Oriental Enlightenment and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 0.25 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Oriental Enlightenment on your Kindle in under a minute.

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

Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought [Paperback]

J.J. Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 31.99
Price: 30.88 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 1.11 (3%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 23 Aug.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 29.34  
Hardcover 91.68  
Paperback 30.88  
Trade In this Item for up to 0.25
Trade in Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 0.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

17 April 1997 0415133769 978-0415133760
What is the place of Eastern thought - Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Confucianism - in the Western intellectual tradition? Oriental Enlightenment shows how, despite current talk of 'globalization', there is still a reluctance to accept that the West could have borrowed anything of significance from the East, and explores a critique of the 'orientalist' view that we must regard any study of the East through the lens of Western colonialism and domination.
Oriental Enlightenment provides a lucid introduction to the fascination Eastern thought has exerted on Western minds since the Renaissance.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (17 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415133769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415133760
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 15.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

"A surprisingly thorough and wide-ranging exploration of the many historical and contemporary connections between "Eastern" and "Western" thought and culture."-"Religious Studies Review, January 1999 "Clarke here offers a solid academic survey of how ideas from India, China, and Japan have been drawn into the West's thinking since at least the 17th century. Thoughtful...."-"Library Journal, 1 September 1997 ..." fascinating [and] informative ...."-"International History Review ..." a thoroughly readable and thought-provoking account."-"Shephard Express

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The contradiction between these two opinions points to an age-old ambivalence in the West's attitude towards the East. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more nuanced than Edward Said. 4 Sep 2006
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book is principally an examination and explanation of how the West has seen the philosophies, religions and cultures of the Far East - chiefly of China and India. To this interest in the East Clarke gives the name Orientalism. That word since 1985 has carried the connotation that Edward Said gave to it in his book of that name. Though that work concerned itself chiefly with the Arab Middle East, other scholars have applied Said's characterization to the western study of cultures further East. That school of thought saw Orientalism as permeated with condescending, exploitative and colonialist attitudes, and scarcely allowed any other factors to play a role. Clarke admits that colonial attitudes were one aspect of Orientalism, but his study demonstrates that there were many others. True, students of Orientalism, like students of all other subjects, cannot help having agendas, and agendas are liable to lead to distortions. So the West's interpretations of the Orient (the word `hermeneutic' turns up with rather tiresome frequency in this text) generally fulfil some need felt by the West; but this is often not at all a need to exploit the East, but rather to gain through Oriental studies a new and enriching perspective on Western culture and frequently to provide a remedy for what are perceived to be its flaws or discontents.

