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Encyclopedia > Axial Age
According to the Axial Age theory, the philosophy behind the world's major religions sprang from a six-hundred year span of time in the first millennium BCE.

German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term the Axial Age (Achsenzeit in the German language original) to describe the period from 800 BCE to 200 BCE, during which, according to Jaspers, similarly revolutionary thinking appeared in China, India and the Occident. The period is also sometimes referred to as the Axis Age.[1] Image File history File links 5_religions. ... Image File history File links 5_religions. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... The 1st millennium BC encompasses the Iron Age and sees the rise of successive empires. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... German (called Deutsch in German; in German the term germanisch is equivalent to English Germanic), is a member of the western group of Germanic languages and is one of the worlds major languages. ... (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) Ruins of the training grounds at Olympia, Greece. ... (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) The 2nd century BC started on January 1, 200 BC and ended on December 31, 101 BC. // Coin of Antiochus IV. Reverse shows Apollo seated on an omphalos. ... Occident has a number of meanings. ...


Jaspers, in his Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (The Origin and Goal of History), identified a number of key Axial Age thinkers as having had a profound influence on future philosophy and religion, and identified characteristics common to each area from which those thinkers emerged. Jaspers saw in these developments in religion and philosophy a striking parallel without any obvious direct transmission of ideas from one region to the other, having found no recorded proof of any extensive inter-communication between Ancient Greece, the Middle East, India and China. Jaspers held up this age as unique, and one which to compare the rest of the history of human thought to. Jaspers' approach to the culture of the middle of the first millennium BCE has been adopted by other scholars and academics, and has become a point of discussion in the history of religion. The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... The Temple to Athena, the Parthenon Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around three thousand years. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... The history of ideas is a field of research in history that deals with the expression, preservation, and change of human ideas over time. ... History of Buddhism History of Christianity History of Eastern Orthodox Christianity History of Hinduism History of Islam History of Judaism History of Protestantism History of Rastafarianism History of Roman Catholicism History of Santeria History of Shintoism See also Religion Categories: Religion ...

Contents

A Pivotal Age

Jaspers argued that during the Axial Age "the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and independently... And these are the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today".[2] These foundations were laid by individual thinkers within a framework of a changing social environment.


Thinkers and movements

Jaspers' axial shifts included the rise of Platonism, which would later become a major influence on the Western world through both Christian and secular thought throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Buddhism, another of the world's most influential philosophies, was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, who lived during this period. In China, Confucianism arose during this era, where it remains a profound influence on social and religious life. Zoroastrianism, another of Jaspers' examples, is crucial to the development of monotheism.[3] Jaspers also included the authors of the Upanishads, Laozi, Homer, Socrates, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Thucydides, Archimedes, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Deutero-Isaiah as Axial figures. Jaspers held Socrates, Confucius and Siddhartha Gautama in especially high regard, describing them as exemplary human beings, or as a "paradigmatic personality".[4] Platonic idealism is the theory that the substantive reality around us is only a reflection of a higher truth. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... Buddhism is a dharmic, non-theistic religion and a philosophy. ... Standing Buddha, ancient region of Gandhara, northern Pakistan, 1st century CE. Gautama Buddha was a South Asian spiritual leader who lived between approximately 563 BCE and 483 BCE. Born Siddhartha Gautama in Sanskrit, a name meaning descendant of Gotama whose aims are achieved/who is efficacious in achieving aims, he... Wenmiao Temple, a Confucian Temple in Wuwei, Gansu Confucian temple in Kaohsiung, Republic of China (Taiwan). ... Zoroastrianism (Avestan DaÄ“nā Vañuhi the good religion)[1][2] is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... In theology, monotheism (Greek μόνος(monos) = single and θεός(theos) = God) is the belief in the existence of one deity or God, or in the oneness of God. ... The Upanishads (उपनिषद्, Upanişad) are part of the Hindu Shruti scriptures which primarily discuss meditation and philosophy and are seen as religious instructions by most schools of Hinduism. ... Laozi (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Lao Tzu; also Lao Tse, Laotze, Lao Zi, and in other ways) was an ancient Chinese philosopher. ... Homer (Greek: , ) was an early Greek poet and aoidos (rhapsode) traditionally credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. ... This page is about the ancient Greek philosopher. ... Parmenides of Elea (Greek: , early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Hellenic city on the southern coast of Italy. ... Heraclitus of Ephesus (Ancient Greek - Herákleitos ho Ephésios (Herakleitos the Ephesian)) (about 535 - 475 BC), known as The Obscure (Ancient Greek - ho Skoteinós), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor. ... Bust of Thucydides residing in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ... Archimedes (Greek: c. ... Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston Elijah (Hebrew: אליהו, ) was a prophet in Israel in the 9th century BCE. He appears in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, Mishnah, Christian Bible, and the Quran. ... Isaiah the Prophet in Hebrew Scriptures was depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. ... Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt van Rijn. ... The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: Sefer Yshayah ספר ישעיה) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament, written by Isaiah[1]. // The first 39 chapters of Isaiah consist primarily of prophecies of the judgments awaiting nations that are persecuting Judah. ... Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu, lit. ...


