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Religions of the Axial Age: An Approach to the World's Religions

Narrated by: Mark W. Muesse
Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

These 24 extraordinary lectures offer you the rare opportunity to relate your own spiritual questions to a variety of ancient quests for meaning and transcendence. Professor Muesse looks at the historical conditions in which the world religions arose and explores how they answered shared metaphysical and human dilemmas.

The Axial Age - a pivotal era between 800 and 200 B.C.E. - saw the rise of many of the world's religions in Iran, South Asia, and China. On this stirring journey, you'll learn about the rise of Zoroastrianism in Persia (now Iran); Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism on the Indian subcontinent; and Confucianism and Daoism in China. You'll also see how these religions compare, contrast, and contribute to contemporary Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Through sacred texts, modern scholarship, and thoughts arising from his own personal experiences, Professor Muesse reveals what it meant to be a conscious, morally responsible individual in the Axial Age. You'll enjoy a ringside seat as each founding sage wrestles with moral accountability, the nature of self and ultimate reality, good versus evil, suffering and transcendence - all topics that still puzzle us today.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-04-16

Excellent!

Have you listened to any of Professor Mark W. Muesse’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listed to Professor Muesse's courses on Mindfulness Practice & Hinduism. I always enjoy his courses! I particularly enjoyed the depth and reflection that he was able to give in this lecture series! As always, I was moved by the last lecture. He has an awesome ability to sum up the entire course and still present new ideas and insights. I will listen to this course again in the future.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Fernando Amador
  • 29-06-19

We need Nobility

The great sages of the seminal axial age taught us about the basic ethics; though we may not need gods to enforce them.

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  • 77Tango
  • 16-05-19

Great lecture, but misleading intro

What captured my attention in selecting this lecture was the intro, which asserted it would be asking why, and how, the historical and socioeconomic conditions of the Axial Age gave rise to some of the world's greatest religions. In my opinion that line of inquiry was inadequately pursued. It was examined to some degree in the very beginning, but any mention of it later was more as historical narrative, rather than a point of inquiry. I had expected a far more multidisciplinary approach, incorporating archaeological, political, geographic and climatological data in order to thoroughly evaluate the question being raised.
All considered, this course is more of a survey of ancient far east and south east Asian religions and their beginnings. If thats what you are interested in, then this is the perfect course for you. The professor is fantastic - an engaging and relatable expert. If you, like me, want to understand the historical and socio-economic conditions of specific epochs that give rise to, and then sustained, such compelling systems of belief, this can only be an introduction.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 24-08-18

Great Lectures for the study/practice of religion

Very apt lectures. My only suggestion would be to include Western Axial religion (i.e. Greeks and Israelites) to get a fuller grasp of that age and influence.

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  • Paul A.
  • 09-12-17

Excellent teaching

The best great courses professor out there. Very open to all religion. Very secular book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-04-17

Excellent in every way.


Dr. Muesse is an engaging presenter with a deep knowledge and passion for the subject, I can't recommend his courses highly enough.