Although admitting that there was a long-running debate on the origins of Philosophy, Diogenes Laertius asserts that Philosophy began with the Greeks. This can mean only that the debate centred around whether other near-ancient civilisations should get at least (partial) credit.
Certainly there is an extensive pre-Socratic tradition of philosophy in the Hellenic diaspora, but notably none in mainland Greece. This is standardly seen as the (mythological) point where reason began to coalesce out of myth.
But Plato appears to attribute this to the priesthood of Ancient Egypt in his dialogue The Timaeus:
Critias: Then listen, Socrates, to a tale which, though strange, is certainly true, having been attested by Solon, who was the wisest of the seven sages.
In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is ...the great city...called Sais. To this city came Solon [a poet rivalling Homer or Hesiod], and was received there with great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old.
This makes it sound as though they were there on an ethnological or archaeological investigation. He cunningly tries to assert the antiquity of his own people to draw them out:
he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world -- about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened.
Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you. Solon in return asked him what he meant. I mean to say, he replied, that in mind you are all young;
there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age.
Interestingly he speaks of opinion, tradition and science. He goes on to relate a myth. This is the myth of Phaeton, which is usually seen to be a Greek myth, but he says acidly that it is not:
There is a story, which even you have preserved,
and the story goes:
that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt.
He gives a rationalisation of this myth:
Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore.
He also contrasts this destruction by fire to a symmetric destruction by water:
When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea.
and cunningly uses this to explain why the Egyptians are the most ancient race!
And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us...for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient.
I certainly find it interesting that despite the modern tradition of attributing the pre-socratics the great leap from myth to reason, Plato instead attributes it to the ancient priesthood of Egypt.
Have philosphers used this as evidence for the non-greek and near-east origins of Philosophy? Who and in what books?
(The only book I am aware of is McEvilleys Shape of Ancient Thought which he uses to establish links between greek & indian phisophy).