Conversing With the Planets: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos

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9780870816734: Conversing With the Planets: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos
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Revised and updated, Conversing With The Planets interweaves astronomy, mythology, and anthropology to explore what the universe means to us and what it meant to our ancestors. Aveni also deftly illustrates the influence of our culture and beliefs on the path of scientific discovery, tracing the rise and fall of astronomy as blown by the prevailing winds of religious, philosophical, and political change.

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About the Author:

The Russell Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University, Anthony Aveni pioneered the study of astronomical anthropology and archaeoastronomy. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education selected him as 1982 Professor the Year; in 1991, Rolling Stone named him one of America’s top ten college professors. He is the author of Empires of Time, Behind the Crystal Ball, and Uncommon Sense: Understanding Nature's Truths Across Time and Culture, and several other books, as well as co-editor (with Gabrielle Vail) of The Madrid Codex.

From Kirkus Reviews:

How ``the common sense of one era becomes the superstition of another,'' by Aveni, astronomer-anthropologist at Cornell and author of Empires of Time (1989). Aveni wants to understand how our ancestors made scientific discoveries, in order to know how we make them. The key is imagination, which ``makes visible that which before was invisible.'' In the minds of ancient Greece and Maya, he contends, nature was not compartmentalized, and humans and nature were intimately linked. Aveni traces this worldview through the history of naked-eye astronomy, focusing on the planets, especially Venus. He shows how ancient astronomers were first-rate observers, able to trace the strange motions of our sister planet through the skies. But unlike modern astronomers, who describe these motions in mechanical terms, the ancients saw them through the lenses of metaphor and analogy. The movements of Venus were those of a goddess, wanton or chaste according to the season, and intimately allied to cycles of human gestations, rainfall, the lives of bees, and so on. In time, this understanding gave rise to the queen of ancient sciences, astrology. Aveni acknowledges that such thinking seems antiquated today (he calls astrology a ``misfit''), but he does lend a sympathetic ear to the Gaia hypothesis, which perceives the earth as a single living being, analogous to an ancient Greek goddess. Aveni suggests that truth, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder, and that modern science may well be yet another mythology. As this troubling conclusion indicates, his is a brilliant effort, bubbling with ideas and showing unusual sympathy for outmoded points of view. (Thirty b&w illustrations--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780812919752: Conversing with the Planets: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0812919750 ISBN 13:  9780812919752
Publisher: Crown, 1992
Hardcover

9781568360218: Conversing With the Planets: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos (Kodansha Globe)

Kodans..., 1994
Softcover

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