Posthuman Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Thought
Becoming Angels and Demons
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 205
Width: 15.2 cm
Height: 22.9 cm
There is not just a desire but a profound human need for enhancement - the irrepressible yearning to become better than ourselves. Today, enhancement is often conceived of in terms of biotechnical intervention: genetic modification, prostheses, implants, drug therapy - even mind uploading. The theme of this book is an ancient form of enhancement: a physical upgrade that involves ethical practices of self-realization. It has been called 'angelification' - a transformation by which people become angels. The parallel process is 'daimonification', or becoming daimones. Ranging in time from Hesiod and Empedocles through Plato and Origen to Plotinus and Christian gnostics, this book explores not only how these two forms of posthuman transformation are related, but also how they connect and chasten modern visions of transhumanist enhancement which generally lack a robust account of moral improvement.
'In this pioneering and wide-ranging work, Posthuman Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Thought, M. David Litwa connects contemporary conversations in transhumanist thought with ancient philosophical traditions of angelification (alternatively, 'daimonification'). Chief among this book's virtues is its impressive range: Litwa provides comparative analyses of authors from Greco-Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Hermetic traditions, ranging from the 8th century BCE to the 3rd century CE. Litwa's work is inclusive even of traditions too often treated as marginal (e.g., 'Gnostic' texts), providing a basis for fresh comparative insights.' Travis W. Proctor, Reading Religion 'This is an enjoyable, erudite, and informative book ... This book should be read with interest and pleasure by scholars from a range of disciplines but is also accessible to undergraduates and general readers.' Tom Mackenzie, Bryn Mawr Classical Review