Black Athena Revisited

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

covered multiplied alarmingly. 78 This mistake, incidentally, was corrected by the aforementioned Karl Lepsius, thereby removing "the principal stumbling block which prevented the general acceptance and propagation of [ Champolllion's] system" ( Iversen 1993, 144). Also, Champollion mistakenly assumed that the language of the inscriptions was essentially identical with Coptic, the latest form of the Egyptian language ( Iversen, 144). Finally, the immediate fruits of hieroglyphic decipherment in terms of enlarged understanding of Egyptian civilization were not very great, and this too discouraged some Egyptologists. 79

Bernal may not like the direction Egyptology was taking or the ideological convictions of some of its practitioners during the second third of the nineteenth century. But he is not entitled to distort the history of a scholarly discipline for his own political purposes.


APPENDIX 3: BLUMENBACH ON RACE

Blumenbach recognized that, before unfolding his classificatory racial scheme, he must first prove that all human beings belong to the same species. Having rejected the criterion of hybrid fertility (which others, including Kant, had used) for defining species, he proposed to rely on morphological and physiological attributes. But this would only work when the attributes with respect to which the putative members of a species differ from one another could be shown to possess a genealogical connection. This connection he designated "degeneration" (Entartung), a process whereby an attribute can change in degree and in response to changes in the surrounding physical and cultural environment (including changes in climate, diet, and mode of life). What degeneration amounts to is an alteration in the unique "formative force" (Bildungstrieb) characteristic of each species. Blumenbach thought that these formative forces were analogous to Newtonian forces, and he believed that like the latter, they did not violate the tenets of empiricism. In the first instance, at least, degeneration would seem to possess no necessarily moral or psychological overtones. Using the notion of degeneration, then, Blumenbach formulated his criterion for species-membership:

We say that animals belong to one and the same species, if they agree so well in form and constitution, that those things in which they do [essentially?] differ may have arisen from degeneration [Entartung]. We say that those, on the other hand, are of different species, whose essential difference is such as cannot be explained by the known sources of degeneration, if I may be allowed to use such a word. ( De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa, [ 1795] 1865, 188)

-392-

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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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