Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.04.05

Mary Lefkowitz, Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. New York: New Republic and Basic Books, 1996. $24.00. ISBN 0-465-09837-1.

Reviewed by Martin Bernal, Cornell University.

Response to this review by Mary Lefkowitz

When Mary Lefkowitz first encountered Afrocentrism in 1991, she was appalled. She discovered that there were people writing books and teaching that Greek civilization had derived from, or had even been "stolen" from Egypt. They were making claims that the Ancient Egyptians were black, as were Socrates, Cleopatra, and other important cultural figures in the Ancient World. They maintained that Greece had been invaded from Africa in the Middle of the 2nd millennium, that Greek religion and mystery systems were based on Egyptian prototypes and that what was called "Greek" philosophy was in fact the secret wisdom of Egyptian lodges of a Masonic type. She also discovered that these arguments were being supported by gross errors of fact, such as the idea that Aristotle had plundered the Egyptian library at Alexandria as a basis for his own massive philosophical and scientific writings. In fact, of course, the library at Alexandria was founded by Macedonian Greeks at least 30 years after Aristotle's death.

If Mary Lefkowitz knew that this was all fantasy and did not conform to the facts as painstakingly assembled by modern classicists and ancient historians, why did she bother to confront it at all? She explains that it was because Afrocentric literature was widely read and that it was being taught, not merely in a number of school districts but also in some universities. Furthermore, when she had attempted to question Afrocentric speakers on her own campus (Wellesley) she had been rudely rebuffed. Even worse, when she appealed to colleagues for help they often failed to support her. Their ostensible grounds for this reluctance was the relativist position that as all history is fiction, there was room for many different stories. Thus, for them Afrocentrist history was no less true than the classicists' version of the roots of Greek civilization. However, Mary Lefkowitz believes that another and more significant reason why her colleagues let her down, was the fear of being labeled as racist.

She sees the Afrocentrists as living in a sealed off intellectual ghetto, impervious to outside information, where they pay no attention to the truth of their propositions but are purely concerned with the "feel good" factor and boosting the low self-esteem of African-Americans. While she has some respect for this motive, she denies that it has any place in the writing and teaching of history which must always remain objective. Thus, she has felt obliged to stand up and be counted against what she sees as the Afrocentrist assault on the basic principles of education, respect for the facts, logical argument and open debate.

For this reason, she wrote a series of overlapping articles on these "myths". This book is a compilation from these with added material and argument. Its purpose is to expose Afrocentric absurdities once and for all, but its length is required because their demolition has turned out to be rather more complicated than she first supposed.

Before going any further, I should like to look at what is meant by "Afrocentrism." As Mary Lefkowitz points out, the term was invented by Molefi Asante, who sees it as a way to escape Eurocentrism and its extensions, by looking at the world from an African standpoint. Since then, the label "Afrocentrist" has been attached to a number of intellectual positions ranging from "All good things come from Africa," or as Leonard Jeffries puts it: "Africa creates, Europe imitates," to those, among whom I see myself, who merely maintain that Africans and peoples of African descent have made many significant contributions to world progress and that for the past two centuries, these have been systematically played down by European and North American historians.

Mary Lefkowitz dislikes the whole gamut. She swipes at Frederick Douglass, Edward Blyden and W.E.B. Du Bois for maintaining that African Americans shared a common African heritage with Ancient Egypt. However, her principal objection is to the 20th century group that some African-Americans refer to as "Nilocentric," because of its relative neglect of other African regions and civilizations, and its focus on the Nile Valley and Egypt. I too am included in her attacks but her rogues' gallery consists of John Henrik Clark, Cheikh Anta Diop, Yosef Ben-Yochannan and above all George G.M. James.1

That Afrocentrists should make so many mistakes is over-determined. They have the sense of being embattled in a hostile world and of possessing an absolute and general truth, which makes one have less concern about details. More important than these reasons, however, are the extraordinary material difficulties they have faced in acquiring training in the requisite languages, in finding time and space to carry on research, money to buy books or even gain access to libraries, let alone finding publishers who could provide academic checks and competent proof readers. None of these difficulties applies to Mary Lefkowitz, who has been thoroughly educated in Latin and Greek (though not in Ancient Egyptian), has for many years been tenured at a rich college and has received financial grants from massive foundations in order to write her attacks on Afrocentrism. That Professor Lefkowitz should make so many factual errors is much more intriguing.

For instance: Pelops was not, as she writes (p. 13), the legendary founder of Argos. His activities in Greece were focused on Elis and Pisa not the Argolid. She states that hieroglyphics were deciphered in 1836 (p. 35). In fact, Champollion, the man who deciphered them, had died in 1831. The dates generally given for the decipherment are 1821-2, when he made the breakthrough or 1824 when he published his Precis du systeme hieroglyphique ... She writes that the theory that the Nile flood is the result of snow melted by South Winds "was not far from the truth" (p. 77). In fact, it is false and, as the great Greek scientist Eudoxos realized, it was the result of rains in Ethiopia.

We are all capable of this kind of sloppiness and such errors are relatively trivial and harmless. Other mistakes are less innocent. For instance, she says that Eudoxos was supposed to have gone to Egypt when it was under Persian domination. Mary Lefkowitz is virtually alone in doubting that he did go, and it is also generally agreed that he went in the 380s or 370s BC when Egypt was independent.2 This error too might seem to be simply the result of her slapdash approach. However, the mistake helps her general case that the Ancient Greeks knew very little about Egypt, by suggesting that Eudoxos did not visit Egypt but that if he did, his knowledge of it would somehow have been obscured by Persian rule or, as she puts it, it "might have presented serious difficulties" (p. 79).

A more substantial and significant error is her statement on (p. 6): "Since the founding of this country (the USA), ancient Greece has been intimately connected with the ideals of democracy." In fact, the very source she cites, states something very different:

... in 1787 and 1788 the Anti-federalists did not have a classical leg to stand on. There was no tradition of representative democracy to which they could appeal, and direct democracies like Athens, bore the stigma of instability, violence, corruption and injustice ... (such) that even many friends of democracy in America avoided using the word. Like the advocates of mixed government, they used the word "republic ..."3
Mary Lefkowitz's sloppiness here might seem inconsequential, but in fact, it serves a very important purpose in her general argument. It is the implication that one cannot have freedom or democracy without a respectful awareness of ancient Greece, and that there has been a continuous flame of such reverence that can only be doused at our peril. Therefore -- she implies -- the Afrocentrists are enemies of freedom.

