HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND CHRISTIAN HUMANISM by William Foxwell Albright

HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND CHRISTIAN HUMANISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first volume of Professor Albright's Collected Studies consists of essays published previously in academic journals or papers read at various symposia; the themes are all related to the professor's credentials in Oriental and Semitic scholarship, archaeology, theology, philosophy. Best known for From the Stone Age to Christianity, Albright is expansively erudite and full of intellectual cross stitchings; his pronounced preferences are a generally consistent, sometimes contradictory, synthesis of Neo-Thomism and Neo-Orthodoxy. Here his judgments on historians offer two able appreciations of Toynbee and Vogelin; on humanism some rather ad hominem attacks on Tillich whose existentialist theology he does not support, and Pere Chardin whose process theology he sums up wittily, if snidely, as ""Man becomes superman in Christ"". He goes out on a limb and calls the Old Testament a ""masterpiece of empirical logic"", but manages not to fall; he investigates the nature of organized polytheism in the 2nd millennium BC, several stages of magic, myth and rite, the revolutionary digs of the Near East and the changing concepts of the Judeo-Christian tradition and of Hellenistic influence. He pens a beautiful tribute to the Egyptologist Breasted and a biting, brutal one to the Protestant Nazi Kittel. His style is uneven: the essays especially in the first half seeming strong-headed and long- winded, but always his scholarship is vivid.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1963
Publisher: McGraw-Hill