Book Review: ‘The Life of Greece’ by Will Durant

Will Durant and The Life of Greece The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

Having just finished The Story of Civilization, Volume 2 by Will Durant this week, let’s talk about The Life of Greece.

Did the Jews make up Ecclesiastes as a way of keeping up with the Greeks and their philosophy? Durant says they did. But the fact that Durant claims such is borne of what C.S. Lewis calls “chronological snobbery,” as well as a bias to invalidate the truth of God’s Word.

If only the self-impressed scholars of the last century would concede that their framework for understanding the ancient past is an impediment more than an aid. Perhaps then they would be able to consider alternative theories to the prevailing view that the Bible is borrowed from greater, richer, more sophisticated neighbors of the Jews, the Hebrews, and the ancient Israelites.

Why can it not be that what we read in God’s Word actually happened? And why can it not be that the borrowing and modifying happened in the opposite way to what the likes of Durant suppose?

Who Borrowed from Whom?

If for instance all ancient mythologies have some kind of global flood myth which resembles the account of Noah in Genesis, it is not the Jews who borrowed from everyone else. Nor is it self-evident that some committedly secular psychological explanation accounts for a bug in the human subconscious which gave independent rise to such stories in diverse places.

We would be wiser to suppose that if all the ancients pointed more or less to events at the outset of human history, something actually happened which they all have some vaguer or clearer memory of.

And what if rather than the Greeks borrowing from the Jews, the wisest of the Greeks were like those the Apostle Paul encountered on Mars Hill as having an altar dedicated to “the unknown god”? 

The truth is that the truth being sought more fully, yet still in some measure of futility, by the Greeks, and later by the Romans, compared with other peoples, was used by the Most High God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to prepare the world for the arrival of the Messiah through God’s chosen people Israel, and that the conditions were by design prepared beforehand for the gospel to go forth to all nations at that time.

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