This suggestion is untenable even within the Western tradition. The English "Revolution" of the 17th century relied on the anti-royalist aspects of the Bible and myths of Saxon freedom, while the American and French revolutions of the 18th century took Republican Rome as a model. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that since the 1820s, the images of ancient Greece, and Athens in particular, have usually served a positive function. On the other hand, ante-bellum Southern writers used Ancient Greece and Athens to demonstrate the political and cultural benefits of slavery.4 And today, extreme conservatives with whom -- as we shall see -- Mary Lefkowitz is intimately connected, are using images of ancient Greece for their own political agendas.

Another type of error found in Not Out of Africa comes from the author's discovering what she wants and then failing to check further. For example, referring to the information Egyptian priests gave to the writer Diodoros of Sicily in the 1st century BC, she writes of their claims of Egyptian influence on Greece and adds that:

"these included many Egyptian customs in their laws." He does not say what exactly these laws might have been; presumably no one really knew. The idea that early Greek law was inspired by Egyptian law is a historical fiction (p.75).5
On the following page, she repeats the charge that Diodoros lacked specific information. The passage she cited was from Diodoros I.98.2. If she had gone back to I.77.5 she would have seen that Diodoros (or his informants) had specified that Solon had adopted an Egyptian law according to which everybody had to declare the source of their income.6 In I.79.3 Diodoros specified yet another Solonic law supposed to derive from Egypt, his famous seisachtheia "shaking off of debts" according to which a man could not be imprisoned or enslaved for debt. Whether or not Diodoros' claims are correct -- the last has been treated seriously in the 20th century, though there are chronological problems -- they are clearly specific.7 It is clear that in her eagerness to discredit Diodoros as vague and unspecific she failed to see, or at least to note, references that would weaken her case.

I find it flattering that Mary Lefkowitz sometimes prefers to attack claims that I do not make to ones that I do. For an instance of the former class, there is her belief that I derive the Greek word hikesios "suppliant" from the Egyptian HK3 h3st "chieftains of foreign hill country," later known to the Greeks as Hyksos. These people invaded Egypt from the North East, in the 18th century BC and some of them may have gone on to the Aegean. In fact, I make no claim about the etymology of Hiko or hikneomai from which hikesios would appear to be derived. What I do say is that there was a punning relationship between Hyksos and hikesios and that the Egyptian name may have been the basis of Hikesios as the specific local title of the god Zeus.

Where she attacks claims that I do make, she does precisely what she accuses the Afrocentrists of doing: she selects her evidence rejecting data that does not support her arguments. For instance, she admits the "ingenuity" of my proposal that the name Athena derives from the Egyptian Ht Nt, the religious name of the city of Sais, the center of the cult of the virgin goddess Neit. Furthermore, she provides no alternative, nor does she question the phonetics of my proposed etymology. Nevertheless, she rejects it because of what she sees as dissimilarities between the two goddesses (p. 65). The outline of the evidence for the etymology, which I shall present in more detail in volume III, is set out in volume I (pp. 51-52). In this, I make it clear that Plato too identified the two goddesses, that there was strong iconographic or pictorial evidence linking them, and that a derivation from Ht Nt would explain the double use of the name for the goddess and her city.

Why should Mary Lefkowitz make so many slips and use so many slippery arguments, when she does not have the excuses of many Afrocentrists of lacking training and resources? One reason is that although more than four years have passed since 1991, the book was obviously written in a hurry. It still shows signs of its origin in the cobbling together of articles written with passionate urgency for the popular and semi-popular press, with a few academic excursions. Nevertheless, I am convinced that this is less significant than the impact of two other factors, which, interestingly, she shares with the extreme Afrocentrists. The first of these is her conviction that she possesses an absolute general truth that allows her to be cavalier with specifics. The second is that she and her allies feel besieged and therefore they sometimes feel obliged to abandon the niceties of open academic debate.

Her general truth is that Greece did not derive any significant part of its civilization from Egypt. In this, she not only flies in the face of Greek and Roman tradition but even goes further than most of her classicist colleagues. For instance, she is extremely doubtful that Plato ever went to Egypt because, she maintains, references to the visit only appear in the late Hellenistic period (1st century BC). However, according to recent scholarship on the issue, the tradition of the journey goes back to Speusippos, Plato's nephew and his successor as head of the Academy.8 Similarly, Mary Lefkowitz challenges 19th and 20th century classical scholarship when she says that:

Every English translation [of Herodotos II 43.2] that I know of says that Heracles was descended distantly "from Egypt." But the translation is incorrect. Herodotos is talking about Aegyptus the man rather than Aigyptos the country (p. 25).
Her grounds for this defiance of conventional wisdom are that all the earlier scholars have mistranslated the preposition apo, which according to her, in this context can only mean "descent from" and "If he had meant Egypt the country he would have written ek" (p.181). There are three reasons why all the translators preferred Egypt to Aigyptos. The first is that no mythographer associated Lynkeus the sole surviving son of Aigyptos with either -- let alone both -- of Herakles' parents.9 Secondly, there was no point in making any distinction, because Danaos' twin brother, the legendary Aigyptos was supposed to have come directly from Egypt. The third reason is that the earlier scholars were not concerned by Herodotos' use of apo here. Mary Lefkowitz exaggerates the difference between it and ek. There are scores if not hundreds of instances of Herodotos' having used apo in its original sense of "motion from or out of". The phrase ap' Aigyptou itself appears twice a few chapters later in the lines, Melampos brought into Greece things that he had learned in Egypt, and "The names of nearly all the gods came to Greece from Egypt."10

Mary Lefkowitz's far fetched claim here can easily be explained in terms of her eagerness to separate Greece from Egypt and the desire to use her knowledge of language to intimidate the Afrocentrists. It does not cast doubt on Mary Lefkowitz's knowledge of Greek and Latin. On the other hand, while she knows these languages, she does not know much about linguistics and she has virtually no understanding of language contact, which is the relevant field when looking at the relations between Egypt and Greece. For instance, she writes:

Once they were able to read real Egyptian ... it became clear to them that the relation of Egyptian to Greek culture was less close than they imagined. Egyptian belonged to the Afroasiatic family while Greek was an Indo-European language, akin to Sanskrit and European languages like Latin (pp. 57-8).
The family relationships are undoubtedly correct, but to my knowledge, no Afrocentrist has ever argued that there was a genetic relationship between Egyptian and Greek. What they and I maintain is that Ancient Egyptian culture had a massive impact on that of Greece and that this is reflected in a substantial number of Egyptian names loan words in Greek.11 Mary Lefkowitz does not seem to realize that lexical loans primarily reflect contemporary contacts, not past genetic relationships. For example, while Chinese is even more distant genetically from Korean and Japanese than Egyptian and Semitic are from Greek, Korean and Japanese are filled with Chinese loan words.12

At another point she writes:

Vague similarities do not prove any connection between words. The sound qualities of vowel consonants alike change when words are assimilated from one language to another, and even loan-words are transformed: for example, the Latinized Greek word episcopus becomes bishop in the mouths of Saxon converts in the 9th century A.D. (pp.23-4)13

The last clause may impress her readers with her learning, but in fact, it undermines her basic argument. If words as apparently dissimilar as episcopus and bishop can be related, it shows that given semantic parallels, "vague similarities" should be taken into account. Furthermore, the net must be cast still more widely when, as is the case with Egypt and Greece, contact between two cultures has been carried on for many thousands of years and there will be many different phonetic correspondences.

