTRACT

Archaeoastronomy: Cupmark patterns,
palaeolithic star-maps, and mankala board-games
:
a detailed astronomical and archaeological argument to the effect that Neandertals made stellar maps

Diffusionism and ludology: geomantic divination and mankala board-games

much revised and expanded version of: Van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1995, ‘Divination and board-games: Exploring the links between geomantic divination and mancala board-games in Africa and Asia’, paper read at the international colloquium 1995: Board-games in Academia’, Leiden, 9-13 April 1995; a somewhat shortened and adapted version was published as: Van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997c, ‘Rethinking Africa’s contribution to global cultural history: Lessons from a comparative historical analysis of mankala board-games and geomantic divination’, in: Van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997, ed, Black Athena: Ten Years After, special issue, Talanta: Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, volumes XXVIII-XXIX/ 1996-1997, pp. 221-254

Magic in history: The case of Ancient Mesopotamia

van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1999, van Binsbergen, W.M.J., & Wiggermann, F.A.M., 1999, ‘Magic in history: A theoretical perspective, and its application to Ancient Mesopotamia’, in: Abusch, T., & van der Toorn, K., eds., Mesopotamian magic: Textual, historical, and intepretative perspectives, Groningen: Styx, pp. 3-34.

African witchcraft, virtuality, and the kinship order

van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 2001a, ‘Witchcraft in modern Africa as virtualised boundary conditions of the kinship order’, in : Bond, G.C., & Ciekawy, D.M., eds., Witchcraft dialogues: Anthropological and philosophical exchanges, Athens (Ohio): University of Ohio Press, pp. 212-263

Black Athena Ten Years After

Van Binsbergen, W.M.J., 1997, ed, Black Athena: Ten Years After, special issue, Talanta: Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, volumes XXVIII-XXIX/ 1996-1997, ISBN 90-72067-07-X, 272 pp; currently being reprinted in a greatly augmented and updated version as: Black Athena Alive, Berlin/Muenster: LIT

 

 

proceed to the Shikanda portal in order to access all other websites by Wim van Binsbergen: general (intercultural philosophy, African Studies); ethnicity-identity-politics; Afrocentricity and the Black Athena debate; Ancient Models of Thought in Africa, the Ancient Near East, and prehistory; sangoma consultation; literary work
also a highly sensitive in-site search facility is now available at the overall Shikanda.net portal homepage, covering all Wim van Binsbergen's sites in a single search action

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site established 7-4-99 with technical assistance from Vincent van Binsbergen; page last modified: 06-04-04 22:28:01