It has been a month since I started my world literature project. I have made some progress and have began reading some texts. It is an amazing project. The hurdles to overcome at times seem too large to even grasp. But with some diligence I think I can move forward, one little step at a time. My list is growing, as it should, even though I am running into problems of dating. Some sources put a text at a certain date but other sources date it differently. I am also cheating a little. Instead of listing every little scrap of text written on papyrus, inscribed in stone or preserved in mud tablets, I am only listing the source I am using for the whole collection. Well that is the technical side and I am still working out the methodology and approach.
As for insights. I have found human thought occupied with three subjects so far. The Code of Hammurabi, the Law of Manu and the Torah are great examples of the first and second concerns of human thought: Law and religion. Even in the most ancient of times laws regulating moral conduct, religious life, civilian life and lawsuits were abundant. We as a people group are very litigious. And the law carried outward from civil life to religious life, or visa versa. Religious codes of conduct, sacrifice, priesthood, etc. occupy a lot of ancient texts. Even ancient myths center around the role of the gods in the life and creation of the world. It takes centuries of Babylonian and Assyrian thought development before the role the human is even explored in relation to the gods. The third thought which I have found preserved in ancient texts is the idea of personal legacy. Kings, rulers, priests, etc. all wish to leave a written record of what they had accomplished in their life time. Lands conquered, wealth gained, armies destroyed, cities built... it goes on and on and today it is all gone, but to them in that day it was SO important for the memory to be preserved.
Well I will keep reading and reflecting. Please feel free to comment or ask questions.