Clarke argues, along with other scholars whom he cites, that in the West the Renaissance and the Reformation ushered in a philosophical restlessness and uncertainty which made Europeans be more inquisitive and open to other ways of thinking.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind changing 6 Aug 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'll like to write this review partly in relation to the last one written for this book, which, I think, many people will find quite daunting. While I'd agree with the author of that review about the excellence of the book I'd like to give a more accessible view, hoepfully just as Clarke's book provides an accessible approach to very difficult ideas.
Firstly, ,any readers are likely to be put off by all the references to those very difficult postmodern (etc) philosophers who are mentioned, either because they'll think, a) I won't understand that, or b) I'm not into postmodernism. To set your minds at rest, Clarke doesn't engage in the lingusitic exercises of using almost indecipherable language to say very little that is typical of many of this school, also, he sets the postmodern agenda (or, at least parts of it) firmly in his sights and demolishes many of their empty stances based on ideology not fact or reason.
As such we can recommend this book to a)anyone who either doesn't know much about orientalism - he provides an excellent introduction as well as analysis; b) anyone who doesn't know much about postmodernism, as you'll be treated to a critical survey of certain aspects of it; c) supporters of postmodernism, as you'll find an able voice against whom you need to defend your ideas; d) a whole range of people not at all interested in orientalism and postmodernism but who have interests in such things as cross-cultural encounter, especially between Europe and Asia, religion, modern European thought, etc.
As to the contents of this book, Clarke surveys the history of the encounter between East and West (Asia and Europe) to show that claims that the two stand as polar opposites which have no connection is untenable. with lucid commentary, clarke deals with the views of orientalists and postmodernists and presnts a more balanced and less Euro-centric approach. for more details, using technical terms which Clarke aptly leads the uninitiated through with subtlety and clarity, whilst providing new insights which will give food for thought for even those well read within this area.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more nuanced than Edward Said 4 Sep 2006
By Ralph Blumenau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is principally an examination and explanation of how the West has seen the philosophies, religions and cultures of the Far East - chiefly of China and India. To this interest in the East Clarke gives the name Orientalism. That word since 1985 has carried the connotation that Edward Said gave to it in his book of that name. Though that work concerned itself chiefly with the Arab Middle East, other scholars have applied Said's characterization to the western study of cultures further East. That school of thought saw Orientalism as permeated with condescending, exploitative and colonialist attitudes, and scarcely allowed any other factors to play a role. Clarke admits that colonial attitudes were one aspect of Orientalism, but his study demonstrates that there were many others. True, students of Orientalism, like students of all other subjects, cannot help having agendas, and agendas are liable to lead to distortions. So the West's interpretations of the Orient (the word `hermeneutic' turns up with rather tiresome frequency in this text) generally fulfil some need felt by the West; but this is often not at all a need to exploit the East, but rather to gain through Oriental studies a new and enriching perspective on Western culture and frequently to provide a remedy for what are perceived to be its flaws or discontents.

Clarke argues, along with other scholars whom he cites, that in the West the Renaissance and the Reformation ushered in a philosophical restlessness and uncertainty which made Europeans be more inquisitive and open to other ways of thinking. This uncertainty was generated from within European culture, whereas in Asia it was only when Western technology and power irrupted into the area that the interest of Asians in European culture began, in response to a challenge from outside rather than from within their own culture. Clarke acknowledges this interest, but devotes only a small part of the book to the impact of Western thought on Asia.

He documents how in the 18th century the philosophes set up their rosy view of Confucian China in opposition to the religious and social criticisms they made of their own society; how, when this interest faded, it was replaced in the 19th century by the interest of the Romantics in Indian thought. We learn of Anquetil Duperron (1723 to 1805) who first translated the Upanishads (into French) and of William Jones (1746 to 1794), who showed that most European languages have an affinity with Sanskrit, which suggested that many of the peoples of Europe came originally from Asia. German nationalists, resenting French cultural hegemony, preferred the idea that their culture was rooted in the Aryan languages (and later, by a perversion of the word, in the Aryan race). Philosophically also, the most profound impact of Indian thought was on a line of German philosophers: Hegel, Schelling, Schlegel and Schopenhauer saw an affinity between the monism of the Absolute and that of Brahman, between their own metaphysical ideas that the world as we know it through our senses is not the real world and the Indian notion that we see the world only through the veil of maya. Both Confucianism and Buddhism were seen by many Europeans as a system of ethics which was independent of a belief in God, and was therefore espoused by many western thinkers in reaction to the claims that religion was the essential basis of ethics.

Towards the end of the 19th century and into the twentieth, at the very time when the West's cultural imperialism emphasized by Edward Said was at its height, there was also the countervailing current that the West's cultural hegemony was increasingly questioned in the West itself; and the interest in Eastern ideas became a broad stream with wide diffusion. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 to 1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817 to 1862) popularized Eastern thought in America on a scale that earlier thinkers had not been able to achieve. Edwin Arnold's poem The Light of Asia (1879), disseminated the Buddhist message and sold nearly a million copies. The Theosophical Society, founded by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Alcott in 1875, had over 45,000 members in 1920. It was strongly infused with oriental ideas, and even played a part in the revival of Hindu and Buddhist self-awareness and self-respect in Asia itself. Some Western actually thought that western civilization, with its frenetic materialism and its spiritual life eroded by rationalism, was worn out and needed to draw on Eastern thought to renew itself. Eastern influences have moved out of the academic and literary world to permeate the very life-style of many westerners.

