The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations
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This book presents a new and original analysis of the great ancient civilizations, focusing on the breakthroughs and their institutionalization in Greece, Israel, China, and India. The conditions under which these civilizations developed are systematically explored. For comparative purposes, the civilization of Assyria, where such a breakthrough did not take place is analyzed.
Attention is given to the transformation of modes of thought and symbolism. Special focus is brought to the development of the great religions and the perception of tension between the transcendental and mundane orders and between rulers and other elites.
S. N. Eisenstadt is Rose Isaacs Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.