She goes on to say that: "Linguists have long since noted the relatively few words of Egyptian origin that have made their way into Greek." She does not mention that over half of the basic Greek vocabulary cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European or consider the arguments I have made at length in Black Athena I: a) lexicographers of Greek have not known Ancient Egyptian, and b) since the 1820s, when hieroglyphics were first deciphered, there have been ideological reasons why they should not have not wanted to find Egyptian etymologies for significant or fundamental Greek words. It should also be pointed out that it is precisely this historiographical or ideological aspect of my work that has been most widely accepted.14 Nevertheless, Mary Lefkowitz is certain that there was no significant contact between Egypt and Greece before the former's conquest by Alexander the Great and her faith in this general truth sustains her in all the twists and turns of her argument.

The aim of impressing and intimidating through language appears at the very beginning of the book in the Latin dedication to her colleague Guy MacLean Rogers. The lines are left untranslated and without any indication of their source. They come, in fact, from an ode by Horace (I vii) about the legendary Greco-Trojan hero Teucer, who after being banished from the Greek Salamis sailed to establish a new and greater Salamis in Cyprus.15 The last verse reads as follows:

Oh ye brave heroes, who with me have often suffered worse misfortunes, now banish care with wine! Tomorrow we will take again our course over the mighty main. (Mary Lefkowitz only quotes the italicized lines).16
Now I do not know what personal references or drinking parties this may refer to, but the political message is plain. It is what, when applied to Afrocentrists, is called "vindicationalism." Mary Lefkowitz believes that she and her comrades have suffered many slurs and "calumnies" to use her word (p.10), but that sooner or later they will be vindicated.

Her sense of belonging to a small band of defenders of reason against the forces of unreason, or the demon "Political Correctness," antedates her encounter with Afrocentrism. Before 1991, she was the scourge of what she saw as feminist nonsense in Classics.[17a] In both struggles, she has found powerful helpers on the far right. In the preface to Not Out of Africa she thanks Wellesley College and the Bradley and Olin Foundations for their grants.17 The latter two are among the most generous contributors to many right-wing organizations including The National Review, The Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Scholars (N.A.S.). Mary Lefkowitz, along with Jeane Kirkpatrick, Peter Diamondopoulos and some three dozen others, sits on the advisory board of the N.A.S. and plays an active role in its journal Academic Questions. The main concern of all of these organizations and journals is to turn back what their members and contributors view as the tides of liberalism and multiculturalism that have engulfed not only society but also education and the highbrow media.18 This explains why they see themselves as besieged, and as potential or actual victims of their enemies.

This imagery resembles the sense of isolation and persecution experienced by many Black Afrocentrists, which explains the latter's intolerance towards interventions from hostile outsiders like Mary Lefkowitz. However, there is a fundamental difference, in that the Afrocentrists really are in a social and academic ghetto, while she and her allies are in one that is largely imaginary. Unlike the Afrocentric Black scholars -- or even white liberals -- they are amply funded and have access to many prestigious journals.19 The articles that make up Not Out of Africa have appeared in the New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Partisan Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Academic Questions. Thus, she and her conservative comrades have every opportunity to carry out research, publish their results and participate freely in academic debates. Despite all this, however, she is just as intolerant as the extreme Afrocentrists.

Let me take a personal example. She and her colleague Guy Rogers (mentioned above) have organized the publication of a book entitled Black Athena Revisited. This massive work of some 520 pages is largely made up of reviews of Black Athena, selected for their hostility to it.20 Despite being the author of the book in question, I was not informed of this project and was only told about it many months later by an uncomfortable contributor. I immediately e-mailed Mary Lefkowitz saying that I looked forward to seeing the pieces, so that I could prepare my response. She answered that they "had decided not to have a response" from me. I wrote back that it was very unusual in respectable scholarly studies not to include responses from the living subject of a book when he or she wanted to respond. She said that most of the pieces had appeared already and I had published responses to them. "Were these going to be included?" "No it had been decided not to include them." So much for the free market of ideas!

Before turning to her major attacks on Afrocentrist claims, it is necessary to consider two important issues of approach and method. The first of these is raised by Mary Lefkowitz when she admits that she may have biases but that this is very different from "consciously setting out to achieve a particular political goal" (p. 161). She does not say what her biases are, but two of the most important come out loud and clear throughout her book. They are that Europe owes nothing to Africa, or Greece to Egypt and that untrained outsiders should not question the conclusions of trained and competent professionals. Ten years ago, she would have been able to avoid the charge of "consciously setting out to achieve a political goal" because she and those who think like her then held complete academic power. This had been achieved during the 19th century by Northern European scholars, who did have the explicit ideological and political aims of denying European or Aryan indebtedness to Africans and "Semites."21 Since 1991, however, Mary Lefkowitz has herself been "consciously setting out to achieve a particular political goal", i.e. the discrediting of my work and that of the Afrocentrists, as part of the overall conservative agenda to turn back multiculturalism.

The second issue is Mary Lefkowitz's insistence on a sharp distinction being made between what she calls "warranted facts" and "acceptable claims" (p.51). This appears to be similar to what I have called "proof" and "competitive plausibility." I accept that there are certainties, as for instance, that there was a holocaust in which over six million Jews and others were murdered by Nazis. However, for Mary Lefkowitz (p. 161) to put this massively documented event, which took place in her and my life time, on the same plane as the reconstruction of the murky origins of Greek civilization over 2,500 years ago is absurd. Here we are not dealing with proof or "warranted facts" but with "competitive plausibility." Furthermore, she herself appeals to plausibility and acceptability from her generally conservative, generally white, audience as often, if not more often, than the Afrocentrists do from their constituency.

