Chapter 3 Identity Formation in World Religions: He insists, however, that it has also obscured other important themes for comparative analysis: Eisenstadt has unequivocally accepted this conclusion, with the result that questions relating to Islamic societies and their historical dynamics have become more important in his most recent work. As an outcome of trade, migration, conversion and conquest, such global transformations also involved major breakthroughs of civilizational importance. This chapter attempts to show some of the antagonisms which relate to the synchronic coexistence of the civilizational heritage of Pharaonic religion-cum-politics and the reasserted and radicalized, monotheistic visions of rising Islam. The conventional wisdom of sociology has been challenged by post-modern debate, abolishing this dichotomous evolutionism while embracing a more heterogeneous view of coexistence and exchange between local cultures and modern institutions. The Islamic message defined itself as a purifying, radicalizing and restorative twist to preexisting monotheisms; at the same time, it was from the outset much more directly intertwined with political strategies and processes.

Jesus did not arise out of a liminal moment — he rather created liminality. Once again, the historical dimensions of such projects can only be grasped if they are studied on a civiliza- tional scale, and the record of Islamic revivalist movements is as good an exam- ple as any other. There is a reflexive side to the creative moment which he lists as the first part of his model: At this point we may note some distinctive features of the Islamic case, as seen by Hodgson. And although he does not make the point, it could be argued that radical revisionism is a kind of inverted traditionalism. Marshall Hodgson is perhaps the most outstanding exam- ple. The Gospel of Matthew makes the point clearly, though obliquely, and thus it is often misunder- stood.

Earlier traditions that had developed philosophy as a mode of thought and a way of life were strong enough to provide themes and models for further elaboration within a still flexible Islamic context.

Within the Arab power structure, it represented a shift towards more traditional elites, at the expense of the incipient Islamic aristocracy the companions of the prophet ; this relocation of power called for genealogical le- gitimation, but the traditional criteria were reinforced by a claim to kinship with the prophet. Although the axial model stresses new openings of multiple kinds, con- ducive to higher levels of diversity and conflict, efforts to reintegrates such trends into definitive and comprehensive frameworks are also typical of the tradi- tions in question.

Cam- bridge University Press, pp. In stark contrast, Islam emerged at a particularly liminal moment, and at a specifically liminal location. A more limited concep- tion of axial patterns, centered on the relationships between intellectual and po- litical elites and their role in historical transformations, would have to allow for contextual determinants that vary from case to case.

We should perhaps note in passing that although Hodg- son mentions only Iranian and Semitic forms of monotheism, his general argu- ment does not exclude eplsode possibility of analogous trends in earlier phases and other places: This view is best treated as a working hypothesis that will still need extensive testing; but it would seem to be in line with current trends of comparative studies one case that comes to mind is the qkbla of the idea of creation in the Chinese tradition: They advocated radical egalitarian values with strong this-worldly inclinations.


But the civilizational pattern qqobla served to integrate the region also manifested a trans-regional expansive and integrative dynamic that has no parallel in premodern history. Increase of con- tact between societies led to the proliferation of myriad forms of public spaces, so- cial organizations, institutions and new political orders.

Qobla Mariha Ep 21

This was because it was not only situated at the intersection point of the main caravan routes Guzzetti The new constellation was, in other words, marked by more problematic relations between mutually de- pendent forces.

It was Islamicate civilization that for the first time achieved the cultural unification of this part of the world, and it did so through a new elaboration of the monotheistic themes inherited episoee Ira- nian and Semitic sources. The third point is linked to a vision of world history and a marihw about the proper way of writing it. The innovations of the Axial Age laid the foundations for civiliza- tional traditions that divided the main cultural zones of Eurasia between them- selves during the following two millennia of premodern history.

The Islamic world was directly and massively affected, but the two main waves of Inner Eurasian expansion did not enter Islamic history in the same way. A comparison with the other monotheistic world religion underscores the point: The Three Cultural Crystallizations.


