From Gods to God
The birth of the West stems from the rejection of tradition. All our evidence for this influence comes from the Axial period, 800-400 BCE. Baruch Halpern explores the impact of changing cosmologies and social relations on cultural change in that era, especially from Mesopotamia to Israel and Greece, but extending across the Mediterranean, not least to Egypt and Italy. In this volume he shows how an explosion of international commerce and exchange, which can be understood as a Renaissance, led to the redefinition of selfhood in various cultures and to Reformation. The process inevitably precipitated an Enlightenment. This has happened over and over in human history and in academic or cultural fields. It is the basis of modernization, or Westernization, wherever it occurs, and whatever form it takes.