Thursday, March 01, 2007

Universal Churches

A Study of History. Vol. VII Oxford, 1954.Chapter Seven: Universal ChurchesI have been reading in Arnold J. Toynbee’s magisterial A Study of History and wish to share some thoughts from his Chapter Seven, on “Universal Churches.” He argues that the four higher religions in the world today – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Mayahana Buddhism – were able to preserve the germ of life from a parent civilization in the process of collapse to the arising of a new one. He notes that in the time of his writing (~1952) all eight extant civilizations had in their background some universal church through which they were affiliated to a civilization of an older generation. After the stage of “Primitive Societies,” he names the “Primary Civilizations” (all derived from primitive societies) as the Egyptiac, Andean, Mayan, Sumeric, Indus Culture, Minoan, and Shang Culture. Secondary civilizations deriving from these are named as the Yucatec, Babylonic, Mexic, First Syriac, Hittite, Indic, Syriac-Hellenic, and Sinic.The Higher Religions created, adapted, or adopted from the "internal proletariats” (abbreviated “i.p.”; about which more later) of the Secondary Civilizations are the following:Judaism, Zoroastrianism (i.p. of the Babylonic) Hinduism (i.p. Indus)Islam (i.p. Syriac)Isis-worship, Cybele-worship, Mithraism, Christianity, Manichaeism (all of these from the i.p. of Hellenic Civilization),Neoplatonism (adapted by i.p. from philosophies of Hellenic dominant minority),Mayahana (through Hellenic i.p. via philosophy of Indus dominant minority and adopted by Sinic i.p.),Neo-Taoism (adapted by Sinic i.p. from one of the philosophies of Sinic dominant minority)The third-generation or Tertiary Civilizations derived from the chrysalis churches constructed by their internal proletariats are primarily:Hindu (derived from Indic through Hinduism)Iranic~Arabic (derived from Syriac through Islam)Western ChristianOrthodox ChristianOrthodox Russian Christian: all these derived from Hellenic through ChristianityFar Eastern, Korea, Japan: derived through Sinic through the Mayahana

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