As she follows the modern classical establishment in its denial of the many Greek and Roman writers who believed in the massive Greek cultural debt to Egypt, she is forced to overcome this ancient testimony by frequently using such words and phrases as: "apparently", "evidently", "do not seem" "what if ...?", "why not ...? An extreme example of this, is her treatment of an ancient tradition that Plato had based his Republic on an idealized image of Egypt. She writes:

Bernal would take the story ... at face value. But the true origin was probably a joke in some comedy, which was later taken seriously (p. 82) (my italics).

Is this a "warranted fact" or an "acceptable claim"? We are both operating on the plane of "competitive plausibility."

To return to some of Mary Lefkowitz's attempts to demolish Afrocentric claims; arguments that Hannibal, the playwright Terence Afer and St Augustine were "Blacks" are indeed implausible, if by "Black," one means someone of West or Central African appearance. It should be noted that up to 20% of the population of Carthaginian Africa may have been "negroid" and in Italy, Hannibal paid his mercenaries with coins with "negro" heads and elephants.22 Nevertheless, as an upper class Carthaginian, Hannibal probably traced his ancestry back to the metropolis of Tyre on the Levant. Terence and St Augustine were born and brought up in North Africa, and there is every reason to suppose that they had North West African ancestry.

Concerning the claim that Socrates was "Black," Mary Lefkowitz in an earlier article, denounced the possibility of any African origin because as she put it: "the comic poets would not have passed up a chance to tease Socrates for being an Ethiopian." I could not resist responding that Socrates' own pupils Plato and Xenophon had described him as a "silenus" and that later sculptors had interpreted this by portraying him with a snub nose, broad nostrils, a wide mouth and prominent eyes. Thus, while it is clear that Socrates was an Athenian citizen and was Greek by culture, he did not necessarily have an "impeccable" European lineage.23 In her book, she concedes that this argument is "ingenious," but she says that it is false, because, as she concludes: "if we were to use his resemblance to a silenus as an indication of his origins, it would clearly be equally logical to infer that he was descended from bearded men with horse's ears and tails." (p. 30). Once again, she sees the ancients -- this time the sculptors -- as having got it wrong. They should have known that to suggest an African physiognomy was equally absurd as portraying him as part horse!

As for Cleopatra, apart from representations on coins, there are no contemporary portraits. Nevertheless, there is every reason to suppose that her appearance was "Mediterranean." Therefore, she was unlike both Afrocentrist pictures of her as a West African and Elizabeth Taylor. There is some doubt about the ethnicity of her grandmother who could have been Egyptian or Nubian and such a possibility alone would have made Cleopatra unmarriageable among whites, had she lived in Victorian or early 20th century England or America. Nevertheless, Mary Lefkowitz is right to state that the possibility is unlikely.

We now come to the nub of Mary Lefkowitz's attack and rage, the charge that Greeks stole Egyptian religion, philosophy and science. The first issue to be confronted here is that of the Hermetic Corpus. These mystical and philosophical dialogues, many of them concerned with spiritual initiation and centered on the mysterious figure of the sage or divine Hermes Trismegistos, were circulating in Egypt at least from the 1st century BC. Though written in Greek, and containing many features and ideas that resemble those in Platonic and Neo-Platonic writings, the characters described are Egyptian. On this issue, Mary Lefkowitz follows the standard interpretation of the early 20th century, which is that in early 17th century AD, the texts had been exposed as forgeries and that they are essentially Greek writings, in which the authors portray themselves as Egyptians to enhance their reputations and as a literary conceit. She pays no attention to the reversal of scholarly opinion since the publication in the 1970s of the library of Coptic Gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, originally found in 1945. The result of the evident parallels between these and the Hermetic Corpus has been, as the modern scholar Garth Fowden puts it:

... the intellectual context and origins of Hermeticism, viewed in ever closer relationship to traditional Egyptian thought and to gnosticism, are the subject of a fast-increasing number of scholarly studies ...24
Hermes' Egyptian equivalent was the Egyptian god of wisdom Thoth and the name Hermes Trismegistos has a good Egyptian prototype in "Thoth Thrice Great."25 Nevertheless, Mary Lefkowitz is adamant that: "There is no record of any Egyptian language original from which they were derived" (p. 101). Apart from the close parallels in Coptic texts, there are in fact a number of Demotic (that is late Egyptian) papyri containing substantial sections of a dialogue of completely Hermetic type between Thoth and a disciple.26 Furthermore, Mary Lefkowitz does not engage the argument put forward by the great Egyptologist, Sir William Flinders Petrie, that some texts in the Hermetic corpus date back to the Persian period in the 6th century BC.27 Thus, there is a real possibility that at least some of the similarities between the Hermetic texts and Platonic and neo-Platonic philosophy could be the result of Plato and his followers' having drawn on Egyptian sources.28

This brings us to the central issue of the "Stolen Legacy." Mary Lefkowitz lays great stress on George James and other Afrocentrist writers having taken their ideas from the Masonic tradition, which in turn is based on 18th century novels, notably Sethos by the Abbé Terrasson. This neatly supports her distinction between the "facts" taught by orthodox classicists and the "fiction" propounded by the Afrocentrists. There is no doubt that many of the details and particulars of Masonic ranks and initiations put forward in Stolen Legacy and other Afrocentrist writings do derive from this origin. Nevertheless, as Mary Lefkowitz concedes, these novels were scholarly and based on ancient Greek and Latin sources, which stressed the Egyptian origin of the Greek mysteries and wisdom. However, she feels able to dismiss Herodotos as idiosyncratic, and Diodoros, Strabo and the other authors of the Hellenistic and Roman periods as "late," which is somewhat startling coming from someone writing in the 20th century. She writes:

There never was such a thing as an Egyptian Mystery System. The notion of mysteries, or rituals of initiation is fundamentally Greek, and such information as we have about Egyptian mysteries dates from a period when Egypt had been occupied and influenced by both Greeks and Romans (p. 157).
Mysteries are by their nature mysterious and are seldom if ever described directly. It is also true that the two detailed descriptions of Egyptian initiations come from the Roman period. One comes in a description in the Latin novel The Golden Ass written by the North African author Apuleius, of an initiation to the goddess Isis that took place in Greece. The other is a papyrus in the Egyptian script of Hieratic describing the initiations of a priest named Horsiesis, which took place in the ancient cult centers of Abydos, Busiris and Karnak.29 There are three striking features in both sets of rituals. The first is that they appear to be based entirely on Egyptian tradition. The second is that many of the passages resemble those found in the Book of the Dead or, to use its original title, Going Forth by Day. The third is that they parallel many of the rituals practiced in the most famous Greek mysteries, those at Eleusis, northwest of Athens.

