Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



academia, Old World, ancient times, language, literature


Old theories die hard in academia, at least when they are entrenched and have been defended intellectually with fervor. Only with overwhelming evidence to the contrary does the institutional status quo crumble and make way for new theories to find legitimacy within the academic mainstream. Illustrative of this struggle for acceptance in the academy has been the contest between the establishment position that ancient American civilization evolved in complete independence from the Old World and the “cultural diffusion hypothesis.” The latter proposes that American societies did not arise and develop in total isolation but were stimulated by connections from the Old World.