DOI: https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2018.5(157).148338

Restoring the African origins of philosophy

Socrates Ebo

Abstract


The standard bias is that philosophy originated in Miletus, in the Greek province of Ionia in Asia Minor. The bias also upholds Thales, a citizen of Miletus to be the first human ever to engage in formal philosophy. The creed of the bias is that the blessings of philosophy spread to the rest of the world from this salvific Greek city. The world owe it to the ingenuity of the Greeks, the appearance of philosophy and science as formal enterprises of learning. This is the “truth”, at least according to mainstream Western literature. Abundance of documentary evidence stating otherwise did not matter. It did not matter also that Thales himself travelled to Egypt and spent many years there, studying philosophy. It did not matter also, that Thales merely reechoed in Ionia, the teachings he received from the school he attended in Egypt. But facts are sacred; biases are optional. Philosophy, indeed had been formally taught in Egypt for thousands of years before Thales ever travelled to Egypt. Literature abounds to that effect. However, the Greeks played a pivotal role in the spread of philosophy to the rest of Europe. The Greeks were the first European nation to philosophize. But that did not amount to the origin of philosophy. It was an epoch in the spread and popularization of philosophy. The fall of Egypt to the invading armies of Alexander the Great, the edits of emperors Theodosius and Justinian of the Roman empire, the invasion of Islam, the slave trade, the experience of colonialism and the subsequent racism changed all that. Africa came to be denigrated as the “Dark Continent”, and as such was deemed incapable of culture and intellectual advancement. This bias significantly influenced, and has arguably continued to colour Western discourse on African themes, covertly and overtly. African intellectuals and researchers all over the world, owe it to posterity, the duty to render the truth about the origins of philosophy. This research relies solely on library research in unearthing oft neglected classical documents that point abundantly to the African origin of philosophy.

Keywords


African Philosophy; Egypt; Seba; Thoth; Waset; Ancient Philosophy; Ionia; Miletus; Thales; Pythagoras; Aristotle

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abdatista, G. 2011. The Philosophy of Colonialism: Civilization, Christianity, and Commerce. Available at: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/violenceinafrica/sample-page/the-philosophy-of-colonialism-civilization-christianity-and-commerce/ (Accessed: 25.09.18)

Alexander, B.D. 1922. History of Philosophy. Glasgow.

Asante, M. K. 2004. An African Origin of Philosophy: Myth or Reality? Available at: http://www.asante.net/articles/26/afrocentricity/ (Accessed: 11.09.18)

Aucher, J. 1826. Philo.

Ayo. 2011. The origins of the Ethiopian state. African House of Rastas. Available at: https://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-origins-of-t he-ethiopian-state-by-prof-ayo/ (Accessed: 08.09.18)

BBC. 2014. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/pythagoras.shtml (Accessed: 08.09.18)

Bowder, A. 1988. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization. Karmaic Institute.

Besant, A. 1901 Esoteric Christianity. Quest Books; 2nd edition (January 1, 2006), 302 p.

Flavio Josefo. Obras completas de Flavio Josefo, en 5 volúmenes traducidos del griego al español por Luis Farré. (Buenos Aires: Acervo Cultural / Editores, 1961.) Vol. 5: Contra Apión. Available at: https://elmundobiblicodigital.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/contra-apic3b3n-sobre-la-antiguedad-del-pueblo-judc3ado-por-flavio-josefo.pdf

Daniel, R., McBride, & Berkley. (Eds). 2003. The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology. Publisher: Berkley, 432 p.

Diogenes, L. (c. 366 BC). Lives of Eminent Philosophers.

Diop C. A. 1974. The African Origin of Civilization, Myth or Reality? L. Hill, New York: 336 р.

Dunn, J. (n.d). Amasis, the Last Great Egyptian Pharaoh. Available at: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amasis.htm (Accessed: 01.09.2018)

Frankfot, H. 1948. Ancient Egyptian Religion. New York: Harper and Row, Harper torchbooks, 172 pages

Hasting. (1898-1904). Bible Dictionary, Publoshed 1963, NY: C. Scribner's Sons (5 vols).

Hastings, J. 1908. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Available at: https://archive.org/details/encyclopaediaofr01hastuoft/page/n9 (Accessed: 09.09.2018)

Herodotus. (450 BC). Histories. Available at: http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.html (Accessed: 01.09.2018)

Jasnow, R. L. & Zauzich, K.T. 2005. The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth: A Demotic Discourse on Knowledge & Pendant to Classical Hermetica. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. 678 p.

Jochannan, Y. 1974. The Black Man’s Religion. In: Vol.2 The Mith of Genesis is Exodus and the Exclusion of Their African Origins. Publ. by 2002, Black Classic Press. Baltimor, MD 21203

Kendrick, J. 1850. Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs. In two vol.B. Fellovs, London. Available at: https://ru.scribd.com/document/115557076/Ancient-Egypt-Under-Pharaohs-I-Kendrick-1850 (Accessed: 14.09.2018)

Lewis, H. S. 1929. (2015 Reprint). Mystical Life of Jesus. Martino Fine Books, 279 p.

