On multiple modernities, civilizations and ancient judaism: An interview with Prof. S. N. Eisenstadt

Shalva Weil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this interview with Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt, the author discusses with the great sociologist of civilizations the intellectual influences on his writings, and his progress since his early works on Israeli society. Eisenstadt analyzes multiple 'modernities' in the context of European society and the salience of solidarity and trust. One of the Axial Age civilizations that continues to fascinate Eisenstadt is India, the largest democracy in the world. Eisenstadt points out that Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, and other civilizations and empires are both universalistic, and particularistic and exclusive. Following his relatively recent analysis of Weber's Ancient Judaism, he prefers to relate to Judaism as a civilization rather than an ethnic group, nation, religion or people, and finds it useful to understand the development of modern Israeli society. He foresees both a constructive and destructive global future, and reiterates his belief in sociology as a powerful tool to present an analysis which can enrich public discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-465
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Societies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Axial Age civilizations
  • Democracy
  • Multiple modernities
  • Particularism
  • Universalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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