This first applies to the Baptist, who declines the honour, thus increasing the force of his recognising the other, the real one. Finally, axial theorists have noted the need for more detailed study of the connections between cultural traditions — more spe- cifically religious ones — and imperial formations, but this is still a relatively un- derdeveloped domain of comparative analysis.

The civilizations most directly episodee with the axial model are, as has often been stressed, characterized by a dialectics of traditionalism and renewal.

The crux of Islam within c o m p a r a t i ve c i v i l i z a t i o n a l a n a l ys i s Two outstandingly seminal visions of universal history, developed in an early and a late phase of global European ascendancy, may be cited to illustrate this trend. In the first-half of the millennium, the Mediterranean domain qobka a creative set- ting for the intermingling of cultures, involving momentous shifts along dimen- sions of reflexivity in terms of apocalyptic attempts to redefine the relationship between the mundane and transcendental worlds.

The Gospels place a particular emphasis on the recognition of Jesus by St John Baptist, a his- torical figure with disciples on his own, lending further weight to the claim. There is, however, another recent line maroha thought about classical Islam that may pose more serious problems. It resulted in the imperial unification of a region that had not been controlled by one political centre since the collapse of the Persian empire and its ephemeral Macedonian marriha more impor- tantly, civilizational unity was for the first time imposed on that same region and consolidated in a form that proved capable of further expansion.

In chapter 11 Armando Salvatore questions both the typological conception of axiality and the interpretation that subsumes axial breakthroughs under a more general and much too abstract category of reflexivity. The chapters are grouped into three sections which are systematically, not chronologically ordered. Casting a novel eye on this idea worn out by Marx and conflict theory approaches, Pizzorno reads the confrontation as a struggle for recognition.


This further connected the Islamic world with Southeast Asian societies, a historical process that eventually led to the Islamiza- tion of south Asian regions — like the case of Indonesia in the 16th century. In all these regards, the civilizational frame of reference is crucial: The Islamic vision of a new order based on transcendent imperatives was at least as close to the ideal type of an axial breakthrough as any other example.

In this sense, instrumental religions are not based on faith, but rather on the notions of efficacy of spiritual experience to control the supernatural Gellner This break is further emphasised in episodes where Jesus would explicitly re- ject belonging to the lineage of Abraham and David.

However, the entire Kantian object-subject logic is bypassed by Pizzorno when he introduces the He- gelian dialectic of the master and the slave or rather serf. As other texts show, he was developing a more elaborate model of regional differentiation. A search for recognition between two subjects always has the aspect of a testing. Rather, its influence became effective in conjunction with other factors. His four types of legitimation can then be equated with fundamental but to some extent alterna- tive ways of articulating the relationships between ethnic, religious and imperial aspects of a new formation.

But to the extent that projects of religious revival become effective on the politi- cal level, they expose themselves to a new round of political alienation from their origins. The Yearbook of the Sociology of Islam takes these antinomies and contradic- tions as a challenge.

The question will not be discussed in this volume, but it should at least be noted that the Indian part of the Islamic experience was — for both comparative histori- ans as well as students of Islam — long overshadowed by the more familiar record of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The formative classical period of Islamicate civilization Hodgson dates it from toi. To all appearances the 11th century was a time when relations between the sedentary civilizations and the semi nomadic populations of Central Asia crossed a major threshold, whereby migration, conquest and conversion set off a critical socio-political and cultural organizational changes in the Islamdom; a process which reached its apogee with the Mongol incursion in the 13th century when nomad power reached the full capacity of its political organizational poten- tial in Eurasia Lewis The succession to Muhammad was disputed, and conflicts over that issue were trans- figured into symbolic beginnings of later sectarian divisions, but such concerns were not yet paramount for the 7th-century protagonists.

Though rarely if at all theorised explicitly, the metaphor of spiral does sur- face occasionally in explanations of socio-historical dynamics.

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