The Origin and Goal of History (Routledge Revivals) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

Sell Us Your Item
For a $2.00 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The Origin and Goal of History (Routledge Revivals) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Origin and Goal of History [Hardcover]

Karl Jaspers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $30.99  
Hardcover --  
Hardcover, January 12, 1977 --  
Paperback --  
Unknown Binding --  

Book Description

January 12, 1977 0837189837 978-0837189833
First published in English in 1953, this important book from eminent philosopher Karl Jaspers deals with the philsophy of the history of mankind. More specifically, its avowed aim is to assist in heightening our awareness of the present by placing it within the framework of the long obscurity of prehistory and the boundless realm of possibilities which lie within the undecided future.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood Press Reprint (January 12, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837189837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837189833
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,287,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
This work describes the concept of the Axial Age and answers some early criticisms of the idea. Then Jaspers proceeds to develop a sweeping overview of human history from pre-history onward.

I don't see, however, that this work "makes mincemeat of Darwinian thinking" as is asserted by a previous reviewer. Rather, the concept that there could be parallel evolutionary developments re-evolving similar responses to similar situations is quite in accord with evolutionary thinking. There are numerous examples of such parallel developments in biological evolution (see Simon Conway-Morris' "Life's Solution"). No one to my knowledge is trying to suppress the simultaneous domestication of grains in (as I recall) seven locales around the planet (see Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel" for example).

Further, the assertion that the axial developments were completely independent (which was Jaspers' view as well as that of the previous reviewer) is on somewhat shaky ground owing to the work of Thomas McEvilley "The Shape of Ancient Thought", for example, who traces the continuous interplay of peoples along the axis thereby providing excellent opportunities for cross-fertilization of spiritual and philosophic ideas.

There is no disputing several centuries of Euro-centric views of history and Jaspers was one of the few in his era to thoughtfully step outside that box - and there are still only a few who have (Burkert and Hobson come to mind).

I do agree with the previous reviewer that this work is certainly worth being reissued or made available via books-on-demand.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are You Tempted? March 9, 2011
By PhiloX
Karl Jasper is one of the few German Philosophers that writes to the point in clear normal language. No created fancy words or over the top philosophical terms. I tried to collect or read as much of his writings I can find. Sadly his best works are mostly out of print. I once had a copy of "Man in the Modern Age" custom printed & bounded in the early 1990's. Written in the 1930's Karl Jaspers could foresee into the future the plight of mankind.

This book, "The Origin & Goal of History" I found a hard back copy at a Roman Catholic monastery, I checked it out & took it home for a few weeks. What a mind opening delight. This time Karl Jaspers turns his eyes to the past & develops a complete thesis of historical theory: Humanity's origin as ONE giving birth to 4 river civilizations that fragments into many cultures unto the AXIAL AGE from 800 to 200 BC were philosophical & religious thought blossoms & spreads to enlighten mankind through out the world. Then the later raise of vast empires unto the modern age with its 2 World Wars until globalization forces mankind to rethink & rejoin as a whole.

When I wrote this review there were 3 books at around $65.00, someone was tempted!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars An elegant classic May 23, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the basic concept of awakening (transition) out of blind routine into human consciousness, to placing that turn to humanity in a broad view of planetary space and historical time, this book was for me the read of a lifetime. Jaspers put a lifetime of intellect and study into this book, and it rewards the reader handsomely. I have annotated my copy with (so far) ten pages of notes, typewritten and single-spaced. It's that good!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Axial Age--The Cover Up December 27, 2003
This is one of the most significant works of the twentieth century yet it is not even in print. Deep sixed from the word go. Remarkable! Even books detailing the intellectual biography of Jaspers omit mention of it. The various efforts to subject the issues to scholarly study distort the original observations. What's going on? The reason is not hard to find. It contains the first crystallization of something current science and religion don't want to face, the phenomenon of synchronous parallel evolution, global in scale, and operating in a fashion that flagrantly contradicts received dogmas of religious, scientific and economic history. Check out the reviewer's World History and the Eonic Effect for a discussion of this text. Meanwhile it should be reissued and the public deserves to know the existence of this line of historical evidence going back to the nineteenth century. It makes mincemeat of Darwinian thinking. Aha! Now we know why they deep sixed the book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category