Sunday, September 06, 2020

Cautionary tale …

… Timothy W Ryback - Bonfires of Reason | Literary Review | Issue 489. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Perhaps Ovenden’s finest achievement in Burning the Books is to demonstrate the importance and enduring power of preserved knowledge, whether in clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, bound codices, printed books or digital bytes. ‘Rulers wanted to have information that would help them to decide the optimal time to go to war, plant a crop, harvest a crop, and so on,’ Ovenden writes of the cuneiform tablets of ancient Mesopotamia. ‘Today, the future continues to be dependent on access to the knowledge of the past and will be even more so as digital technology changes the way we can predict what will happen.’

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