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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 November 2015
16 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2015 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Battling the Gods A study of atheism in the ancient world by Tim Whitmarsh The major thesis of Tim Whitmarsh's book is that atheism isn't a product of the modern age, but rather reaches back to early Western intellectual tradition in the ancient Greek world. The author questions the roots of free thinking, attributing it back to the scepticism movement in ancient Greece, when heretics argued that history should be perceived as a result of human action rather than divine intervention. Whitmarsh, in Battling the Gods, covers about 1,000 years of tension between Olympism, orthodoxy and heresy, ending with the imposition of Christianity on the Roman Empire in AD313. He journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, explaining how Greek science and secularism broadly challenged faith and caused disbelief in the gods, prior to the European Enlightenment. By providing astute commentary, the author explores the ideas of individuals that devised theories of the cosmos based on matter. "They developed mathematical tools that could be applied to the world around them, and tried to understand that world in material terms," Whitmarsh says. Aniston and De Niro team up Jennifer Aniston will be hitting the big screen once again, in the new drama The Comedian. Aniston is set to star opposite Robert De Niro, with plans in progress to commence production next year in the Big Apple. The plot revolves around De Niro, who will star as a stand-up comic known for dishing out insults. Enter Aniston, who will play the role of the female protagonist who meets the comic at a wedding, after which they develop a close relationship. When it comes to the stand-up material, you can rest assured; the material has been written by Jeffrey Ross of the Comedy Central Roast, so there'll be plenty of laughs to be had. In the meantime, the former Friends actress has been busy shooting The Yellow Birds, a drama based on the Iraq War and due to be released in 2016. Source: Variety "Their scepticism left a rich legacy of literature, philosophy and science, and was defended by great writers like Epicurus, Lucretius, Cicero and Lucian." Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity's establishment as Rome's state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label ‘atheist’ was used now to demonise anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy - and so it would remain for centuries. As the 21st century shapes up into a time of mass information, it is also, paradoxically, a time of collective amnesia concerning the tangled histories of religions. Greeks had the intellectual space within which to exercise reason in pursuing ontological and normative questions, setting the foundations of philosophy and later, science. Whitmarsh proves Greek religion functioned mainly as an expression of civic engagement, both at the local level of the city-states, each of which had its own favoured divinities and rites, and at the broader level of greater Hellenicity. Source: Amazon, New York Times Live sand sculpting at the Brisbane Greek Club Peter Papamanolis left visitors to The Greek Club in Brisbane speechless with his 'sand and water' sculpting skills. Apart from being an De Niro and Aniston are set to co-star in The Comedian. PHOTO: GEEKTYRANT.COM acclaimed jeweller, Mr Papamanolis was one of the most popular artists in this year’s national competition on the Gold Coast. His most recent creation, an interpretation of Byzantine iconography for a nativity scene at The Greek Club in Brisbane, is in fact a threetonne sand sculpture which took three days to create. The intricate sculpture depicts Mary holding baby Jesus, with a cow and horse looking on through the barn. "And a mouse. I put that in there for the children," Papamanolis said, explaining that kids are the ones who spot those sorts of details. "It's heartbreaking when you take them [the sculptures] down." "You spent all those hours and then, as you pull it down, you see all the good sand under the surface and you just want to sculpt again. You can see new shapes, Peter Papamanolis DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM new ideas in what is under there. Even here, I can see something else it could be." The sculpture will remain in the foyer of The Greek Club in Brisbane until the new year. Source: West End Magazine, ABC Sand sculpture of Baby Jesus and Mother Mary. PHOTO: GLENN HUNT/ FAIRFAX MEDIA.
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