Study Questions for Mary Lefkowitz’ Not Out of Africa
Chapter 1: Introduction
1. What is the subtitle of this book? What is Afrocentrism? What is the difference between myth and history?
2. Lekfowitz describes a public lecture by Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan. What claims did ben-Jochannan make in this lecture? How did Lefkowitz react to them?
3. What goals does Lekfowitz outline for her book?
Chapter 2: "Myths of African Origins"
4. What objections does Lefkowitz raise to myths about the African origin of the Greeks and Greek culture?
5. Does Lekfowitz believe that Socrates was black? Why or why not?
6. What about ancient North Africans and Cleopatra?
Chapter 3: "Ancient Myths of Cultural Dependency"
7. What does Lefkowitz mean when she says that “the notion that Egyptian religion and philosophy had a significant influence on Greece is a cultural myth” (pg. 54)?
8. Why did European historians question the Egyptian origins of Greek culture suggested by Herodotus and other ancient historians?
9. How well does Herodotus understand the ancient Egyptians and their culture? What are his sources?
10. What does Lefkowitz mean when she suggests that Herodotus’ statements about the Egyptian origin of Greek culture are based upon analogy?
11. Why would Egyptians living in the time of Herodotus and later want to assert their priority over the Greeks and suggest that Greek thinkers got their ideas in Egypt?
“The Chapter 4: "Myth of the Egyptian Mystery System”
12. What is an Egyptian mystery system and why is it essential to the idea that Greek philosophy was stolen from Egypt?
13. What is the connection between a belief in an Egyptian mystery system and Freemasonry?
“The Chapter 5 "Myth of the Stolen Legacy”
14. How did the idea of Egyptian influence come to be considered a conscious conspiracy of Greek theft?
15. Why does Lefkowitz believe these charges to be false?
Chapter 6: Conclusion
16. Does Lefkowitz think that the idea of a stolen legacy should be taught in schools? Why or why not?
17. Does Lefkowitz think that there can be more than one historical truth or more than one way to find this truth?
18. Why does Lefkowitz think it is important to respond publicly to those who believe in a stolen legacy even though she does not agree with them?