The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
In one astonishing, short period – the ninth century BCE – the peop...more
Along the way I had a little epiphany: It seemed that many major faith traditi...more
If you've already written God's biography (A History of God), surely it's a cakewalk to tackle the era before His ascendancy in theological affairs. But making sense of four disparate cultures and religious traditions in the space of 400 pages proves to be a risky proposition for Armstrong. Critics agree that her central theme, "the gradual elimination of violence from religion" (New York Times), makes for compelling reading, as does her weaving together of similarities among disparate faiths. T...more
Een historische overzicht van wat de auteur naar Jaspers de 'spiltijd' noemt, de periode in de menselijke geschiedenis, van pakweg 800 tot 200 v. Chr. waarin al onze moderne religieuze tradities zijn ontstaan.
Armstrong behandelt een enorme hoeveelheid filosofen, theologen, profeten en auteurs, uit vier windstreken (Griekenland, Israël, India en China). Wat er in de rest van de wereld gebeurde, wordt volledig genege...more
I borrowed this from our friend Steve last fall, and I haven’t had enough brain cells to absorb this much information until now. This was the textbook from one of his religion classes in undergrad (he’s a genius grad school engineer now), and he passed it on to me because he knew I’d love it. I have to g...more
This is a rather brave attempt to wring significance out of the fact that Confucius, the Buddha, Socrates and Jeremiah all lived at about the same time, between them causing a revolution in the way in which humans relate to the universe in philosophy and religion. It did not completely work for me. I found Armstrong's account of the evolution of the Old Testament as a product of the Jews' exile in Babylon pretty compelling, and we have a couple more of h...more
The book starts with the Aryans, around 1600 B.C.E and takes...more
Karen Armstrong's "great transformation" took place in what the philosopher Karl Jaspers called "the Axial Age" – roughly seven centuries, starting around 900 B.C., in which the...more
Armstrong deals with what the historian Karl Jaspers calls the Axial Age (that period between 900 and 200 BC) during which the major philosophical and religious traditions that exist today, began. She follows developments in this regard in 4 distinct regions an...more
The book's singular great achievement is to chart a milleniums spiritual progress in a lucid,compelling narrative.Aside...more
Overall, it gives a good argument for...more
I found the discussion of the history of China easy to lose track of and dull and the development of the Greek traditio...more
The basic gist of the book is ::SPOILER ALERT:: that all of the major religions had "axial ages" in which particular sages or groups of sages came to similar conclusions: The Golden Rule is the Best Rule for Deciding How We Should Live Our Lives.
Treat everyone how you'd like to be treated, yo.
If you're intrigued by or interested in the history of the major religious and faith-based traditions in the world, this book is rewarding reading.
In fact, this ought to be required reading for all students of humanity; everyone, every last one of us, ought to rea...more
More explicitly, the author, in the concluding chapter of the book, recomme...more
Armstrong does an admirable job of expounding the political and social situations of the period, and how they eventually develope...more
Armstrong covers the historical foundations of the world's most important religions, which, co-incidentally enough, occurred within the same 500-year-span, worldwide. Historians call this the Axial Age, and when I picked up the book, I was originally intrigued as to what connections Armstrong would possible pull together from a five hundred year span. To me, this seems arbitrarily large, but...more
by Karen Armstrong
If you want to read some history on the beginnings and best elements of world religions, here is 400 pages of it. Armstrong thoroughly explains how the Axial Age (900 to 200 BCE) was a quantum leap in spiritual development through sages bringing about Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, philosophical rationalism is Greece, and monotheism in Israel (later bringing Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity and Islam). She says that Axial sages spent as much cre...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.