Characteristics of the Axial Age

Jaspers argued that the Axial Age gave birth to philosophy as a discipline.
Jaspers argued that the Axial Age gave birth to philosophy as a discipline.

Jaspers described the Axial Age as "an interregnum between two ages of great empire, a pause for liberty, a deep breath bringing the most lucid consciousness".[5] Jaspers was particularly interested in the similarities in circumstance and thought of the Age's figures. These similarities included an engagement in the quest for human meaning.[6] and the rise of a new elite class of religious leaders and thinkers in China, India and the Occident.[7] The three regions all gave birth to, and then institutionalised, a tradition of travelling scholars, who roamed from city to city to exchange ideas. These scholars were largely from extant religious traditions; in China, Confucianism and Taoism; in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism; in the Occident, the religion of Zarathustra; in Canaan, Judaism; and in Greece, sophism and other classical philosophy. Download high resolution version (804x1052, 186 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (804x1052, 186 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Scholars debate about what exactly constitutes an empire (from the Latin imperium, denoting military command within the ancient Roman government). ... Liberty is generally considered a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. ... Look up elite, élite in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Taoism is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese religious and philosophical traditions and concepts. ... Jainism (pronounced in English as IPA ), traditionally known as Jain Dharma (जैन धर्म), is a dharmic religion and philosophy originating in Ancient India. ... Zarathustra can refer to one of two people: Zarathustra, also spelled Zarathushtra or Zoroaster, was an ancient Iranian prophet, founder of the Zoroastrian religion. ... For other uses, see Canaan (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Sophism (gr. ...


Jaspers argues that these characteristics appeared under the same sociological circumstances: China, India and the Occident each comprised multiple small states engaged in internal and external struggles. Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies. ...


The term and the theory

The word axial in the phrase Axial Age means pivotal. The name comes from Jaspers' use of the German word Achse, which means both "axis" and "pivot". Pivotal Corporation is a leading CRM company that is 100 percent purpose-built to serve the demanding requirements of mid-sized enterprises – a powerful, highly flexible application platform, a complete set of CRM applications, and low-cost, results-producing implementation services. ... The axis of rotation of a rotating body is a line such that the distance between any point on the line and any point of the body remains constant under the rotation. ...


German sociologist Max Weber played an important role in Jaspers' thinking.[8][9][10] Shmuel Eisenstadt argues in the introduction to The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations that Max Weber's work in his The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism and Ancient Judaism provided a background for the importance of the period, and notes parallels with Eric Voegelin's Order and History.[7] Wider acknowledgement of Jaspers' work came after he presented it at a conference and published it in Dædalus in 1975, and Jaspers' suggestion that the period was uniquely transformative and important generated discussion amongst other scholars, such as Johann Aranason.[10] For other persons named Max Weber, see Max Weber (disambiguation). ... Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt (b. ... For other persons named Max Weber, see Max Weber (disambiguation). ... The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism is a book written by Maximilian Weber, a German economist and sociologist in early XX century. ... The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Budhism also known as just the The Religion of India is a book written by Maximilian Weber, a German economist and sociologist in the early twentieth century. ... Ancient Judaism (book) - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... Eric Voegelin, born Erich Hermann Wilhelm Vögelin, (January 3, 1901 – January 19, 1985) was a political philosopher. ... Daedalus and Icarus, by Charles Paul Landon, 1799 (Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Alençon) In Greek mythology, Daedalus (Latin, also Hellenized Latin Daedalos, Greek Daidalos cunning worker and Etruscan Taitle) was a most skillful artificer and was even said to have first invented images. ...


Religious historian Karen Armstrong explored the period in her The Great Transformation,[11] and the theory has been the focus of academic conferences.[12] Usage of the term has expanded beyond Jaspers' original formulation. Armstrong argues that the Enlightenment was a "Second Axial Age", including thinkers such as Isaac Newton, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein,[13] and that religion today needs to return to the transformative Axial insights.[14] In contrast, it has been suggested that the modern era is a new Axial Age, wherein traditional relationships between religion, secularity and traditional thought are changing.[15] The term has also appeared outside academia; it has been adopted by Axial Age Publishing.[16] Karen Armstrong (born November 14, 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire, England) is an author who writes on Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Sir Isaac Newton, (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) [ OS: 25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727][1] was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of science. ... Sigmund Freud (born Sigismund Schlomo Freud) May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939; (IPA: ) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who co-founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... Albert Einstein ( ) (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who is best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass-energy equivalence, . He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the... The Modern-Era of NASCAR is a dividing line in NASCARs history. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ...