Mathews, E.A. 1938. The Mediterranean World in Ancient Times. The Ronald Press Company, NY. Available at: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.166853/page/n7 (Accessed: 30.07.2018)

Muller, M. 1964. Mythology of Egypt. In: The Mythology of all races. Vol. XII Egyptian Indo-Chinese. Cooper Square Publishers. New York. Available at: https://archive.org/details/egyptianmytholo00scotgoog/page/n102 (Accessed: 18.08.2018)

Nantambu, K. 2001. Ancient Egypt’s Role in European History. Available at: http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=1056.0;wap2 (Accessed: 11.08.2018)

Nantambu, K. 2004. Original Glory, not out of Greece. Available at: http://www.trinicenter.com/kwame/2004/2010.htm (Accessed: 12.08.2018)

NNDB. 2014. Pythagoras. Profile. Available at: http://www.nndb.com/people/773/000087512/ (Accessed: 14.09.2018)

Obenga, T. 1995. A Lost Tradition: African Philosophy in World History, The Source Editions. Philadelphia, Pa.

Platt, D. 2001. Jesus as Fiction. Available at: http://davidpratt.info/jesus.htm (Accessed: 19.09.2018)

Pliny (77-79 AD). Natural History. Vol 1-10. Transl. by H. Racham. Harvard Univ Pr; Loeb Library Edition edition (1967).

Roebuck, C. 1960. Ionian Trade and Colonization. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27682405?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (Accessed: 22.09.2018).

Rogers, A.K. 1901. A Student’s History of Philosophy. The Macmillan Co, NY-London.

Rosicrucian Digest. May, 1952. Published (May 23, 2010) by Kessinger Publishing, LLC. P. 175.

Shield, C. 2003. Ed. The Blackwell Guide to Ancient Philosophy. Oxford.

Silverman, D. P. 2003. Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. 256 p.

Stanley, T. 1655. History of Philosophy was originally published in 4 vols. London.

Stumpf, E. 1994. Philosophy: History & Problems. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Clement of Alexandria. (150-215 AD). The Stromata. Available at: https://ethicsofsuicide.lib.utah.edu/selections/clement-alexandria/ (Accessed: 14.09.2018)

Turner, W. 1903. History of Philosophy. Ginn and Company, Publisher. Boston (USA)-London. Available at: https://archive.org/details/historyphilosop00turngoog/page/n8 (Accessed: 14.08.2018)

Vail, C.H. 1909. Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry. Available at: https://archive.org/stream/Ancient_Mysteries_And_Modern_Masonry_-_C_H_Vail/Ancient_Mysteries_And_Modern_Masonry_-_C_H_Vail_djvu.txt (Accessed: 05.08.2018)

Weor, S. 1956. The Major Mysteries. Available at: https://gnosticteachings.org/books-by-samael-aun-weor/the-major-mysteries/3615-jesus-in-egypt.html (Accessed: 02.08.2018)

Zeller, E. 1886. Outlines of History of Greek Philosophy. Longmans, Green Publ., London. Available at: https://archive.org/details/outlinesofthehis00zelluoft/page/n9 (Accessed: 09.09.2018)


GOST Style Citations


Abdatista G. The Philosophy of Colonialism: Civilization, Christianity, and Commerce. 2011. URL: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/violenceinafrica/sample-page/the-philosophy-of-colonialism-civilization-christianity-and-commerce/ (Accessed: 25.09.18).

 

Alexander B. D. History of Philosophy. Glasgow, 1922.

 

Asante M. K. An African Origin of Philosophy: Myth or Reality?. 2004. URL: http://www.asante.net/articles/26/afrocentricity/ (Accessed: 11.09.18).

 

Aucher J. Philo, 1826.

 

Ayo. The origins of the Ethiopian state. African House of Rastas. 2011. URL: https://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-origins-of-t he-ethiopian-state-by-prof-ayo/ (Accessed: 08.09.18).

 

BBC. 2014. URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/pythagoras.shtml (Accessed: 08.09.18).

 

Bowder A. Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization. Washington, DC: Karmaic Institute, 1988.

 

Besant, A. Esoteric Christianity. Quest Books. 2nd edition (January 1, 2006), 302 p.

 

Flavio Josefo. Obras completas de Flavio Josefo, en 5 volúmenes traducidos del griego al español por Luis Farré. (Buenos Aires: Acervo Cultural / Editores, 1961.) Vol. 5: Contra Apión. URL: https://elmundobiblicodigital.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/contra-apic3b3n-sobre-la-antiguedad-del-pueblo-judc3ado-por-flavio-josefo.pdf.

