The age of the sages : the Axial Age in Asia and the Near by Mark W. Muesse

By Mark W. Muesse

By means of environment traditions and thinkers corresponding to Zoroaster, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Gautama Buddha, Confucius, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle facet via aspect, we will see extra essentially the questions with which they struggled, their similarities and ameliorations, and the way their principles have inspired non secular idea right down to our day

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Thus began my career-long fascination with what is clearly one of the most philosophically creative times in human history. ” Rather than being realities that are sent down from the heavens, Kaufman contended that religious ideas and symbols are created by human beings for human purposes. Because religions can function to our great benefit and to our great detriment, it is essential, he argued, to exercise a critical and conscious approach to the ways we create and appropriate our concepts. Kaufman’s approach to theology, like Smith’s, has left a deep impression on my own approach to the study of religion, and both have helped shaped the way this book has developed.

In towns and cities, one often meets others quite unlike oneself, and that fact frequently challenges a person to look at him- or herself in different ways. Conventional beliefs and ways of being are thrown into flux. Some people are challenged by such conditions to entertain new ideas, while others cling more resolutely to their old beliefs. In either case, customs and traditions often lose their taken-for-granted character. Higher densities of people also intensify exposure to the realities of life.

The Axial Age in the land of Judah proceeded under the constant threat (and eventual actuality) of the tiny kingdom’s engulfment by the larger empires that surrounded it. And Zoroaster’s reform of Iranian religion was undertaken at a time of great lawlessness in West Asia, as his society was plagued by independent warlords and bands of warriors with little respect for human life. Rapid political and social change generates great uncertainty and insecurity for many. But interestingly—and this is observed less frequently—such times are often the most creative and innovative for religious and philosophical thought.

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