The Great Transformation: The Beginning Of Our Religious Traditions

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Karen Armstrong traces the development of the Axial Age chronologically, examining the contributions of such figures as Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius, and Euripides. All of the Axial Age faiths began in principled and visceral recoil from the unprecedented violence of their time. Despite some differences of emphasis, there was a remarkable consensus in their call for an abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and gives us two important pieces of advice: first there must be responsibility and  self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical effective action.

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