This comparative study of early Eastern and Western philosophy challenges every existing belief about the philosophical foundations of Western art and civilization. Spanning 30 years of intellectual inquiry and research, the author seeks to prove what many scholars have felt, but couldn't explain: that the seemingly autonomous and separate metaphysical schemes of Greek and Indian cultures have mutually influenced one another over a long period of time, to the point that today's Western world must be considered the product of not one, but of both Eastern and Western thought. This research unveils striking similarities between central early Eastern and Western metaphysical ideas and explains this phenomenon. The author explores the key philosophical paradigms of these cultures, such as Monism, the doctrine of reincarnation in India and Egypt and early Pluralism in Greece and India, to show how trade, imperialism and migration currents have allowed these ideas to circulate and intermingle freely throughout India, Greece and the Old Near East. The study is based on early historical, philosophical, spiritual and Buddhist texts from 600 BC until the era of Aristotelian thought.
Thomas McEvilley is Distinguished Lecturer in Art History at Rice University, where he has been on the faculty since 1969. He has been a visiting professor at Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. He was a recipient of the Fullbright Grant in 1993, and has been awarded an NEA critic's grant and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism by the College Art Association. The author holds a Ph.D. in classical philology. Besides Greek and Latin, he has studied Sanskrit and has taught numerous courses in Greek and Indian culture, history of religion and philosophy, and art. He has published countless scholarly monographs and articles in various journals on early Greek poetry, philosophy, and religion. He is also the author of Sculpture in the Age of Doubt (Allworth Press). He lives in New York City.