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A Study of History, 12: Reconsiderations by…

A Study of History, 12: Reconsiderations

by Arnold J. Toynbee

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this book was published eight years after the rest of the work and gives us a look at the results of eight years of criticism of the Toynbee thesis. I find it very important, for it shows a great depth of mind to return to the themes.
The opening demonstrates the attitude of a wonderful mind "It is true that any one mind can make itself thoroughly with no more than some patch of the great Forest [A scheme of Global history..DF.] yet unless it also dares to venture out into the surrounding stretches..it cannot hope to understand the nature even of its own narrow beat."
He is saying that he tried to bring the results of his own massive scholarship to the understanding of world history...and learned from the efforts even if others may continue to ignore the results of his effort.
So AJT begins with the "Inadequacy of our means of thought." and then moves on to "The relativity of a human observer's approach to human affairs". and then of observing religion. Then we visit " Reconsiderations of Structural problems" in lack of quantity of examples, and the need for even more examples, and the vexing problems of comprehensive tools and definitions. This leads to 452 pages of "Reconsiderations of particular topics' lacking in special pleading, but tidying up some perceived ambiguities. there's a great deal of Analysis of Toynbee's defined Syriac Civilization, the ancestor of all four "Peoples of the Book." "Islam's place in history and "The History and Prospects of the Jews" are covered in 54 pages.
There is a great deal of meat in the Annexes, as usual. The fortunate and unfortunate effects of having a classical education are covered as well as his thanks to his critics. He ends with eleven pages of other critiques of his work not answered or acknowledged earlier in the book.
A fine farewell to a book that should be read as well as consulted by professional as well as recreational historians. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 29, 2015 |
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This is volume 12 of the 12-volume unabridged series A Study of History. It should not be combined with the 2-volume abridgement, nor with other individual volumes, nor with the complete work.
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