The very skeptical scholar, Professor Gwyn Griffiths, has attempted to reconcile the three parallels. He maintains that the essential theme of spiritual regeneration in the present life was specifically Greek and Eleusinian. Nevertheless, he feels obliged to add: "Yet this may have developed in the Hellenistic era in Egypt as a development and projection of a very ancient funerary tradition."30 His position seems, then, to be that the Greeks and late Egyptians both independently invented spiritual initiations for the living, resembling the journeys of the souls of the dead. The situation was then confused by a widespread "Egyptomaniac" fantasy that the Greek mysteries had been developed from Egyptian ones, which were fleshed out by the introduction of some Egyptian ritual. This seems much more cumbersome than simply accepting the view of the ancients, that the Greek mysterious initiations were derived from Egypt.

At least at a superficial level, the mystery and initiations in the cult of Demeter at Eleusis resembled those of Osiris at Abydos and other holy centers in Egypt. Furthermore, Egyptian scarabs and a symbol of Isis -- Demeter was her Greek counterpart -- were found in a 9th or 8th century tomb at Eleusis.31 It is for these reasons that although the majority of Classicists deny it, a number of the most distinguished specialists of the 20th century have followed the predominant ancient tradition that the cult was imported from Egypt before the Trojan War or during what we should now call the Late Bronze Age. Most notable of these was Paul Foucart who dominated Eleusinian studies in the early part of the 20th century and whose detailed work is still respected, even by the most conventional.32 Charles Picard is generally supposed to have refuted Foucart, but he admitted that "well before" the eighth century, the Eleusinian Mysteries had received substantial influence from Egypt.33 In 1971, the British scholar A.A. Barb also saw fundamental connections.34 Even the firm isolationist, Jean Hani, admitted when referring to Isis and Demeter: "It seems that there has always been a type of 'understanding' between Greece and Egypt since prehistory."35

Mary Lefkowitz takes the conventional line that the idea of spiritual rebirth in the present life was a uniquely Greek concept and that Egyptian descriptions of the voyages of the soul as set out in the Going Forth By Day were purely what they purported to be and had nothing to do with initiations. However, in addition to the evidence from Apuleius and Horsiesis, there is the mysterious underground "Cenotaph of Seti the 1st" (c.1309-1291 BC) or Oseirion. This structure contains complex passages inscribed with broken hieroglyphs and sections of the Book of the Dead, a strange underground island and a hall decorated with the text of a mysterious religious play.36 It is very plausible to suggest that this was used for initiations. In addition to this, there are references going back to the 17th century BC, to men who though alive, were called "m3' hrw" or "True of Voice," the title generally applied to the immortal dead.37 There is even one from a man who claimed to have taken part in a ritual described in Going Forth by Day.38 Thus, the balance of evidence indicates both that the Book of the Dead was also used for initiations of the living, and that we should accept the ancient view that the Greek mysteries and the initiations associated with them, derived from Egypt. I admit that these argument are based not on certainty but on competitive plausibility. Nevertheless, it is ludicrous for Mary Lefkowitz to claim that her denial of Egyptian influence on Greek mysteries and initiations is based on "warranted facts."

The issue of whether there were "colleges" or "universities" at Memphis and other Egyptian cities, depends on definition. It is known that at least since the Old Kingdom c. 3000 BC, there was an elaborate bureaucracy of specialized scribes, doctors and magicians and that from the Middle Kingdom c. 2000 there was an institution called "pr ' nh" -- "House of Life." Egyptologists have been divided on how to see this. Some like Alan Gardiner describe it merely as "scriptorium," a place of restricted entry where some papyri were kept.39 Others have concluded that it was "a kind of university." For instance, the Egyptologist P. Derchain maintained that by the first period of Persian rule 525-404 BC, these institutions contained papyri on subjects ranging from medicine, astronomy, mathematics, myths, embalming, to geography, etc. ... in a word one ought to find there the complete totality of all the philosophical and scientific knowledge of the Egyptians."40 The subject is clearly moot but equally clearly, Mary Lefkowitz is wrong to claim that the ancient, 18th century and Afrocentrists' descriptions of "Egyptian Colleges" are solely based on fiction.

Did the Ancient Egyptians possess a "science", and if they did, did it have a significant impact on the Greeks? For some years now, I have argued in favor of both claims. When I presented my arguments on them to the departments of the History and Philosophy of Science at both Harvard and Cambridge, some of the audience agreed, others did not, but the claims were clearly accepted as legitimate topics of scholarly debate. There was also a polemic on the subject between me and Robert Palter, a historian of Renaissance science.41 It is not for me to say who came out on top, but Victor Katz the historian of Greek mathematics wrote about the debate: "As far as mathematics goes, although Palter argues with Bernal on many specific points and seems to deny both of Bernal's claims, he does not give a clear and definitive response to them."42 Here again, Mary Lefkowitz is wrong to dismiss Afrocentric claims as absurd.

This is not to say that Hellenistic science based in Greek dominated Egypt, did not add to what had been received from Egypt. The same is true of philosophy. The term "philosophy" is extraordinarily slippery but taken in the Socratic sense of "wonder, or speculation on truth and reality," there is every reason to suppose that it was present in Ancient Egypt. Indeed, it was conventional wisdom among Greeks and Romans that philosophy had derived from Egypt.43 Furthermore, an Afrocentrist perspective can add to our understanding of some details of Greek philosophy. For instance, Mary Lefkowitz (p. 149) pours scorn on the proposal by G.G.M. James in his Stolen Legacy that Democritus' use of the word "atom" derived principally not from "indivisibility" but from the Egyptian god Atum.44 The name of this divinity appears to have meant both "fullness" or "being" and "non-being." The Egyptologist Erik Hornung after describing the difficulties of translating such a concept concludes that:

Atum is the god who "in the beginning was everything", complete in the sense of being an undifferentiated unity and at the same time non-existent because existence is impossible before his work of creation.45
The philosopher Anthony Preus has argued that:
If we put that statement beside the notorious fragment DK 156 -- "MH\ MA=LLON TO\ DE\N H)\ TO\ MHDE\N EI)=NAI" -- we might come to the conclusion that Democritus is aware of the ambiguity of the Egyptian "Atom" and has imported it into Greek.46
It is strange that James should have focused on Aristotle, whose thought appears to have been distinctively Greek rather than on the Presocratics, whom the Classicist Geoffrey Kirk saw as having been significantly influenced by Egyptians and Mesopotamians.47 Similarly, he could have focused on Plato who was clearly very impressed by Egypt, and for more than 2000 years his followers saw his thought as a glorious link in a chain leading back to Egypt.48

