The introductory chapters are on Confucius and Laotzu. The author makes a point of identifying whether a philosopher embraces "superstition" or "mater...moreThe introductory chapters are on Confucius and Laotzu. The author makes a point of identifying whether a philosopher embraces "superstition" or "materialism." The dogmatically materialistic premise of the author produces an exaggerated dichotomy between the natural and often peaceful concurrence of the spiritual or inner-oriented schools and the material or external-oriented ones.
Hoŭ Ĝŭeljang inserts brief homespun reveries, which are appealing and unpretentious. For the reader, these recollections bring the values of the ancient philosophers to life in modern China.
The writing flows smoothly and at times artfully. The overall effect is positive and the book really is educational despite the aforementioned injections of marxist dogma.
An intermediate Esperantist shouldn't have too much difficulty with the vocabulary and none with the sentence structure, but the book would prove a difficult challenge for the average beginning Esperantist.
Those who lack faith in a devastating prehistoric flood, and those who believe the story of Noah had been handed down unchanged for generations before...moreThose who lack faith in a devastating prehistoric flood, and those who believe the story of Noah had been handed down unchanged for generations before being put into writing – Hebrew writing, at that – will be surprised, happily I hope, but the contents of this book.
As prelude, I should point out that the book is not an apologetic for any particular religious view. If it is an apologetic, it is for the justification of those cultures which have some form of long-standing, dramatic flood-narrative.
Nor should the focus on the Black Sea, with lesser foci on the Tarim Basin Lake and other past great lakes, be seen as an attempt to explain away the flood-legends of the world's cultures as deriving from a single source. Tremendously disastrous floods have occurred elsewhere, though hardly as massive as "Noah's Flood." It might be argued that these other flood accounts are less reliable since they were written down after the earliest writings of the Black Sea's version. However, that account, too, is unavailable except in versions written thousands of years after the fact. We are forced to do some speculating if we are to connect a late, written account, with a supposed but unevidenced oral tradition preceding that written account.
Even if the names of two authors were not listed on the cover of the book, it would be obvious to any but the illiterate that the book is a composite of two authors’ writing styles. The style of one predominates up to page 161. The narrative account of scientific research and discovery in sea basins and beds, river banks and beds, directions of riverflow, types of shells and other remains as well as mud all of which are found in different proportions in different under-water sectors, certainly are of great interest. The relevance to changes in rivers, lakes, and seas, are often intriguing. However, the dry, tedious style is apt to be off-putting to one looking for a more immediate, and crystal clear view, of the topic and sub-topics of “Noah’s Flood.”
Chapter 16, kicks in that clearer picture with a much different style and focus. From hydraulics, lakes, deserts, sea-shells and tells, our attention now turns to humanities and cultures. For interpretation, we encounter the true roots of legends and the mythical branches of historical events.. The beautifully laid out chronology beginning in that chapter approaches Robert E. Howard's impelling chronology of the Hyborian Age.
In short, depending on your own interests and style, Noah’s Flood may be dry and intriguing, or tedious and fanciful, or crisply scientific and casually speculative, or detail-bound and hypotheses-rich. Something in it may be mildly irritating, but something else will be satisfyingly productive. (less)
Handy manual consisting of 101 "Questions," "Answers," and "In-depth Comments." concluding with a "Vestigial Chapter" on "Evolution and Morality." Ver...moreHandy manual consisting of 101 "Questions," "Answers," and "In-depth Comments." concluding with a "Vestigial Chapter" on "Evolution and Morality." Very simple format makes it fun to read, and easy to set down after a page or two without loosing continuity. Questions deal with a broad but non-linear range of topics which educate, myth-bust, and correct faux science cliches. (less)
I'm not quite ready to give this a proper review. I will say that during college, it was one of my favorite books on history. In this volume, Toynbee...moreI'm not quite ready to give this a proper review. I will say that during college, it was one of my favorite books on history. In this volume, Toynbee attempts to respond to all the criticisms, at least the more relevant ones, of the previous eleven volumes of his monumental survey of history from an admittedly and obvious philosophy of history. I find it praiseworthy that in the course of writing the eleven volumes, and in the process of responding to critics, Toynbee was observant enough and self-effacing enough to not just make corrections where due, but also to modify his original scheme of the patterns of history, to better accommodate the corrections and his own deeper deliberations on the times and processes he had examined.(less)