Black Athena Revisited

By Mary R. Lefkowitz; Guy MacLean Rogers | Go to book overview

The old-fashioned chimerical concept of "race" is hopelessly inadequate to deal with the human biological reality of Egypt, ancient or modern. The study of clines or clusters alone cannot present a complete account, either. An assessment of both is necessary before we can begin to understand the biological nature of the people of the Nile Valley. Because the ancient Egyptians lived with this knowledge of themselves, they "did not think in terms of race" ( Yurco 1989, 24). For our own part, we should recognize how "presumptuous" it is "to assign our own primitive racial labels" ( Yurco, 58) to them or to anyone else. These not only prevent us from dealing with human biological variation in an adequate fashion, but they also lend themselves to the perpetuation of social injustice. The "race" concept did not exist in Egypt, and it is not mentioned in Herodotus, the Bible, or any of the other writings of classical antiquity ( Brace 1990). Because it has neither biological nor social justification, we should strive to see that it is eliminated from both public and private usage. Its absence will be missed by no one, and we shall all be better off without it. R.I.P.


NOTES

Reprinted, with revisions, by permission from Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 36 ( 1993).

For access to the collections mentioned in tables 2, 3, and 5 we are in debt to a large number of curators, collection managers, technicians, and others associated with their care. Most of these have been previously acknowledged ( Brace, Rosenberg and Hunt 1987; Brace, Brace and Leonard 1989; Brace and Hunt 1990; Brace, Smith and Hunt 1991; Brace and Tracer 1992). For additional material used in the present study, we are especially thankful for the help rendered by C. Duhig and G. Man at the Duckworth Laboratory, Cambridge University; D. L. Greene and D. P. Van Gerven of the Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder; A. E. Marks, F. Wendorf, and R. K. Wetherington of the Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; P. Bennike, Panum Instituttet, Copenhagen; B. Kaufmann, Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel; O. da Veiga Ferreira and G. Zbyszewski, Serviços Geológicos de Portugal; J. M. Cruz, Instituto di Antropologia, Universidade do Porto; C. Simon, Département d'Anthropologie, Université de Genève; J. Wahl, Landesdenkmalamt, and A. Czarnetzki, Institut für Anthropologie und Humangenetik, Tübingen; W Scheffrahn, Anthropologisches Institut, Universität Zürich, Irchel; A. Langaney and J.-L. Heim, Musée de l'Homme, Paris; J. Papadopoulos, Verroia, Greece; and R. J. Rodden, Saffron Walden, Essex, England. Valuable suggestions were provided by M. Bernal, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca. Partial support was provided by the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China ( 1980, 1985), by the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology Research Fund ( 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992), by the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation ( 1986), by Diana Blaban Holt ( 1987), by the National Science Foundation (BNS-8616298, 1987, 1988), by the Irene Levi Sala CARE Ar

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Black Athena Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Maps viii
  • Preface ix
  • Ancient Egyptian Chronology xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 22
  • Egypt 25
  • On the Aims and Methods of Black Athena 27
  • Conclusion 46
  • Egypt and Greece the Bronze Age Evidence 49
  • Black Athena an Egyptological Review 62
  • Notes 98
  • Race 101
  • Ancient Egyptians and the Issue of Race 103
  • Note 111
  • Bernal's "Black" and the Afrocentrists 112
  • Notes 128
  • Clines and Clusters Versus " Race" a Test in Ancient Egypt and the Case of a Death on the Nile 129
  • Notes 162
  • The Near East 165
  • The Legacy of Black Athena 167
  • Linguistics 175
  • Notes 203
  • Science 207
  • Black Athena, Afrocentism, and the History of Science 255
  • Notes 256
  • Greece 267
  • The World Turned Upside Down 269
  • Note 279
  • Did Egypt Shape the Glory That Was Greece? 280
  • Black Athena Vision or Dreams of Greek Origin 303
  • Historiography 331
  • When is a Myth? Not a Myth? Bernal's "Ancient Model" 333
  • Notes 348
  • Eighteenth- Century Historiography in Black Athena 349
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 388
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 392
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 394
  • The Tyranny of Germany Over Greece? 403
  • Bernal and the Nineteenth Century 411
  • The Bathwater and the Baby 421
  • Multiculturalism and the Foundations of Western Civilization 428
  • Conclusion 445
  • Quovadis? 447
  • Bibliocraphy 455
  • Contributors 505
  • Indexes 507
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