Today’s age of imperial geopolitics has made it difficult for many people to appreciate the cooperative traditions in history that gave rise to the great discoveries and progress of humanity’s experience. From the ancient Silk Road uniting the east with the west in trade and cultural exchange for hundreds of years to the 7-9th century alliance of Christian, Jewish, Muslim civilisations, history has proven that humanity is much more than a Hobbesian animal- perpetually prejudiced to others, intolerant to differences and greedily “looking out for number one”.
Although this misanthropic view of human nature has been carefully amplified by generations of imperial gatekeepers of history, philosophy, anthropology and sociology, the fact is that it is no more true than the theory that the earth is flat.
Both theories (ie: “flat earth” and “Hobbesian beast-man”) both have the effect of crippling the powers of creative reason in the minds of its adherents, undermining the maturation of conscience in the hearts of its believers and has kept humanity chained to sets of ideas that act as self-regulating barriers between our “material selves” on the one side and our higher potentials for discovery and self improvement on the other. “Stay within your limited field of activity” says the master to its slaves, “and never dream of venturing too far outside your proscribed limits”.
In this lecture, I introduce the story of the little known Turkic kingdom of Khazaria which converted to Judaism in the mid 8th century and which served as a keystone of the Tang Dynasty’s Silk Road revival as well as intermediary between the beautiful ecumenical alliance of the Abbasid Dynasty’s great Caliph Haroun al Rashid and the Carolingian Dynasty’s leader Charlemagne.
Within this class, the question is treated: how and why did this civilisation and broader ecumenical story get scrubbed out of history? How did the Venetian empire and other vestiges of the corrupt Roman Empire reorganise itself after Rome’s collapse and successfully undermine this peace of faiths by unleashing years of Crusades, Mongol invasions, inquisitions while simultaneously engineering a new bankers’ dictatorship after the 13th century that became a dominant force of evil in the world? How did such artists as Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Schiller expose this side of the empire within their works in later years?
This lecture is part of a larger ongoing series entitled “The Renaissance Principle in Universal History” and follows the previous week’s presentation “Life at the End of an Empire: St Augustine’s Fight to Save Platonic Christianity“.
1- The Forgotten Jewish-Christian-Muslim Alliance and China’s Silk Road by Matthew Ehret