Mary Lefkowitz's conviction that there is a categorical distinction between a rational Greece and an irrational Egypt only holds if you believe that reason only began with Aristotle's formal binary logic and Euclid's axiomatic geometry, neither of which existed -- as far as we know -- in Ancient Egypt. However, this claim should be tempered by the works of some scholars who have thought about the issue more profoundly. The first of these is the classicist E.R. Dodds, whose brilliant The Greeks and the Irrational showed the centrality of madness and shamanism to Greek life and thought.49 The second is the classicist and historian of science, Heinrich von Staden, who wrote recently:

... there has been inadequate reflection on the cultural conditions that have shaped modern historians' selections and elisions. These cultural conditions include, centrally, two mutually reinforcing collective experiences: the modern reception [perception?] of ancient Greece as the fountainhead of our culture and, second, modern western scientific culture as our lodestar. These long-lived collective constructions of fountainhead and lodestar have led to concrete, entrenched consequences in the modern history of science. Thus the Hippocratic treatise On Sacred Disease, with its criticisms of magic and with its overt questioning of etiologies that resort to the divine, is known to practically all historians of ancient science, having been translated often (and anthologized even more often), whereas there is no English translation of the Hippocratic gynecological treatises, which are replete with the "otherness" of Greek science -- and which constitute a far larger part of the Hippocratic corpus.50
In Egypt too, there were areas of "rationality" -- sophisticated and rigorous mathematics, superb geometry, wonderfully observed medical symptoms, precise surgery, etc., -- amidst what we should now consider to be magic and superstition. Thus, Mary Lefkowitz's categorical distinction between the two cultures on this criterion is much less hard and fast than she supposes.

Now to Mary Lefkowitz's ultimate bugbear, the Afrocentrists' claims of a "stolen legacy." As stated above, there is no doubt that the Afrocentrists have been wrong on many particulars. Furthermore, there is little chance that Greeks could have stolen ideas that Egyptians do not appear to have possessed, such as Aristotelian binary logic and Euclidian geometry. Nevertheless, in general, the Afrocentrists are tapping into a tradition of great antiquity and, at least in the areas of religion and science, of some validity.

In the 1st century AD, the Neo-Pythagorean sage Apollonios of Tyana visited India. According to his biographer Philostratos, the Indians were surprised to find Apollonios virtuous because Egyptians had told them that they, the Egyptians, had established "all the sacrifices and rites on initiation that are in vogue among the Greeks," who were ruffians.51 The idea that Greeks were taking aspects of Egyptian religion also comes in a passage in the Hermetic Corpus.52 Philo of Byblos writing around 100 AD claimed that Greeks had appropriated Phoenician and Egyptian ancient myths and had then imposed their versions or fictions on other peoples.53 In the 2nd century AD, the Assyrian Christian Tatian argued that the Greeks had taken their culture from "barbarians," including Phoenician letters and Egyptian geometry and historical writing.54 The church father Clement of Alexandria went all the way and called the Greeks "thieves."55

Despite the obvious biases of Christian and other non-Greek writers and the openness with which Herodotos, Plato, Aristotle and others accepted the central importance of the Egyptian contribution to their culture, such arguments are not altogether implausible. We know, for instance, that "Pythagorean" triangles were used in the Near East more than a thousand years before Pythagoras.56 The volumes of pyramids were measured almost equally early, long before the time of Eudoxos, who according to Archimedes was the first person to do so.57 Archimedes' "balanced scales" and "screw" were in use in Egypt centuries before the Greek scientist was born. Academics might prefer the fashionable word "appropriation," but the word 'stealing' in such cases is not altogether inappropriate.

At this point, I should like to set the positions of both parties in a wider historical context. Though there have been a number deformations, the Afrocentrists have maintained what, in Black Athena, I have called "the Ancient Model" of Greek origins. Since at least the 5th century BC, Greeks and others believed that people from Egypt, Phoenicians and other Asiatics came to Greece, built cities, established royal dynasties and introduced religion and the mysteries. Later, Greeks studied in Egypt and, to a lesser extent, the Orient importing philosophy, mathematics and science.58 The particular branch of the Ancient Model taken up by the Afrocentrists was that prominent at the turn of the 19th century. This was partly based on the Masonic tradition and novels but also the works of scholars such as Charles François Dupuis, Constantin de Volney and A.H.L. Heeren. These three maintained that the Ancient Egyptians had been Black or nearly so, and that Europeans had derived their civilizations from Africans and this argument was used by abolitionists in their attacks on race-based slavery.59

This shift of emphasis in the Ancient Model was not a drastic coupure of the type that followed in the quarter of a century after 1820, in which the modern discipline of Classics was formed. In this period, young scholars dismissed the "Ancient Model" and denied the ancient traditions of massive Greek cultural borrowings from Egypt. Their dismissal was not the result of the decipherment of hieroglyphics, as these classicists only accepted Champollion's work in the 1850s. Nor did it come from archaeological excavations of Bronze Age Greece, which were not carried out until the 1870s.

The Ancient Model was dismissed for ideological reasons. It was not seemly for Greece, now seen as the cradle of Europe, to have been civilized by Africans and Asians, who were known according to the new "racial science" to be categorically inferior. In the 1840s, a new "Aryan Model" arose, according to which, Greek civilization had emerged from a conquest or conquests from the north by the "Aryan" or Indo-European speaking Hellenes. These had dominated the previous inhabitants of the Aegean whose name had been lost, and were therefore simply called "Pre-Hellenes." This "Aryan Model" had a scholarly basis in that, by then, the Indo-European language family had been worked out and it was realized that Greek was a charter member of the family and that therefore, there must at some early stage, have been migrations or massive cultural influences from the Indo-European homeland somewhere to the north of the Aegean. Nevertheless, the Pre-Hellenes were necessary to explain the 50% of the Greek vocabulary that could not be explained in terms of Indo-European.

There is no reason why the fact that Greek is fundamentally Indo-European should not be combined with the Ancient Model's multiple reports of Egyptian and Semitic influences. However, such cultural and linguistic mixture was intolerable to the Romantic racists who established the Aryan Model and who, like Mary Lefkowitz today, insisted that there had been no significant Egyptian influence on Greece.

