Sunday, December 18, 2011

Freedom in the Ancient World by Herbert Muller

I was attracted to this book by the title. I have read a lot of history, but I never thought of the ancient world having any freedom. However, I guess all movements must start somewhere.

He talks about the Axial Period from 800 to 200 BC. It was in this era, outside of Greece, that there emerged all the basic religious ideas on which man has lived ever since, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Judaism.

He talks about a revolutionary change in mentality in about 6BC, when we start to hear of individuals who were not kings or gods. Such people were Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Leo-Tse Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Home Thales, Salon, Aeschylus, Socrates and Plato.

If you like to read about the ancient world, this is a great book to read to get a different perspective on what was occurring then.

There is a Wikipedia entry for Herbert J. Muller at Muller. For a review of this book, see Professor Carroll Quigley site. Professor Quigley’s main criticism of this book is “Prof. Muller's inability in this work to carry out his special task, the history of human freedom, seems to me to rest on his failure to distinguish between "freedom" (the existence of alternative personal choices in a society) and "liberties" (the existence of a social pattern which permits a man to develop his potentialities).”

This book won a Ralph Waldo Emerson award in 1962. See Wikipedia.

On my website is how to find this book on Amazon if you care to purchase it. See Muller. Also, this book review and other books I have reviewed are on my website at Book Reviews.

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