By Emeritus Professor of Sociology Johann P Arnason, Shmuel N Eisenstadt, Bjorn Wittrock

The overarching topic of the ebook is the ancient that means of the Axial Age, usually outlined as a interval of numerous centuries round the heart of the final millennium BCE, and its cultural techniques. The civilizational styles that grew out of this tremendously inventive part are a very profitable topic for comparative research. The ebook includes essays on cultural adjustments in historical Greece, historical Israel, Iran, India and China, in addition to history advancements within the middle civilizations of the traditional close to East. An introductory part bargains with the background of the controversy at the AxialAge, the theoretical questions that experience emerged from it, and the current kingdom of the dialogue. The publication can be beneficial for comparative historians of cultures and religions, in addition to for old sociologists drawn to the comparative research of civilizations. it may additionally aid linking the fields of classical, biblical and Asian experiences to broader interdisciplinary debates in the humanities sciences.

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Additional resources for Axial Civilizations And World History (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture)

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For Jaspers, ”the spiritual process” of the Axial Age is an empirically discovered starting-point for a “common 8 Jaspers (1953), 18. ” The period “when man, as we know him today, came into being”9 is the obvious—indeed the only possible—key to global history. Jaspers presents this relocation of the axis as a definitive correction. But it seems legitimate to assume that our attempts to understand the Axial Age will reflect a Vorverständnis derived from Western sources—more specifically, from the changing combinations of Greek and Jewish sources that have been central to Western traditions, and that this can only be corrected through ongoing confrontation with the other heirs to axial legacies.

Arnason tionship between political power and religious imagination. ” This line of thought is explicitly linked to the question of the Axial Age: Gauchet suggests that we cannot understand “the prodigious groundswell” from China to Greece, and from 800 to 200 bce, which “divides the history of religion into two phases—and which K. ”11 If there is a mutually constitutive, and always to some degree mutually transformative dynamic of politics and religion at work in early civilizations, we must think of the axial breakthrough(s) as culmination(s) of long-term processes; this does not exclude structural innovations, even of a radical kind.

34 johann p. arnason dian axial breakthrough—less clear. We can make some kind of connection between state formation in the eastern Ganges plain and the rise of Buddhism, but it is much less obvious what the Upanishads might have had to do with that kind of background. When it comes to the Near East, the Jewish breakthrough has less to do with competition between “small states and cities” than with the uncertain fortunes of a small state in an environment dominated by overwhelmingly powerful empires.

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