King's College London

Research portal

Religion and Rationality, Poetry and Philosophy: In Search of the “Axial Breakthrough” in Ancient Greece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-554
JournalFudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date6 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


King's Authors


Axial age theory suggests that a major transformation of thought occurred across several civilisations, including ancient Greece, in the period 800–200 BCE. This paper questions whether any such transformation can be identified in ancient Greece. It focuses on texts associated with “mystery religions” and the works of Presocratic philosophers as potential evidence for transformation. It demonstrates that there was a continuity of thought throughout the period, and that “rationality” was never seen to be in conflict with “traditional religious ideas”.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454