By Emeritus Professor of Sociology Johann P Arnason, Shmuel N Eisenstadt, Bjorn Wittrock
The overarching subject of the booklet is the historic which means of the Axial Age, typically outlined as a interval of numerous centuries round the heart of the final millennium BCE, and its cultural recommendations. The civilizational styles that grew out of this enormously inventive part are a very lucrative topic for comparative research. The ebook comprises essays on cultural ameliorations in historic Greece, historic Israel, Iran, India and China, in addition to history advancements within the center civilizations of the traditional close to East. An introductory part offers with the historical past of the talk at the AxialAge, the theoretical questions that experience emerged from it, and the current country of the dialogue. The booklet could be necessary for comparative historians of cultures and religions, in addition to for historic sociologists drawn to the comparative research of civilizations. it's going to additionally aid linking the fields of classical, biblical and Asian experiences 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)
Jean Bottero’s interpretations of Mesopotamian religion stress the theme of transcendence, elaborated from diverse angles and subject to variations within a remarkably durable framework of religious thought. Human beings are servants of the gods, the gap between the two respective levels of being is unbridgeable, and mystical union is as inconceivable as mimetic rivalry. Most importantly, there is no positive vision of immortality; the most representative anthropological statement of the Mesopotamian tradition portrays a human quest for immortality as a complete and conclusive failure.
The Mycenaean past was transfigured into a part of the religious universe: the “heroic” complement to the divine world, whose presence had a significant effect on the relationship between humans and gods; as for the Near Eastern cultures, an extensive appropriation of their skills, inventions and—to some extent—ideas was crucial to the civilizing process that took off in Archaic Greece, but at the same time, the most distinctive Greek creation—the polis—emerged in explicit and radical contrast to the Near Eastern patterns of political life.
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. These must then be analyzed in the processual context. However, all generalizations about early civilizations are—this is the second point—handicapped by the fact that we understand (or at least have reasons to believe that we understand) some of them much better than others.
Axial Civilizations And World History (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture) by Emeritus Professor of Sociology Johann P Arnason, Shmuel N Eisenstadt, Bjorn Wittrock