By Emeritus Professor of Sociology Johann P Arnason, Shmuel N Eisenstadt, Bjorn Wittrock
The overarching subject matter of the e-book is the historic that means of the Axial Age, normally outlined as a interval of a number of centuries round the center of the final millennium BCE, and its cultural concepts. The civilizational styles that grew out of this particularly inventive section are a very profitable topic for comparative research. The booklet includes essays on cultural differences in historic Greece, historic Israel, Iran, India and China, in addition to heritage advancements within the center civilizations of the traditional close to East. An introductory part offers with the background of the controversy at the AxialAge, the theoretical questions that experience emerged from it, and the current country of the dialogue. The ebook should be important for comparative historians of cultures and religions, in addition to for old sociologists attracted to the comparative research of civilizations. it's going to additionally support linking the fields of classical, biblical and Asian reports to broader interdisciplinary debates in the humanities sciences.
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Extra info for Axial Civilizations And World History (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture)
Two interconnected questions are involved here, and Jaspers’s preemptive answers to them are neither clear nor consistent: What are the long-term effects of axial legacies, and the patterns of their formative influences? And how is this cultural impact linked to imperial formations? The modes of reinterpretation and systematization of axial legacies differ from one civilization to another. To mention only the most obvious case, the Christian and Islamic reinventions of monotheism differ from the cultural-religious dynamics of Indian and Chinese traditions.
36 Paradoxically, the most emphatically innovative episodes of the modern transformation appear as the most revealing symptoms of dependence on traditional sources. Revolutionary ideologies are rooted in axial traditions, directly or indirectly, and this connection becomes the starting-point for a more general inquiry into the relationships between civilizational legacies and the multiple patterns of modernity. For a representative summary of Eisenstadt’s view on the Axial Age, we can turn to the introduction to the 1986 volume on axial civilizations; some variations on certain points may be found in other texts, but I do not think that there are any significant discrepancies.
The above-mentioned inter-dynamic of politics and religion, had in some way been neutralized. These issues belong to the broader—and particularly intractable—problematic of the background to the axial breakthrough in India. But let us return to the more positive side of the problem. The third point to note is the specific historicity of the civilizations in question, at least of the better documented and understood among them. Distinctive inventions and developmental patterns are characteristic of each case.