World Religions and Axial Civilizations. Part I

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
RC22 Sociology of Religion (host committee)

Language: English

This session aims to define the various ways in which a particular epoch called forth distinct forms of reflection upon the nature of the supernatural realm by cohesive groups of intellectuals. This “Axial Age” saw the birth of salvation religions in ancient India (Hinduism and Buddhism) and ancient Israel (Judaism), and distinct philosophical schools in ancient Greece and China (Confucianism). Furthermore, this session investigates the extent to which this unusual era resulted largely from structural transformations (e.g., the fall of empires and a subsequent internal pluralism and moderate conflict; see Jaspers) or significantly from charismatic visionaries. It also examines the role of intellectuals in codifying the philosophical schools and sacred texts of the world religions that originated in this epoch.
Eisenstadt modified his early idea of “Axial Age Civilizations” to “Axial Civilizations” to include the rise of Christianity and Islam, and added the “civilization of modernity” to reflect even later developments. The session accordingly queries whether later changes – for example, the development of Islamicate civilization on the one hand and Early Modern transformations (e.g., natural law) in the West on the other hand – can be best conceptualized as clear legacies of Axial Age developments. 
Session Organizer:
Stephen KALBERG, Boston University, USA
Stephen KALBERG, Boston University, USA
Hodgson, Gellner and Eisenstadt As Pioneers of Islamicate Civilizational Analysis
Said ARJOMAND, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA
The Protestant Ethic Thesis: Some Forerunners of Max Weber in France and Brazil
Roberto MOTTA, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco at Recife (Brazil), Brazil