Who started the Philosophy: Were the Greeks or Egyptians?

Jul 2018
11
Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil
I'm reading a book called "Stolen Legacy" by George James (I'm in the beggining), and he said, for example, that the expression "think thyself" came from the philosophy schools from the Egypt and the History (someone in) says that this sentence is from the greeks, and the New Testment were plagiarized from the egyptians. I would like to know about the veracity of this book (the book has footnote)
 

Guaporense

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
5,047
Brazil
There is no continuous tradition of philosophy that moved from Egypt to Greece. Greek authors didn't cite Egyptian philosophers and so we cannot conclude that they were not a cradle of philosophy. Of course, that doesn't mean that nobody in Egypt before 600 BC though about philosophical questions it just means that they did not directly influence the Greeks, which are the ones at the foundation of our Western philosophy.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
Neither. Philosophy pre-existed both. And yes, Egyptian philosophy influenced Greek philosophy. Both Pythagoras and Plato went to study with Egyptian priests, knew people who studied with Egyptian priests and also were influenced by Zoroastrianism and Phoenician religion and philosophy, themselves influenced by Egyptian religion and philosophy.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
The Memphite creation myth of Ptah, by his word, creating the universe ex nihilo, predates any other philosophy we have a record of. We tend to dismiss the Egyptians as naive and trapped in a culture of superstition and death compared to the Greeks, yet this is due to preservational bias and the Egyptian mind being lost to us for well over a millenia, while the Greek mind continued.

A mind, collective or otherwise, that has the ability to devise the Memphite creation myth, a myth directly used by the Hebrews and so the basis for all creation, for believers that is, has the ability to have the most profound thoughts on other matters. We are still, to an extent, misled by the menagerie and so cannot see the philosophy behind the animal masks and the glittering gold.

Sort of, and a bit OTT I guess, but maybe not that much.
"Oh look, ancient Greece. Plato, Aristotle and the inventions of Archimedes, how clever and profound they were"

"Oh look, ancient Egypt. Mummies, gold, animal gods, more mummies, many more animal gods, more gold, death, more gold. Oh look, a giant pyramid, but surely they could not possibly have made that. But let's not think about that because a cute kitty has walked by, and they worshiped cats, ah, how cute.
 
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Todd Feinman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2013
6,497
Planet Nine, Oregon
The Memphite creation myth of Ptah, by his word, creating the universe ex nihilo, predates any other philosophy we have a record of. We tend to dismiss the Egyptians as naive and trapped in a culture of superstition and death compared to the Greeks, yet this is due to preservational bias and the Egyptian mind being lost to us for well over a millenia, while the Greek mind continued.

A mind, collective or otherwise, that has the ability to devise the Memphite creation myth, a myth directly used by the Hebrews and so the basis for all creation, for believers that is, has the ability to have the most profound thoughts on other matters. We are still, to an extent, misled by the menagerie and so cannot see the philosophy behind the animal masks and the glittering gold.

Sort of, and a bit OTT I guess, but maybe not that much.
"Oh look, ancient Greece. Plato, Aristotle and the inventions of Archimedes, how clever and profound they were"

"Oh look, ancient Egypt. Mummies, gold, animal gods, more mummies, many more animal gods, more gold, death, more gold. Oh look, a giant pyramid, but surely they could not possibly have made that. But let's not think about that because a cute kitty has walked by, and they worshiped cats, ah, how cute.
:lol: Right on the money, especially with the cute kitty; I hate the cat worship gobsmackery.
 
Jul 2018
11
Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil
I appreciate all your answers. I would like to know about references that I can read to absorve these knowledges.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
We tend to dismiss the Egyptians as naive and trapped in a culture of superstition and death compared to the Greeks, yet this is due to preservational bias and the Egyptian mind being lost to us for well over a millenia, while the Greek mind continued.
I've always found this hilarious when Greeks had the same exact beliefs and defended them. Aristotle and Plato were just as religious as any Egyptian priest, and the philosophers were very much the clerical caste, oh sorry, class of Greek society. In fact, should be pointed out that the term "philosophia" coined by Pythagoras - who should be seen as the equivalent of Jesus or Zoroaster in Greek society - can be said to have been one of the Greek words for religion given that for Pythagoras and later Socrates and Plato refer exclusively to the contemplation of the gods. Aristotle would seem to have tried to expand it to other concerns, but even he admitted that its main concern was the gods and his academy, the Lyceum, was a temple dedicated to Apollo.

This is also the reason why atheistic "philosophers" only survive in fragments. It should be pointed out that they also didn't identify themselves as philosophers, it was others like Diogenes Laertius who did. Plato outright excluded atheists and other impious persons from his definition of philosopher and called them "sophists" instead.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
Yes, let's laugh at a god with the head of a cat, but not laugh at Zeus morphing into a bull or a swan to "do stuff". It's very easy to imagine the Egyptians having lofty and profound thoughts about Ptah, or the Aten, but it's a bit difficult to square lofty and profound thoughts with Zeus and his raping and abducting.
 
Nov 2017
789
Commune
Yes, let's laugh at a god with the head of a cat, but not laugh at Zeus morphing into a bull or a swan to "do stuff". It's very easy to imagine the Egyptians having lofty and profound thoughts about Ptah, or the Aten, but it's a bit difficult to square lofty and profound thoughts with Zeus and his raping and abducting.
Greek gods have transformed into:
Bulls
Eagles
Horses
Owls
Fish

But don't panic, they're still rational atheists who never believed in those things despite continually writing about them well into the Christian era, just like those Buddhist atheists who believe in heavenly Buddhas awaiting the souls of their worshippers and condemning the sinful ones to hell.