So Zen and Tibetan Buddhism have found many followers in the West; there are now many practitioners of t'ai chi, yoga and transcendental meditation; the young have gone on the hippy trail to visited ashrams in India. From this point onwards, about half way through the book, Clarke produces so many examples of the interaction between East and West - on literature, on the arts, on religion, on psychotherapy, on holistic medicine, on ecological thinking, on non-violence, even on the philosophy of modern physics (though, curiously, only marginally on the mainstreams of western academic philosophy) - that a short review like this cannot do justice to them. There was even a strand in fascism which claimed an Oriental heritage. Clarke's range is truly encyclopaedic, and in this second half of the book that there will be found much detailed material and many names that are likely to be unfamiliar to the educated non-specialist.

The mainly narrative chapters are followed by two final superb reflective ones. In the first of these Clarke reflects on the philosophical traps into which Orientalism can fall and sometimes has fallen, but his defence of the value of Orientalism is eloquent and persuasive. In the second (more difficult) one he shows how deconstructive Post-Modernism challenges Orientalism but can also find an ally in it.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, scholarly & beyond Said's orientalism 7 July 2000
By "jewatte" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Clarke uses the following Framework for intercultural contact: - Gadamer: hermeneutics of the dialogue: it comes bit by bit, and entails a continuous exchange of meaning between interpreter and interpreted, the goal is 'fusion of conceptual horizons' which requires 'self-awareness of difference' and 'recognition of otherness of the other'. Problem: doesn't take into account underlying discursive power relations (Foucault) - Said: the influence (power) that the west exerted via colonisation, to secure world hegemony, is present in the image that has been created of the East in the West. Everybody involved in orientalism is consciously or not guilty of western imperialism. Clarke says that this image of Said is not complete and shows that interest for the East has often been connected to pragmatic interests, deeply rooted in Europe's own intellectual, cultural and political history. Orientalism often had a countercultural, counterhegemonic rol in the past three centuries and has often been source of energy for radical protest. This way orientalism has often not enforced Europe's established role and identity, but undermined it. Periods of cultural revolution and global expansion in Europe made it possible to create a painful void in the spiritual and intellectual heart of Europe, but also favoured the establishment of certain geopolitical conditions that allowed the transmission of alternative worldviews of the East to the West more easily.
The making of "the Orient"
Both the French Sinophile Enlightenment thinkers and the German Indophile Romantici used orientalism as instrument for the subversion and reconstruction of European civilization, to fight the deeply rooted evils of that time. This way they idealized and romanticized heavily eastern thought and culture. Confucianism gave the French a model for rationalistic, deistic philosophy, but also the Hinduism of the Upanishads gave the Germans an elevated metaphysical system that resonated with their idealist suppositions, as a counterweight to the materialistic and mechanistic philosophy that came to dominate the Enlightenment period.Buddhism: Schopenhauer formulates a radical critique on the Jewish-Christian tradition that searches salvation throught a divine Savior, while buddhism searches it by denial of the will. Wagner and Nietzsche give similar critiques because buddhism, so they claim, offers a psychologically more honest explanation of suffering. Because of the Victorian crisis of faith and belief in progress, and the apparent compatibility of buddhism and science (positivism, Darwinism, evolutionism, materialism, monism), buddhism gains importance. Also the American transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau) used buddhism against Lockean materialism and Calvinism, in their belief in the essential unity and spiritual nature of the cosmos, combined with a belief in the goodness of humans, and the domination of intuition over rational thinking.Besides romanticizing voices, also racist and denigrating voices are found in orientalist discourses.
Twentieth century
