Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe
The „Inner Self“ and Transcendence – Emergence, Relation, and Religious Impact
CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)
In elaborating on the idea of an axial-age Karl Jaspers has put the self and the emergence of transcendence nicely together: “What is new about this age, in all three areas of the world, is that man becomes conscious of Being as a whole, of himself and his limitations. He experiences the terror of the world and his own powerlessness. He asks radical questions. Face to face with the void he strives for liberation and redemption. By consciously recognising his limits he sets himself the highest goals. He experiences absoluteness in the depths of selfhood and in the lucidity of transcendence. All this took place in reflection. Consciousness became once more conscious of itself, thinking became its own object.” (Origin and Goal of History, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1953, 2)
It is commonly accepted that both topics, the so-called inner self, which means reflexivity and rational constitution as the base of self- and world-understanding, and the transcendence, which means the capacity of thinking beyond, are quite crucial for the emergence of modernity. While the epochal shift became a myth of origin, it was more or less linked with Plato and Augustin, and thus detached from the broader horizon Jaspers originally evoked. The conference will ask for the development, its sources, and the link between various approaches in Early China, Ancient Iran, Ancient Greece, and the Hebrew Bible.