Hans Joas

How to Combine Talcott Parsons and Paul Tillich: Robert Bellah as an Axial Age Theorist

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Axial Age; Transcendence; Robert N. Bellah; Talcott Parsons; Paul Tillich; Symbolic Realism.

After a succinct reconstruction of the Axial Age debate, the essay focuses on the biographical and intellectual background of one of the main contributors to the debate: the American sociologist Robert Bellah. In particular, his "magnum opus", "Religion in Human Evolution" (2011) is understood in the light of Bellah's dual role as a distinguished social scientist and a renowned public intellectual. From this point of view, his last book appears as the successful attempt to do justice to the multi-layered nature of the religious phenomenon, combining the broad theoretical ambition of his teacher Talcott Parsons and the prophetic spirit of the theologian Paul Tillich.

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