Because of the quick progress and economic and social transformation of traditional to modern, Europe experienced an atmosphere of malcontentment with the promises of Western civilization, which made it search for more meaningful and satisfying alternatives. There are two types of associations of the turbulent twentieth century with orientalism: on the one hand the creative involvement in philosophy, theology, psychology, science and ecology, and on the other hand associations with occultism, and mystical undercurrents of fascism. In a period of growing imperialist expansion (which enhanced communication with the East), there was a possibility to begin to see the East really as other (with a different culture), but there was also a sense of being afraid, mixed with feelings of guilt toward the East. This had a different intellectual response: on the one hand there were big speculations about a universal philosophy or global religion, on the other hand there were more modest propositions for the encouragement of a hermeneutical dialogue. There was a tremendous spread of orientalism in the twentieth century, buddhist monasteries arised in the West, poets, writers, hippies and Beat movement, and also New Agers made use of Eastern thought, though not all of them seriously. Academic institutions were built, and eastern scholars came to Europe. Important European thinkers were influenced by the East. This accelerated the understanding of Eastern thought.
Philosophy
- Universalism (Leibniz, Moore) - Comparative philosophy (Nagarjuna compared with Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida, Madhyamaka with Wittgenstein) - Hermeneutics (Rorty: "the conversation of mankind", Larson: "from talking to one another, to talking with one another") - Diversity, otherness, difference, but a sharp awareness of the danger of cultural imperialism
Religion
- Exclusivism - Inclusivism - Pluralism
Psychology
- Psychotherapy and mental health: holistic contextual approach of the individual, more emphasis on experiential knowledge than on intellectual knowledge - Fromm, Jung, Maslow, Naranjo, Ornstein - Transpersonal, humanistic, cognitive psychology - Meditation
Science and ecology
- Sovjet Marxism and buddhism - Capra, Jung, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Prigogine, Bohm - Schumacher, Naess, Macy - Wholeness (holistic medicine, ecology)
Reflections
Besides the problem of interpretation of different cultures, there 's also a problem of projection: Eastern ideas are appropriated by simply projecting them to categories and presuppositions of the West, and the West has become a sort of all-eating monster, usurping all cultures. Clarke claims the aim is not to avoid use of a vocabulary that is derived from the own culture, but that the crucial point is that one does so with critical self-awareness. He emphasizes the importance of mutuality in the hermeneutical process: interpretation begins with pre-conceptions that are replaced by more appropriate conceptions. Example: the wrong understanding the West had (and still has) throughout buddhist history doesn't have to be considered as a failure, but as a necessary and wholesome "turning of the hermeneutical wheel". Orientalism contributed, so says Clarke, to a growth in mutuality, dialogue, knowledge and sympathy, and this while the East has now on the one hand enhanced grip to its own tradition (partly as a result of the encounter with the West) and on the other hand can formulate a solid critique to fundamental aspects of western culture. Also Said believed in a postcolonial era, where an increasingly sophisticated study and criticical self-awareness would make possible a post-orientalist epoch where westerners could approach the East without disturbing presuppositions.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars first impression excellent - except for the painfully small font! 19 Aug 2006
By Bernard G. Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've only read the first chapter so far, my first impressions of the content are excellent, but I have a complaint for the publisher: the font is painfully small and makes it actually a bit of struggle to read.

The ideas are very dense, so I would tend to make the font and line spacing a bit bigger than usual to reduce the strain in that area of comprehension and save the reader's mental energy for understanding the ideas rather than screwing their eyes up at the type. I'm not exaggerating - it's like the size they usually print footnotes in!
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the debunking of said albeit not soon enough 20 Dec 2011
By sherab ebin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Even paging through Said's hatchet jobs leaves me with a foul taste.
This hedge priest for anti-western scholarship, he certainly doesn't deserve the title scholar or savant, destroyed the careers of many real scholars. He was absolutely void of knowledge of India and the Far East. All he seemed to possess was an endless stream of vituperation for real scholars of the Levant. His lap dogs, Foucault comes to mind, worshipped him for his hatred of the West and because their own scholarship was so vapid and ridiculous. I certainly don't miss him or Foucault for that matter either.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback