George G.M. James’ Stolen Legacy

Type of Work: Philosophy

First Published: 1954

 

 

Principal Personages

The historical dissertation of Stolen Legacy revolves around two groups of people – the Egyptian Mystery System and the Greek philosophers.

In its golden age, Egypt was widely-renowned as the world’s nucleus of advanced knowledge in the fields of science and art. The Egyptian Mystery System is an ancient secret order dedicated to illuminate the minds of people all over the world. Egyptian priests taught their students about the Egyptian theory of Salvation, the ten virtues and the seven liberal arts. Egyptian Mystery schools teaches that enlightenment on these subjects is believed to be the key to eternal happiness.

The doctrines of opposites, Harmony, Fire, Mind, Immortality, and the purpose of philosophy are commonly attributed to the Greeks. However, in this book, James argues that Greek philosophers did not develop these ideas on their own, but rather learned them from the Egyptians. Pre-Socratic philosophers in particular, draw cynicism because historians could not agree on their origin, date of birth, and in some instances, if they existed at all. Further comparisons proved that Greek philosophy was not merely parallel to Egyptian philosophy, but a direct derivative of it. This book explores this and all inconsistencies in the widely-believed history of philosophy.

The Work

Stolen Legacy is an in-depth research that posits the fact that instead of Greek philosophers, the Egyptians should be credited for discovering philosophy. Moreover, according to its author, every development in philosophy since its discovery is falsely attributed to the Greeks. This work examines Egypt’s contribution to humanity, arts, science, spirituality and philosophy – and how the Greek philosophers stole it and claimed it as their own.

 

Analysis

Greek philosophy does not exist because their ideas were copied and stolen from the Egyptians. James’ book is centered on his aim to expound on this idea, providing ample sources to support and explain his hypothesis. In this book, he expounds on his seven main arguments:

Extreme measures were made by Greek’s so-called great thinkers to erase the Egyptian influence altogether and to pass off Greek philosophy as its own.

The political strife, the Athenian government’s persecution, and the public’s negative reception to philosophy – all of these hostile factors have made it impossible for philosophy to grow and flourish in Greece.

The Egyptian Mystery system predates Greek philosophy. This argument explores the absolute similarities and agreements in both philosophies.

Greek philosophy is derived from Egyptian philosophy.

Consequently, Greek doctrines are derived from Egyptian doctrines.

Egypt, not Greece, educated the ancient world in the knowledge of arts and sciences.

The Memphite Theology, a document about Egyptian religion, philosophy and cosmological knowledge, proves that Egypt is not only the source of Greek philosophers, but also of the entire scientific world.

Critical Context

In light of the world’s crisis of racial prejudice, this book was written for the enlightenment of its readers. The author felt it was necessary to reconsider the global perception of African people by introducing a positive shift – from fear to appreciation, from intolerance to awe. By properly crediting the Egyptian people, James believed that this would lead to more people appreciating Africa in a new light.

In this book, he also aims for people of color to appreciate themselves, to see their ancestors’ intelligence, to draw inspiration from it and to apply it to their own lives.

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