Another fascinating book I’m finding hard to put down is David Sedley’s masterful treatment of ancient Greek debates about intelligent design, Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity (University of California Press, 2008). What Sedley means by “creationism” is not the Henry Morris / ICR / AIG variety, although philosophically of course there is conceptual overlap. Rather, as he puts it,
What I intend by creationism is…the thesis that the world’s structure and contents can be adequately explained only by postulating at least one intelligent designer, a creator god. (p. xvii)
The existence of such debates outside the historical sphere of biblical authority, Sedley argues, is of more than passing interest, and provides his main motive for writing the book. His aim, he notes,
is to use history in order to shed new light on the debate [between design and materialism]. However, at no point will I address the issue of biblical authority, which has explicity bulked so large in the modern era but has virtually no counterpart in the ancient pagan debate. My interest is in the arguments for and against divine creation and the appeals that were made to its explanatory power. In classical antiquity, these were formulated and deployed by a series of leading philosophers, nearly all of whom agreed, at least tacitly, that settling the issue is fundamental to establishing a proper relationship with the divine, and hence to the quest for human happiness. (p. xvi)
More about the book from the University of California Press here.