- The Task of World History
- Theories of World History since the Enlightenment
- World Environmental History
- Nomadic pastoralism
- States, State Transformation, and War
- Religions and World History
- Technology, Engineering, and Science
- Advanced Agriculture
- Trade across Eurasia to about 1750
- Biological Exchanges in World History
- Cultural Exchanges in World History
- Pre-modern Empires
- Modern Imperialism
- East Asia and Central Eurasia
- South Asia and Southeast Asia
- The Middle East in World History
- Africa in World History: The Long, Long View
- Europe and Russia in World History
- Mediterranean History
- The Americas, 1450–2000
- The Atlantic Ocean Basin
- Oceania and Australasia
- The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the link between religions and world history. Samuel Purchas's initial approach to world history was simply ‘observing’ all the world's religions. The project grew to encompass much more, but the idea of ‘pilgrimage’ remained prominent. Religions are often presented as a universal human experience, yet there is in fact no universal definition of religion. In some cultures a religion is more a system of faith or of thought or philosophy. The discussion argues that without the concept of religion, world history is impossible. One of the most enduring outcomes of encounters or clashes between polities, civilizations, and cultures, is religion. as long as human encounters continue, new religions will keep emerging, and old religions will keep changing. The discussion closes by describing the holy site of Mt Moriah, or the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem.
Zvi Ben-Dor Benite is Professor of History at New York University.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.