This raises an amusing irony. Mary Lefkowitz reiterates Arthur J. Schlesinger's charge that Afrocentrist history is purely an attempt to promote group self-esteem, whereas history should consist of: "dispassionate analysis, judgment and perspective ..."60 In fact, however, this is far from the way that history is taught in schools, where the nation or locality is always emphasized and placed above that of others. For instance, when I was sent to France at the age of 17, my French companion and I knew completely different sets of battles between the English and French. We each knew our country's victories, not the defeats. Thus, for African-American children to be taught about African and diasporic triumphs is not unusual and is particularly useful given the constant psychological battering they receive in a racist society.

On the other hand, I agree with Schlesinger and Lefkowitz that historical researchers should try to transcend their own environments and achieve objectivity, as far as it is possible to do so. However, the Aryan Model with its denial of ancient tradition and its insistence on a purely white, purely European Greece is an extreme example of "feel good" scholarship and education for whites.

Mary Lefkowitz ends her last chapter with an emotional appeal to George Orwell's description of the systematic destruction of the old culture going on in 1984, which would be completed by 2050, by which time the old culture would be obliterated. She continues:

What Orwell predicted for 2050 actually happened a century earlier, with the publication of Stolen Legacy in 1954. For in that book George G.M. James rewrote Ancient History so drastically that it became both different from and contradictory to what it had previously been (p. 154).

She is mistaken by more than a century. For all his errors, James was maintaining the ancient historical tradition. It was the founders of the Aryan Model, to which Mary Lefkowitz adheres, who made the categorical break with all the previous history of the formation of Ancient Greece.


