Universe and Inner Self in Early Indian and Early Greek Thought

Edited by Richard Seaford

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Explores the remarkable similarities between early Indian and early Greek philosophy

From the sixth century BCE onwards there was a revolution in thought, with novel ideas such as such as that understanding the inner self is both vital for human well-being and central to understanding the universe. This intellectual transformation is sometimes called the beginning of philosophy. And it occurred – independently it seems – in both India and Greece, but not in the vast Persian Empire that divided them. How was this possible? This is a puzzle that has never been solved.

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1. The Common Origin Approach to Comparing Indian and Greek Philosophy, Nick Allen

2. The concept of ṛtá in the Ṛgveda, Joanna Jurewicz

3. Harmonia and Ṛta, Aditi Chaturvedi

4, Ātman and its Transition to Worldly Existence, Greg Bailey

5. Cosmology, Psyche and Atman in the Timaeus, the Rig Veda and the Upanishads, Hyun Höchsmann

6. Plato and Yoga, John Bussanich

7. Technologies of Self-immortalisation in Ancient Greece and Early India, Paolo Visigalli

8. Does the Concept of theōria Fit the Beginning of Indian Thought?, Alexis Pinchard

9. Self or being without boundaries. On Parmenides and Śaṅkara, Chiara Robbiano

10. Soul Chariots in Indian and Greek Thought: Polygenesis or Diffusion?, Paolo Magnone

11. "Master the chariot, master your Self": Comparing Chariot Metaphors as Hermeneutics for Mind, Self and Liberation in Ancient Greek and Indian Sources, Jens Schlieter

12. New Riders, Old Chariots: Poetics and Comparative Philosophy, Alexander S. W. Forte and Caley C. Smith

13. The Interiorisation of Ritual in India and Greece, Richard Seaford

14. Rebirth and ‘Ethicization’ in Greek and South Asian Thought, Mikel Burley

15. On Affirmation, Rejection, and Accommodation of the World in Greek and Indian Religion, Matylda Obryk

16. The Justice of the Indians, Richard Stoneman

17. Nietzsche on Greek and Indian Philosophy, Emma Syea


The philosophical traditions of Greece and India are divergent but also show striking convergences. This book is an important and valuable contribution to the comparative study of the two ancient cultures. The various chapters are learned and sophisticated and considerably enrich our understanding of Greek and Indian philosophy.
Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
Richard Seaford is Emeritus Professor of Ancient Greek at the Univerity of Exeter. He has been a Fellow of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and President of the Classical Association (UK). He is the author of numerous articles and books ranging from Homer to the New Testament.

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