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From Akhenaten to MosesAncient Egypt and Religious Change$
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Jan Assmann

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166310

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166310.001.0001

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Ancient Egypt and the Theory of the Axial Age

Ancient Egypt and the Theory of the Axial Age

Chapter:
(p.79) 5 Ancient Egypt and the Theory of the Axial Age
Source:
From Akhenaten to Moses
Author(s):

Jan Assmann

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166310.003.0006

The theory of the Axial Age goes back to the 18th century but was made famous by the philosopher Karl Jaspers, who coined the term in 1949. It is described as the turn from an immanent (this-worldly) to a transcendent foundation of human existence (based on revelation or metaphysical philosophy). Jaspers and his predecessors and followers, however, were forgetful of the media question. Without the culture techniques of writing, canonization, and exegesis, the new transcendental foundations of existence could never have changed the world.

Keywords:   Axial Age, transcendence, writing, canonization, exegesis

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