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Palgrave Macmillan

From the Axial Age to the Moral Revolution

John Stuart-Glennie, Karl Jaspers, and a New Understanding of the Idea

ISBN 9781137441584
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

The revolutionary outbreak in a variety of civilizations centered around 600 B.C.E., a period in which the great world religions as well as philosophy emerged, from Hebrew scriptures and the teachings of Buddha to the works of Greek and Chinese philosophers, has been named the Axial Age by Karl Jaspers. Yet 75 years earlier, in 1873, unknown to Jaspers and still unknown to the world, John Stuart Stuart-Glennie elaborated a fully developed and more nuanced theory of what he termed The Moral Revolution to characterize the period.

This book also brings to light the previously undiscussed ideas of D. H. Lawrence on the phenomenon from 20 years before Jaspers, the seldom mentioned contributions of Lewis Mumford, and proposes a new context for understanding the phenomenon. Halton rewrites the history of this fascinating theory and opens new ways of conceiving the meaning of The Moral Revolution for today.

Eugene Halton is professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of The Great Brain Suck; Bereft of Reason; Meaning and Modernity; and The Meaning of Things (with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), a keystone study of the meanings of household possessions and materialism in American culture.

1. Jaspers, Stuart-Glennie and the Origins of the Theory
2. Religion, Habitat, and Cosmos
3. Panzoonism, the Bioticon, and the 500 Year Cycles of History
4. Islands of Light
5. Jaspers and Mumford
6. The Next Transformation?
7. The Moral Revolution and the Modern Revolution Today


'Halton has creatively introduced a new voice into the current pursuit of the 'axial age,' so thoroughly that readers who will never see Stuart-Glennie's rare books leave Halton's analysis with a clear understanding of what until now has been missing from the record. Intellectual historians are always on the look-out for fresh, previously overlooked material to reanimate. Halton has thus resurrected Stuart-Glennie with dedication and skill."
- Alan Sica, Professor of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, USA.
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