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The Ancient Greek Roots of Human Rights
University of Texas Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-4773-2291-8 | eISBN: 978-1-4773-2293-2
Library of Congress Classification JC571.S813 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 323.01
ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
2022 PROSE Award Finalist in Classics
Although the era of the Enlightenment witnessed the rise of philosophical debates around benevolent social practice, the origins of European humane discourse date further back, to Classical Athens. The Ancient Greek Roots of Human Rights analyzes the parallel confluences of cultural factors facing ancient Greeks and eighteenth-century Europeans that facilitated the creation and transmission of humane values across history. Rachel Hall Sternberg argues that precursors to the concept of human rights exist in the ancient articulation of emotion, though the ancient Greeks, much like eighteenth-century European societies, often failed to live up to those values.
Merging the history of ideas with cultural history, Sternberg examines literary themes upholding empathy and human dignity from Thucydides’s and Xenophon’s histories to Voltaire’s Candide, and from Greek tragic drama to the eighteenth-century novel. She describes shared impacts of the trauma of war, the appeal to reason, and the public acceptance of emotion that encouraged the birth and rebirth of humane values.
See other books on: Civilization, Classical | Compassion | Empathy | Enlightenment | Human rights
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