 

The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology / Eds.: Daniel R. McBride & Berkley. Publisher: Berkley, 2003. 432 p.

 

Diogenes L. Lives of Eminent Philosophers. (c. 366 BC).

 

Diop C. A. The African Origin of Civilization, Myth or Reality? New York: L. Hill, 1974. 336 р.

 

Dunn J. (n.d). Amasis, the Last Great Egyptian Pharaoh. URL: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amasis.htm (Accessed: 01.09.2018).

 

Frankfot H. Ancient Egyptian Religion. New York: Harper and Row, Harper torchbooks, 1948. 172 p.

 

Hasting. (1898-1904). Bible Dictionary. NY: C. Scribner's Sons (5 vols), 1963.

 

Hastings J. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 1908. URL: https://archive.org/details/encyclopaediaofr01hastuoft/page/n9 (Accessed: 09.09.2018).

 

Herodotus. (450 BC). Histories. URL: http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.html (Accessed: 01.09.2018).

 

Jasnow R. L. & Zauzich K.T. The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth: A Demotic Discourse on Knowledge & Pendant to Classical Hermetica. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. 678 p.

 

Jochannan Y. The Black Man’s Religion. In: Vol.2 The Mith of Genesis is Exodus and the Exclusion of Their African Origins. Baltimor: Black Classic Press, 1974.

 

Kendrick J. Ancient Egypt under the Pharaohs. In two vol. B. Fellovs, London, 1850. URL: https://ru.scribd.com/document/115557076/Ancient-Egypt-Under-Pharaohs-I-Kendrick-1850 (Accessed: 14.09.2018).

 

Lewis H. S. Mystical Life of Jesus. Martino Fine Books, 1929. (2015 Reprint). 279 p.

 

Mathews E. A. The Mediterranean World in Ancient Times. NY.: The Ronald Press Company, 1938. URL: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.166853/page/n7 (Accessed: 30.07.2018).

 

Muller M. Mythology of Egypt. In: The Mythology of all races. Vol. XII Egyptian Indo-Chinese. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1964. URL: https://archive.org/details/egyptianmytholo00scotgoog/page/n102 (Accessed: 18.08.2018).

 

Nantambu K. Ancient Egypt’s Role in European History. 2001. URL: http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=1056.0;wap2 (Accessed: 11.08.2018).

 

Nantambu K. Original Glory, not out of Greece. 2004. URL: http://www.trinicenter.com/kwame/2004/2010.htm (Accessed: 12.08.2018).

 

NNDB. 2014. Pythagoras. Profile. URL: http://www.nndb.com/people/773/000087512/ (Accessed: 14.09.2018).

 

Obenga T. A Lost Tradition: African Philosophy in World History, Philadelphia, Pa: The Source Editions, 1995.

 

Platt D. Jesus as Fiction. 2001. URL: http://davidpratt.info/jesus.htm (Accessed: 19.09.2018).

 

Pliny (77-79 AD). Natural History. Vol 1-10 / Transl. by H. Racham. Harvard Univ Pr; Loeb Library Edition edition, 1967.

 

Roebuck C. Ionian Trade and Colonization. 1960. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27682405?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents (Accessed: 22.09.2018).

 

Rogers A. K. A Student’s History of Philosophy. NY-London: The Macmillan Co, 1901.

 

Rosicrucian Digest. May, 1952. Published (May 23, 2010) by Kessinger Publishing, LLC. P. 175.

 

The Blackwell Guide to Ancient Philosophy / Ed. C. Shield. Oxford, 2003.

 

Silverman D. P. Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, 2003. 256 p.

 

Stanley T. History of Philosophy was originally published in 4 vols. London, 1655.

 

Stumpf E. Philosophy: History & Problems. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.

 

Clement of Alexandria. (150-215 AD). The Stromata. URL: https://ethicsofsuicide.lib.utah.edu/selections/clement-alexandria/ (Accessed: 14.09.2018).

 

Turner W. History of Philosophy. Boston (USA)-London: Ginn and Company, Publisher, 1903. URL: https://archive.org/details/historyphilosop00turngoog/page/n8 (Accessed: 14.08.2018).

 

Vail C. H. Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry. 1909. URL: https://archive.org/stream/Ancient_Mysteries_And_Modern_Masonry_-_C_H_Vail/Ancient_Mysteries_And_Modern_Masonry_-_C_H_Vail_djvu.txt (Accessed: 05.08.2018).

 

Weor S. The Major Mysteries. 1956. URL: https://gnosticteachings.org/books-by-samael-aun-weor/the-major-mysteries/3615-jesus-in-egypt.html (Accessed: 02.08.2018).

 

Zeller E. Outlines of History of Greek Philosophy. London: Longmans, Green Publ., 1886. URL: https://archive.org/details/outlinesofthehis00zelluoft/page/n9 (Accessed: 09.09.2018).