Egypt’s Role in the Origins of Science: An Essay in Aligning Conditions, Evidence and Interpretations

Abstract

The author argues that the evidence of observation in Egyptian third millennium BCE medicine and astronomy should allow ancient Egypt an important place in the history of science. The argument is primarily based on the absence of evidence of scientific observation in Mesopotamia preceding the Egyptian material, which renders the Egyptian observations of the movements of celestial bodies and trauma the earliest signs of science. While assigning “predictions” and “mathematical astronomy” a more important place, Assyriologists also date what they can document to long after the Egyptian observations and predictions, highlighting the chronological precedence of Egypt. Furthermore, the author stresses a complicated discourse involving the exchange of ideas that was ultimately stymied by the growing importance of religion and magic. Yet the development was not as linear as the usual versions suggest.

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Warburton, D. A., (2016) “Egypt’s Role in the Origins of Science: An Essay in Aligning Conditions, Evidence and Interpretations”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 9(1), p.72-94. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v09i1_warburton

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David A. Warburton (Topoi, Berlin)

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