  • [1] For a good survey of Black and Afrocentrist historical scholarship see the "Bibiliographic Essay", pp. 309-332 in Black Folk Here and There, vol. I by St. Clair Drake. Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Sudies (1987). Mary Lefkowitz does not deal with the younger scholars who have combined their Afrocentric approach with conventional scholarship, obtaining extremely interesting results. See for instance, Thomas M. Scott, Egyptian Elements in Hermetic Literature, Th.D. Harvard 4/18/1987 (U.M.I., 1991. 3058) and Mauluna N. Karenga, Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics, Ph.D. U.S.C. 1994. (U.M.I.1994.9601000).
  • [2] For the date and the consensus that Eudoxos did visit Egypt see Christian Froidefond, Le mirage egyptien dans la litterature Grecque d'Homere a Aristote Aix en Provence. Publications universitaires des lettres et sciences humaines. 1971. p. 270.
  • [3] Carl J. Richard, The Founders and the Classics: Greece Rome and the American Elightenment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P. (1994) p. 234. Radicals continued using the Roman term until the late 1820s, when in the fervor of philhellenism, the words "democracy" and "democrat" became respectable.
  • [4] Richard, p. 241.
  • [5] For the ancient belief that Egyptian laws formed the foundation of Greek laws, see Aristotle, The Politics VII.10.
  • [6] It may be that Diodoros was mistaken here and that the law was introduced to Athens under Peisistratos, but given that ruler's close contacts with Egypt this does not rule out the strong possibility of an Egyptian model.
  • [7] See Aristide Theodorides, "The Concept of Law in Ancient Egypt", pp. 291-322 in John Harris (ed.), The Legacy of Egypt. Oxford: Oxford U.P. p. 319. For the problems and a possible solution, see Bernal, "Phoenician Politics and Egyptian Justice in Ancient Greece," pp. 241-261 in Kurt Raaflaub (ed.), Anfänge politischen Denkens in der Antike, München: Schriften des Historischen Kollegs Kolloquien 24. p. 259.
  • [8] See Heinrich Doerrie, Der Platonismus in der Antike: II, der hellenistische rahmen des kaiserzeitlichen Platonismus. Stuttgart, (1990). p.429. n.13. and Jonathan Barnes,"The Hellenistic Platos", Apeiron 24 (1991) p.118.
  • [9] Apollodoros, II.1. and Pausanias, II.16.2.
  • [10] Herodotos, II.49.2 and 50.1.
  • [11] I estimate that about a quarter of the basic Greek vocabulary comes from Egyptian and a further 15-20% from West Semitic.
  • [12] Incidentally neither Korean nor Japanese has been significantly influenced by Chinese in their morphology and phonetics. It is normal for speakers of any language to give up their vocabulary long before abandoning more fundamental linguistic structures. In this light, the linguistic scheme of the Aryan model is quite extraordinary. It holds that the Prehellenes abandoned their morphology and phonetics to their alleged Indo-European speaking conquerors, while retaining a significant proportion of their vocabulary. Mid or late 20th century linguists could not have proposed such a peculiar form of linguistic contact.
  • [13] To be pedantic, the Anglo-Saxon word was spelled bisceop not bishop.
  • [14] See Perry Anderson, "The Myth of Hellenism," The Guardian, 3/13/87; Sir Edmund Leach, "Aryan Warlords in their Chariots," The London Review of Books, 2/4/87, p. 11; Michael Vickers, Antiquity 61: 480-81 (Nov. 1987); Martha Malamud, Criticism vol.1 (1989) 317-22; and many others.
  • [15] Incidentally, the place name Salamis, used for two sheltered ports, has a clearly Semitic origin in the word salaam/shalom "peace" or "safety" as in the modern Dar es Salaam "House of Peace" in Tanzania.
  • [16] This archaic translation is that of C.E. Bennet in the standard Loeb series, Horace: Odes and Epodes p. 25.
  • [17] See Ellen Messer-Davidow, "Manufacturing the Attack on Liberalized Higher Education," Social Text Fall (1993) 40-80. Christina Hoff Summers was funded by the same two foundations for her attacks on academic feminism. John K. Wilson, The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education, Durham: Duke University Press (1995) pp. 26-27.
  • [18] See Wilson, pp. 1-30.
  • [19] For the lavish funding of NAS see Messer-Davidow, p. 63 and Wilson p. 27.
  • [20] As an illustration of this, although the book contains reviews by many distinguished Hellenists and Egyptologists it does not contain any by specialists in Egyptian-Aegean relations. Two such scholars, John Ray and Stanley Burstein, have reviewed Black Athena, Times Literary Supplement 18/10/91 pp. 3-4, and Classical Philology 88.2 (4/93) p. 157-162, respectively, and both, while they disagreed with me on a number of issues, took my work seriously. Neither appears in Black Athena Revisited. On the other hand, Eric Cline who now must be considered the leading US expert on Egyptian Aegean relations in the Bronze Age, was invited to contribute. However, he took the same position as Ray and Burstein, and the editors decided that there was "not enough room" for his piece of five or six pages in their volume of some 520 pp.
  • [21] See Black Athena I pp. 281-399.
  • [22] See M-C. Chamla, "Les hommes des Sepultures proto-historiques et puniques d'Afrique du Nord I (Algerie et Tunisie) L'Anthropologie 79 (1975); p. 659-692 and II 80 (1976): 75-116, p.97. For the coins, see F. Snowden, Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (1970) pp. 70-71.
  • [23] Academic Questions (Summer 1994) p. 7.
  • [24] The Egyptian Hermes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1986) p. xv. Brian Copenhaver describes the same scholarly shift in more detail, in his Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, with notes and introduction. Cambridge University Press (1992) pp. lvi-lviii.
  • [25] For references to this see Black Athena, I p.465 n.53.
  • [26] See R. Jasnow and Karl-Th. Zausich, "A Book of Thoth?" (paper given at the 7th International Congress of Egyptologists: Cambridge, 3-9 September 1995).
  • [27] "Historical References in the Hermetic writings," Transactions of the Third International Congress of the History of Religions. Oxford I (1908) pp. 196-225 and Personal Religion in Egypt before Christianity. New York: Harpers (1909) pp. 85-91.
  • [28] See my assessment of this in Black Athena I p. 465. n. 48.
  • [29] B.H. Stricker Die egyptische Mysterien Pap. Leyden T. 32 Oudheidkundige Mededelingen uit het Ryksmuseum van Oudheden te Leiden, vols. 31 & 34 and Max Guilmot Les inities et les rites initiatiques en Egypte ancienne. Paris: Lafont (1977) pp. 95-175.
  • [30] J. Gwyn Griffiths, The Isis Book (Metamorphoses, Book xi). Leiden: Brill (1975) p. 31.
  • [31] See Anthony Snodgrass, The Dark Age of Greece: An Archaeological Survey of the Eleventh to the eighth centuries BC. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (1971) pp. 116-117.
  • [32] See Foucart Les mysteres d'Eleusis. Paris: A. Picard (1914). For the respect, pers. comm. Kevin Clinton Autumn 1988.
  • [33] "Sur la patrie et les peregrinations de Demeter," Revue des Etudes Grecques, XL, 1927, pp. 330-69, p.324.
  • [34] "Mystery, Myth and Magic," in The Legacy of Egypt, 2nd ed., pp.138-169, p. 152.
  • [35] La Religion egyptienne dans la pensee de Plutarque. Paris: Belles Lettres (1976) p. 9.
  • [36] See H. Frankfort, The Cenotaph of Seti I at Abydos, London (1933), Egypt Exploration Society no. 39; and Guilmot pp. 100-103.
  • [37] Pierre Montet, La vie quotidien au temps des Ramses, Paris 1946 pp. 298-300; and Guilmot pp.124-5.
  • [38] "Stele de Baki", Turin no 156, pub. A. Varille, Bulletin de l'institut français d'archeologie orientale 54 (1954) p. 131-132.
  • [39] A.H. Gardiner, "The House of Life," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 24 (1938): p. 157-179.
  • [40] P. Derchain, Le Papyrus Salt 825 (B.M. 10051): rituel pour la conservation de la vie en Egypte. Academie Royale de Belgique, Classe des Lettres Memoires 58 (1965) p.57. For a judicious assessment of these claims see Marshall Clagett, Egyptian Science: I, Knowledge and Order. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society (1989) pp.1-46.
  • [41] Bernal, "Animadversions on the Origin of Western Science," Isis 83 (1992): 596-607; Palter, "Black Athena, Afrocentrism and the History of Science," History of Science 31 (1993): 227-287; Bernal, "Response to Robert Palter," History of Science 32 (1994): 445-464; and "Palter Answers Bernal," History of Science 32 (1994): 464-468.
  • [42] Newsletter of the International Study Group on the Relations Between the History and the Pedagogy of Mathematics 35 (1995): 10.
  • [43] See Isocrates, Bousiris 28 and Cicero Tusculanae Disputationes V. 3.9. See also Black Athena I, p. 104, Anthony Preus, Greek Philosophy: Egyptian Origins, Research Papers on the Humanities and Social Sciences, III (Binghamton, 1992-1993); and Christos Evangeliou, When Greece Met Africa: The Genesis of Hellenic Philosophy, Binghamton: Institute of Global Studies 1994. Evangeliou brings out the sharp contrast on this issue between the Ancients, notably Plato and Aristotle, and modern Classical scholars and concludes firmly on the side of the former, pp. 26-29.
  • [44] George G. M. James, Stolen Legacy: The Greeks were not the authors of Greek Philosophy, but the people of North Africa commonly called the Egyptians. San Francisco: Richardson (1976), 75. Preus, p. 8.
  • [45] Erik Hornung, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many, trans. John Baines (Ithaca, 1982), 66-67.
  • [46] Preus p. 8.
  • [47] "Popper on Science and the Presocratics," Mind 69 (1960) pp. 326-327.
  • [48] See Black Athena I, pp. 16-172.
  • [49] University of California Press (1951).
  • [50] Heinrich von Staden, "Affinities and Elisions: Helen and Hellenocentrism," Isis 83 (1992) p. 584.
  • [51] Life of Apollonius of Tyana 3.32.
  • [52] Hermetica 16, 1-2. Copenhaver, p. 58. This in itself suggests that the authors were Egyptian not Greek.
  • [53] See Philo "Phoenician History" in Felix Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 3.C 813.10. See Albert I. Baumgarten, The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos: A Commentary, Leiden: Brill (1981) p. 19.
  • [54] Tatian I.1, and 40, ed. Miroslav Marcovitch, Tatiani Oratio ad Graecos, in Patristische Texte und Studien. Berlin: De Gruyter, (1995) pp. 7 and 72.
  • [55] Stromateis, I.87.2 and elsewhere. See also Daniel Ridings: The Attic Moses: The Dependency Theme in Some Early Christian Writers, Gothenburg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1995. p.223.
  • [56] For a discussion of this see Bernal, "Response to Robert Palter," History of Science 32 (1994) p. 11.
  • [57] See Richard Gillings, Mathematics in the Time of the Pharaohs. New York: Dover (1972).185-193.
  • [58] See James Williams, Fundamentals of Applied Dynamics. New York: Wiley (1996) p.30. See Black Athena I, pp. 75-169.
  • [59] Black Athena I, pp. 173-188 and 294-307. See for an example of abolitionist rhetoric, Victor Schoelcher "L'Abolition de l'esclavage, examen critique du prejuge contre la couleur des Africains et des sang-meles," Paris, Pagnerre 1840, reprinted in Auguste Joyau Panorama de la litterature a la Martinique. Martinique, Morne Rouge 1977: pp. 74-85.
  • [60] Quoted by Mary Lefkowitz, p. 4.