⌛ Silk Road Foltz

Monday, January 03, 2022 11:32:24 AM

Silk Road Foltz

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Bentley, Editor, Journal of World History "This was an extraordinary book when it first came out a decade ago; it is an even more impressive work in its revised second edition. What makes Richard Foltz's Religions of the Silk Road so unusual and valuable is that, despite its concise, compressed form and highly readable style, it is packed with an astonishing wealth of fascinating information based on a judicious combination of primary sources and secondary literature.

For someone who wishes to learn about the transmission of religious culture along the Silk Road during the past two millennia - including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, and Islam - there can be no more convenient and illuminating guide than this extraordinary volume. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania"To read this fascinating book is to journey through time, to ride those intriguing stretches of overland trails from Europe to Asia known collectively as the 'Silk Road.

Foltz brings to life this amazing history in an authoritative and engrossing way, and entices us into this wondrous early era of globalized religion. Foltz writes with a very deft balance and a very even-handed presentation of many different historical periods, geographical circumscriptions, and religious traditions. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Publishing With Us. Book Authors Journal Authors. Free Preview. Buy eBook. Manichaeism was an attempt at universalism which drew from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism but was perceived as a threat by politically dominant religions, finding state sponsorship only among the Uighurs.

After a brief summary of the early history of Islam, Foltz describes the attempts of Muslim armies to conquer Bactria and Sogdiana and the role of religion in the resistance they faced, then looks at Islam's replacement of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism and its spread among Turkish dynasties, in the Tarim Basin, and in China. He also touches on later Jewish trade networks, the Assassins, and the setback for Islam that came with the advent of the Qara-khitai.

A chapter "Ecumenical Mischief" covers the period of Mongol rule, when different religions vied for support from the khans, but attempts at tolerance often exacerbated tensions and rivalries. There's also quite a bit here on early European embassies to the Mongol court. And a final chapter describes the end of Nestorian Christianity in Central Asia, the underground survival of Manichaeism in China down to the 17th century, and the further Islamization of the region through a popular Islam spread by Sufi orders.

Covering so much, Foltz is necessarily dependent on secondary sources for most of his material, but finds room for quite a few quotes from contemporary or near-contemporary texts. Religions of the Silk Road is referenced in detail, with twenty pages of endnotes and a fifteen page bibliography. Given its broad scope and likely audience, however, some thematic further reading suggestions would have been a useful inclusion. Foltz provides a fair bit of general background on the major religions. He devotes two pages to the origins and early history of Buddhism in India, for example, and doesn't assume any previous knowledge at all of Manichaeism.

He doesn't go into details of doctrines or practices, but does touch on some basic sociology, clearly envisaging that some readers may have naive ideas about the uniformity of religions. So Religions of the Silk Road makes a good introduction for someone with no background in the study of religion. It may not, on the other hand, work so well for anyone with no background at all in Central Asian history, perhaps coming from a religious studies background.

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