Publication date:29 December 2001
Length of book:472 pages
George Anastaplo has written brilliantly and persuasively about ancient and modern Western political philosophy and literature and about American Constitutional history and law. With his latest book Anastaplo turns away from his areas of admitted expertise to offer, in his own words, 'the explorations of a determined amateur with some practice in reading.' The essays contained in this volume were originally conceived as a set of seminars, each culminating in a public lecture, which in turn formed the basis for contributions to Encyclopedia Brittanica's 1961-1998 series The Great Ideas Today. Gathered in this one volume, But Not Philosophy provides useful and thought-provoking introductions to seven major 'schools' of non-Western thought: Mesopotamian, ancient African, Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist, Islamic, and North American Indian. Anastaplo studies ancient literary epics and legal codes and examines religious traditions and systems of thought, providing detailed references to authoritative histories and commentators. Movingly and thoughtfully written, the essays encourage readers to bring their own Western traditions under similar scrutiny, to study our own grasp of the divine, reliance upon nature and causality, and dependence on philosophy-to learn about what we are from what we are not.
This is a unique book that deserves a wide readership among students of religion and of philosophy. . . . I believe it will be of enormous usefulness both to beginning students and to mature scholars: it will help all searchers for the truth attain a clearer view of the intellectual depths in the non-Western traditions, and of their continued challenges to us.