The Cultural Values of Europe

BookThe Cultural Values of Europe

The Cultural Values of Europe


June 1st, 2008



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What is the cultural identity of Europe? Are there specifically European values? Questions like these are at the centre of a considerable number of political and scholarly debates in contemporary Europe. In this international best-seller, a group of acclaimed thinkers – including Orlando Patterson, S. N. Eisenstadt, Mark Mazower and Wolfgang Schluchter – examine the most important innovations and culturally vital value traditions of Europe to produce an image of contemporary European self-understanding. The volume combines two possible approaches, examining both specific cultural traditions (‘Athens and Jerusalem’) and specific values (‘freedom’; ‘rationality’). Boasting some of the leading thinkers in Europe and edited by Hans Joas and Klaus Wiegandt, The Cultural Values of Europe will be required reading for anyone hoping to understand the common cultural ground in Europe.

'A truly informative journey through a homeland that defines each one of us ... an erudite guide for Europeans all over the world.'
Die Zeit

Author Information

Hans Joas is director of the Max Weber Center at the University of Erfurt and professor of sociology and social thought at the University of Chicago. Klaus Wiegandt is founder and CEO of Forum für Verantwortung.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors
Hans Joas and Klaus Weigandt
The Cultural Values of Europe: An Introduction
Hans Joas
1. The Axial Age in World History
Shmuel N. Eisenstadt
2. The Judeo-Christian Tradition
Wolfgang Huber
3. The Greco-Roman Tradition
Christian Meier
4. How Europe Became Diverse: On the Medieval Roots of the Plurality of Values
Michael Borgolte
5. Freedom, Slavery, and the Modern Construction of Rights
Orlando Patterson
6. The Value of Introspection
Kurt Flasch
7. Rationality – A Specifically European Characteristic?
Wolfgang Schlutchter
8. The Affirmation of Ordinary Life
Wolfgang Reinhard
9. Inner Nature and Social Normativity: The Idea of Self-Realization
Christoph Menke
10. The Status of the Enlightenment in German History
Reinhart Koselleck
11. The Dark Continent – Europe and Totalitarianism
Mark Mazower
12. Value Change in Europe from the Perspective of Empirical Social Research
Helmut Thome
13. The Realities of Cultural Struggles
Dieter Senghaas
14. The Contest of Values: Notes on Contemporary Islamic Discourse
Gudrun Krämer
15. Does Europe Have a Cultural Identity?
Peter Wagner
Klaus Wiegandt