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Before the European Challenge
The Great Civilizations of Asia and the Middle East
Before the European Challenge
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Jaroslav Krejci - Author
Hardcover - 348 pages
Release Date: June 1990
ISBN10: 0-7914-0168-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-0168-2

Out of Print
Paperback - 348 pages
Release Date: June 1990
ISBN10: 0-7914-0169-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-0169-9

Out of Print
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The West fails to embrace the globe, and the East still looks to its own variegated past. Here is a comparative account of the spirit and development of the main civilizations in Asia before their confrontation with Modern Europe. In many respects, what is going on in Asia and in the Middle East now is a response to the prolonged European challenge. In places it is marked by a selective reception of Western values and techniques, while elsewhere preference is given to inspiration from the domestic tradition. This book aims to contribute to the understanding of these traditions. It takes the form of a historical narrative and gives a comparative insight of the world-views, values, and institutions.

Jaroslav Krejci was awarded a personal chair at the University of Lancaster. In addition to eighty articles and contributions to compendia, he has published six books.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
A Note on Spelling and Dates

1. Introduction

2. The Rise of the Levant: The Cuneiscript and Pharonic Civilizations

2.1 The General Setting
2.2 The Spirit of Egypt
2.3 The Spirit of Sumer
2.4 Geography and Polity
2.5 Egypt: The Struggle for Harmony
2.6 Egypt as a Great Power: Between Machiocracy and Hierocracy
2.7 Sumer and Akkad: From the City States to the Empire
2.8 The Multi-ethnic Cuneiscript Civilization
2.9 The Social Structure of Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt

3. The Contrasts of Syria: Peoples of the Script and People of the Book
3.1 From Sheba to Carthage: The West Semitic Civilization
3.1.1 The Phoenician Venture
3.1.2. The Broader Context

3.2 Seclusion of the Jews: From the Judges to the Prophets
3.3 From the Prophets to the Law: The Constitution of Judaism
3.4 The Dilemma of Judaism: What Kind of Identity?

4. The Great Iranian Ventures: The peripeties of Ahura Mazdah
4.1 The General Setting
4.2 From Zarathushtra to Mazdaism
4.3 The Persian Levantine Empire and the Hellenic Counterstroke
4.4 The Renaissance of Zoroastrianism
4.5 The Heresies and the Orthodoxy
4.6 Revolution and Reform
4.7 Rally, Collapse and Transfiguration

5. The Ways of Islam: Integration and Disintegration
5.1 The General Setting
5.2 From Muhammad to the Umma
5.3 The Umma and the Caliphs and Imams
5.4 From the Caliphs to the Shari'a
5.5 From the Sunna to the Sufis
5.6 Islam under a Twofold Attack
5.7 The Social Structure of the Islamic Civilization
5.8 The Contrasts in the Spirit of Islam
5.8.1 General Comment
5.8.2 The Quest for Knowledge
5.8.3 The Twilight and the Shadows

5.9 The Thrust into Europe
5.10 The Revival of the Shi'a in Iran

6. From Indus to Mekong: Between Brahma and Buddha
6.1 The Spirit of India: An Introductory Note
6.2 From Excavations to the Books of Wisdom
6.2.1 The Proto-Indian Civilization
6.2.2 The Sacred Books - the Vedas
6.2.3 The Books of Instruction and the Cosmic Order
6.2.4 Vedic Society

6.3 The Spell of Novelty
6.3.1 The New Opening: From the Upanishads to the Buddha
6.3.2 Early Buddhism
6.3.3 The Spread and Split of Buddhism

6.4 Towards a Pan-Indian Civilization
6.4.1 The Renaissance and the Move Eastward
6.4.2 The New Religious Spectrum
6.4.3 The Maturation of the Pan-Indian Civilization
6.4.4 The Pan-Indian Synthesis and a Look Backwards

6.5 The Three Orbits: Hinduism, Theravada and Islam
6.5.1 The Challenge of Islam
6.5.2 The Reconstruction of Hinduism and the Syncretic Religions
6.5.3 The Civilization of Theravada
6.5.4. The Encounter of Civilizations in the Malayan World

7. The Chinese Path: The Paradigm of Continuity
7.1 The Spirit of China
7.2 The Roots of Chinese Civilization
7.3 The China of a Hundred Schools
7.4 From the Warring States to the Empire
7.5 China Turns to Confucius
7.6 China Divided
7.6.1 The Emergence of the Taoist Church
7.6.2 The Coming of Buddhism and its Subsequent Development
7.6.3 The Social Face of Divided China

7.7 Towards and Elusive Synthesis
7.8 The Confucian Renaissance and the Techno-Economical Leap Forward
7.9 The Mongolian Interlude
7.10 A Frustrated Momentum
7.11 China Under Tutelage

8. The Rhythm of the Far East: Reception and Adaptation
8.1 General Outline
8.2 The 'Little China' of Korea and Her Splendid Isolation
8.3 The Long March of Vietnam
8.4 Creative Reception in the Land of the Rising Sun
8.4.1 The Japanese Predicament
8.4.2 Japan Under the Spell of the Chinese Civilization
8.4.3 Towards Japan's Own Social System: The Kamakura Shogunate
8.4.4 The Domestication of Buddhism in Japan
8.4.5 The Time of Troubles and the Restructuring of the Society
8.4.6 The New Structure and the Struggle for a New Type of Polity
8.4.7 The Tokugawa Solution
8.4.8 The Twilight of the Old and the Eve of the New Reception

Notes and References
Author Index
Subject Index

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