By Emeritus Professor of Sociology Johann P Arnason, Shmuel N Eisenstadt, Bjorn Wittrock
The overarching topic of the booklet is the historic that means of the Axial Age, quite often 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 highly artistic section are a very lucrative subject for comparative research. The publication includes essays on cultural alterations in old Greece, old Israel, Iran, India and China, in addition to historical past advancements within the middle civilizations of the traditional close to East. An introductory part offers with the heritage of the controversy at the AxialAge, the theoretical questions that experience emerged from it, and the current kingdom of the dialogue. The e-book might be necessary for comparative historians of cultures and religions, in addition to for ancient sociologists attracted to the comparative research of civilizations. it may additionally support linking the fields of classical, biblical and Asian reports to broader interdisciplinary debates in the humanities sciences.
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Additional info for Axial Civilizations And World History (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture)
4. If we move from the cultural core to the social context, the “sociological considerations” included in Jaspers’s model boil down to a very sketchy description of power structures. ”28 Both the stimulus of competition and the upheavals caused by it seem to be regarded as conducive to—not determinative of—a spiritual breakthrough. The question bypassed here has to do with the complex—and not at all invariant—patterns of state formation to which the axial transformations are linked. To speak of “small states and cities” with regard to both China and Greece (Jaspers’s two main examples) is highly misleading: the size as well as the structures and the rationalizing strategies of the contending units in China were very different from the Greek pattern.
N. 34 Here the main focus will be on Eisenstadt’s work. It is, of course, not being suggested that Voegelin’s conception of the Axial Age is immaterial to our discussion—in fact, it will become clear that questions arising in connection with Eisenstadt’s arguments have some bearing on Voegelin’s approach. But for my present purposes, Eisenstadt’s historical-sociological reconceptualization of the Axial Age is of primary importance. The issue of chronological priority is immaterial, and I will not speculate about the significance of Voegelin’s work for Eisenstadt; it can be shown that an “axial turn” is, in any case, a logical result of the development of Eisenstadt’s sociological theory, and that a specific understanding of the Axial Age responds to problems first posed in more general terms.
E. ”26 Divergent possibilities are built into this mode of thought. ” But when we reconsider archaic civilizations in light of the Greek innovations, we face a double task: to spell out the implicit notions of the world, and to avoid contamination by the Greek paradigm of order. e. one which sees order as partial, fluid, problematic, and dependent on the incessant joint activity of gods and humans. The more general lesson to be drawn from this is that a comparative study of the imagined relationships between world and order (instead of taking the equation of the two for granted) would be essential to a reformulation of the Axial Age hypothesis.