September 2022: Liberty and Virtue in the Axial Age
Please join us in September 2022 for an enlightening online experience with Peter Mentzel.
Pre-registration is required, and we ask you to register only if you can be present for ALL sessions. All readings are available online. Participants who successfully complete ALL sessions will be eligible to receive an Amazon e-gift certificate.
The concept of the Axial Age was invented by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) to describe the remarkable changes in religious thinking that occurred in most of the world during the first millennium BCE, roughly 800-200 BCE. Jaspers observed that during this period, religious practices and beliefs shifted from the worship of local, tribal, or civic deities (often focusing on temple ceremonies and sacrifices), toward more universal and transcendent approaches to religion. To put it another way, the teachers of Axial Age religions and philosophies were concerned with man’s place in the universe, his relationship to God and to other human beings, and whether or not there were any transcendent truths that applied to all people.
Three of the most emblematic figures of the Axial Age are the Buddha (560-480 BCE), Confucius (551-479 BCE), and Socrates (470-399 BCE). This OLL Virtual Reading Group will discuss selections from the works of these three figures, drawn from the holdings of the Online Library of Liberty. We will focus on how they each approached questions of freedom, human flourishing, transcendence and the Good Life within the overall context of the Axial Age transformation.
The readings and sessions are as follows:
Session I: Thursday, September 15, noon-1pm EDT: The Buddha and the Way to Liberation
The Gospel of Buddha - Chapters 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 32, 40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 48, 51, 52, 53, and 59
Session II: Thursday, September 22, noon-1pm EDT: Confucius on Virtue and Duty
The Ethics of Confucius - Chapter 1
The Analects of Confucius - Volume II, Book IV; Volume IV, Book VIII; Volume VI, Book XII; and Volume VIII, Book XV
Session III: Thursday, September 29, noon-1pm EDT: Socrates on How to Live Virtuously and Die Well
The Dialogues of Plato, Volume I - Protagoras
The Dialogues of Plato, Volume II - Apology
Virtual Reading Groups
- One Fell Swoop: Reading All of Shakespeare’s Plays
- April 2023: Understanding Reconstruction - the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments
- March 2023: Foundations of Modern Environmentalism
- February 2023: Bruno Leoni: Freedom and the Law
- January 2023: Oakeshott’s Moral Vision
- January 2023: The Messiness of Progress: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and David Hume’s Essays and Histories
- December 2022: Classical Tragedy and the World of Ideas
- December 2022: J.S. Mill “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion"
- November 2022: The Election of 1800: Jefferson v. Adams
- October 2022: Shakespeare’s First Tetralogy
- September 2022: The Evolution of American Federalism
- September 2022: Liberty and Virtue in the Axial Age
- August 2022: Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Aristocracy, Independence, and Economics
- May 2022: THE BILL OF RIGHTS: SELECT CASES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
- April 2022: Education in a Free Society
- March 2022: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Women
- March 2022: Ancient v Modern Liberty
- February 2022: Joseph Schumpeter’s “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy”
- January 2022: James Madison and the Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches
- November 2021: Pericles' Funeral Oration
- September 2021: Celebrate Constitution Day
- August 2021: Agriculture, the State, and Liberty
- June 2021: Adam Ferguson’s History of Civil Society
- May 2021: The Colonial Origins of the Bill of Rights