Monday, June 27, 2011 | 11:39 AM
Author, Speaker, Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) is acknowledged as one of the “greatest achievements of modern scholarship.” Toynbee’s book, huge in scale, achieved wide prominence but he was more admired by the history reading public than by his fellow historians, who criticized him for contorting information to fit his alleged patterns of history. I suspect this criticism stems largely from the fact that Toynbee likely viewed the patterns of history through the redemptive theme of Scripture.
In A Study of History, Toynbee details the rise and decline of twenty-three civilizations about which he wrote, “Of these, sixteen are dead and nine of the remaining ten—all, in fact, except our own are shown to have already declined.” He did suggest then that we may have passed our zenith. Were he alive today he would likely move Western civilization into the category of those in decline.