The contemporary world has been shaped by two important and potent myths. Karl Jaspers' construct of the "axial age" envisions the common past (800-200 BC), the time when Western society was born and world religions spontaneously and independently appeared out of a seemingly shared value set. Conversely, the myth of the "dark green golden age," as narrated by David Suzuki and others, asserts that the axial age and the otherworldliness that accompanied the emergence of organized religion ripped society from a previously deep communion with nature. Both myths contend that to maintain balance we must return to the idealized past. In Convenient Myths , Iain Provan illuminates the influence of these two deeply entrenched and questionable myths, warns of their potential dangers, and forebodingly maps the implications of a world founded on such myths.
Iain Provan is the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College. He lives in the Vancouver, Canada area.
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction 1 The Turning Point of History The Axial Age 2 Serious People, Bad Ideas An Inquisition on the Axial Age 3 Procrustes and His Bed Mutilating the Facts to Fit a Theory 4 Happy Hunting (and Gathering) The Dark Green Golden Age 5 Hard Times in the Paleolithic Constant Battles and Unequal Rights 6 Ecologically Noble Ancestors? Why Spiritual People Don't Necessarily Look after Their Living Space 7 You Can't Always Get What You Want Desire (and Need) and the Past 8 The Past Reloaded A Brief History of Ancient Time 9 On Loving Your Dead Neighbor Violence, Knowledge, and History 10 On Truth and Consequences Why Myths about the Past Matter Notes Bibliography Index