In fiction

The Axial Age is the central theme of Gore Vidal's historical novel Creation, as the narrator travels the world and encounters all the major thinkers of his era. Vidal does not use Jaspers' term, though. Gore Vidal in 1948, photographed by Carl Van Vechten Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (born October 3, 1925) (pronounced , occasionally , , etc) is an American author of novels, stage plays, screenplays, and essays. ...


Further reading

  • Shmuel Eisenstadt (1982). The Axial Age: The Emergence of Transcendental Visions and the Rise of Clerics. European Journal of Sociology 23(2):294–314.

Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt (b. ...

Notes and references

  • Jaspers, Karl; Bullock, Michael (Tr.) (1953). The Origin and Goal of History (1st English ed.). London: Routledge and Keegan Paul. LCCN 53001441. Originally published as Jaspers, Karl (1949). Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (1st ed.). München: Piper Verlag. LCCN 49057321.
  1. ^ Mickolichek, Lindsay (2005). The Axis Age (PDF). EDMT380.001. Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
  2. ^ Jaspers, Karl (1951). Way to Wisdom, 99-100.  as quoted in Norfleet, Phil. The Axial Age of Karl Jaspers. Great Minds. Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
  3. ^ Boyce, Mary (1979). Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23903-6. 
  4. ^ Jaspers, Karl (1962). The Great Philosophers: The Foundations, Hannah Arendt, trans., London: Ralph Manheim, 99-105.  cited in Armstrong, Karen (2006). The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions, First edition, New York: Knopf, 287. ISBN 0-676-97465-1. 
  5. ^ Jaspers, 1953, p.51 quoted in Armstrong, p. 367
  6. ^ Neville, Robert Cummings (2002). Religion in Late Modernity. SUNY Press, 104. ISBN 0-7914-5424-X. 
  7. ^ a b Eisenstadt, S. N. (1986). "Introduction", The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations. SUNY Press, 1-2. ISBN 0-88706-094-3. 
  8. ^ Karl Jaspers. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006). Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
  9. ^ Szakolczai, Arpad (2003). The Genesis of Modernity, First edition hardcover, UK: Routledge, 80-81. ISBN 0-415-25305-5. 
  10. ^ a b Szakolczai, Arpad (2006). "Historical sociology", Encyclopedia of Social Theory. UK: Routledge, 251. ISBN 0-415-29046-5. 
  11. ^ Armstrong, Karen (2006). The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions, First edition, New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-676-97465-1. 
  12. ^ Strath, Bo (2005). Axial Transformations. Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
  13. ^ Armstrong, p.356
  14. ^ Armstrong, pp.390-399
  15. ^ Yves Lambert (1999). "Religion in Modernity as a New Axial Age: Secularization or New Religious Forms?". Sociology of Religion 60: 303. 
  16. ^ Axial Age Publishing. URL accessed June 14, 2006.

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... Professor Nora Elizabeth Mary Boyce (2 August 1920 - 4 April 2006) was the worlds leading doyenne of Zoroastrian studies. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975) was a Jewish-German (later American) political theorist. ... Karen Armstrong (born November 14, 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire, England) is an author who writes on Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. ... Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt (b. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... Karen Armstrong (born November 14, 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire, England) is an author who writes on Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (166th in leap years), with 200 days remaining. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Axial Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (491 words)
The German philosopher Karl Jaspers defined the Axial Age as the period from 800 BCE to 200 BCE during which the same intensity of thought appeared in three different regions: China, India and the Occident.
Characteristically, the literature from the Axial Age shifts its focus of attention from the herdeitary nobility to the intellectual élite.
Jaspers believes that the Axial Age has significance for the period after 200 BCE, because this age became the common denominator of mankind, the philosophy of this period is a call for limitless communication and the thinking of this period is the measure of the quality of thinking to all future generations.
CSP - 'The Interspiritual Age: Practical Mysticism for the Third Millennium' (7534 words)
We are at the threshold of a new age, a Second Axial Age, a decisive period that will be characterized by a deep sense of community among the religions – of interspiritual wisdom – and a profound commitment to environmental justice.
These terms are actually interchangeable, for the Second Axial Age names these two fundamental shifts in consciousness that imply one another: the emergence of interspiritual wisdom from the discovery of community among members of the various religions, and the serious focus on the ultimate value of and concern for the Earth.
This particular change and the new age it announces present an opportunity for a real culture of peace and gradually carefully to be erected from the ashes of countless conflicts of the past.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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