SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Press Conference

Michael Witzel
Professor Michael Witzel

Date: 14 May 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 14 May 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: L67

Type of Event: 0

Last year, Michael Witzel, the Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, published a revolutionary book, the Origin of the World’s Mythologies.

By using similar methods to those applied in genetics and linguistics, he showed that the world’s mythologies share a common origin, ultimately dating back to the dawn of our species, as much as 200,000 years ago. He discovered that the earliest myths aligned with the earliest human migrations out of Africa.

Then he analysed the mythologies of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, India, Japan, China and the Americas and found that they all had a common structure, a repeating sequence of 15 key elements.

He concluded that he had stumbled across the first novel, an epic tale of the universe from beginning to end, edited out of older myths by palaeolithic shamans, 50,000 years ago. This is the story which spread across the whole of Eurasia and the Americas and is still deeply embedded in our thinking even today.

Michael Witzel will be in London to give the Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion at SOAS from May 12-16.

Michael is the President of ASLIP (Association for the Study of Language in Prehistory). ASLIP and the Department of the Study of Religions at SOAS are hosting a press conference on Wednesday 14 May from 6-8 pm, at which he will be giving a presentation followed by questions and drinks. This event is aimed at the media and academics who do not have time to attend the full cycle of lectures.

If you want to know more about the oldest book in the world, if you want to discover which parts of the great monotheistic religions and modern ideologies are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years old, or are just interested in finding out about the new emerging scientific paradigm which integrates mythology, linguistics, archaeology and genetics and the extraordinary window that it is opening into our remote past then this is an unmissable event.

As seating is limited to 56 people, we have to assign places on a first come-first served basis, so would be delighted to hear from you as soon as possible, with mentions of any guests you may want to bring along. There are also a limited number of opportunities for individual interviews with Professor Witzel during his week in London. If you are interested, please let us know.

We hope to see you on Wednesday 14 May, 6-8pm, at SOAS, Room L67.

Best Regards,

Dr Peter Flügel, Department of the Study of Religions, SOAS
Jonathan Sherman Morris, Information Officer, ASLIP.


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