Religion Past and Present

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Axial Age
(174 words)

[German Version]

The idea of a common “axial age” of human history as the center of all history was developed by K. Jaspers in his Origin and Goal of History (1959). Jaspers sees in the period 800–200 bce – India (Upanishad, Buddha), Iran (Zarathustra), Palestine (the prophets), and Greece (the poets and philosophers) – new beginnings, characterized by demythologization, spiritualization, and the dawn of human consciousness of being as a whole, of the personal self and its limitations. These start the process of unification of the …

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Woschitz, Karl M., “Axial Age”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 22 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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