Karl Jaspers’ Philosophical Faith for the Global Age: The Idea of Civilizational Continuity

In the post-World War II era, Jaspers attempted to reformulate Western Christianity for an increasingly globalizing world. He was especially focused on overcoming its anti-Semitic legacy. His solution to it was the idea of civilizational continuity. Through it, he tried to reverse the directions of the German debate on civilization which had been dominated by Weimar historicists, especially Oswald Spengler and Ernst Troeltsch. While the latter emphasized the utter uniqueness of each civilization and thus denied any common elements between civilizations, Jaspers rejected their isolationist tendency by pointing to the historical reality of civilizational continuity. He found its best advocates in the Buddha.