PRINT January 1975


The Roots of Man

Alexander Marshak, The Roots of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972).

FROM A STRICTLY CHRISTIAN point of view the meaning of history is prefigured by the antediluvian era. Noah’s ark symbolizes the Church that, at the end of temporal time, will save the faithful from the flood of infidelity. With unrivaled grandeur, Michelangelo illustrates this theme in terms of a tradition that permits him to blend Biblical history with Vergilian Sibyllae who prophesized the coming of Christ. Michelangelo’s Christ descending from the heavens in his second coming is a God of Apollonian beauty and wisdom.

It was only in the 19th century that the Old Testament version of creation was replaced by an evolutionary explanation of both the origin of our species and of our civilization. After Boucher de Perthes’s discovery of prehistoric tools, antediluvian man’s history could be traced back to the Paleolithic era.

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