Map of the History of Religion

I made an interesting discovery a few years ago. Not an especially unique discovery, I’ll admit, and rather obvious in hindsight. But here goes.

The Eastern Mediterranean spawned three great religions: Judaism, then Christianity, and then Islam. With Christianity dominant in the US, it’s easy to focus only on this region. But northern India also spawned three great religions: Hinduism (before the tenth century BCE), Jainism (c. ninth century BCE), and Buddhism (c. sixth century BCE).

This short animation shows the spread of these great religions and gives a little perspective. The Judeo-Christian religions have obviously had an enormous impact on history, but they’re not the only ones.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.1002732&w=425&h=350&fv=]

4 thoughts on “Map of the History of Religion

  1. This is a pretty interesting video. Thanks for sharing it. It would be interesting to see communism mixed in from the beginning of the 20th century, seeing as communism, though not a religion per se, is an ideology which has pretty strong things to say about religion and impacted the geographical area of religion in certain parts of the world.

    • Good point. And maybe something to show the indigenous religions of the Americas and Africa. They weren’t the global winners, but still the spread of the Polynesians or large American empires like the Incas or Aztecs (and their predecessors) would be nice.

  2. Hi Bob,

    You’re wrong about Jainism: it arose at the same time as Buddhism. In fact, the founder of Jainism (Mahavira) and the founder of Buddhism were contemporaries.

    • Thanks for the input. You could well be right. The Wikipedia article (not always accurate, of course) said that it started between the 6th and 9th centuries, with predecessor forms extending back earlier in time.

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