When my good friend Zhan Hequan recommended Fu Jun’s book “the course of Western Civilization: from ancient Rome to the independence of the United States”, I rejoiced but doubted.
Why do I rejoice? The reason is that I believe Zhan Hequan, a good friend for many years, is a hermit and wise man who loves reading and has profound knowledge and extraordinary insight; the book he recommends must have something outstanding. The doubt is that I don’t believe that Chinese scholars can write excellent books about western civilization. Those who don’t understand Christianity can’t write well; Those who understand Christianity but lack academic ability still can’t write well.
When I read the book, I was overjoyed by a trip I had never expected. Fu Jun deeply understands the mystery of the Christian faith and has strong academic skills. He can sit on the cold bench for ten years, resulting in this 1.2 million word masterpiece that can attract everyone to want to read it all in one breath; nevertheless, no one can read the whole book in such a way.
Toynbee of Britain, the great scholar of civilization studies, divided the 5500 years of human history into 21 mature civilizations: Egypt, Sumerian, Minos, ancient China, Andes, Maya, Hittite, Babylon, ancient India, Greece, Iran, Syria, Arabia, China, India, Korea, the West, Byzantine, Russia, Mexico, and Yucatan. Among them, the first six are the first generation civilization directly derived from primitive societies, and the last 15 are the relative civilization from the first generation civilization. Besides, there are five dead Civilizations: Polynesia, Eskimo, nomads, Sparta, and Ottoman.
Unfortunately, most of the civilizations referred to above died or disappeared in the night sky of history. In my opinion, only three “heavenly civilizations” can go into modern civilization: Jewish civilization, Christian civilization, and Chinese civilization (including the regions affected by Chinese culture, such as Japan and South Korea). The common characteristics of these three civilizations are: awing the heaven, longing for heaven, and advocating the unity of heaven and human.
Western civilization is a Christian civilization, but it also includes different sects of Christianity, such as Protestantism, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodox. It is like the mobile phone, with different brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. At the same time, Western civilization was influenced by ancient Greece and Rome. Therefore, Western civilization is sometimes called “two Greek Civilizations,” the integration of Greek civilization and Hebrew civilization.
How to explore and regard the course of Western civilization? Fu Jun, taking Christian faith as the main clue, combs the process of Western history from ancient Rome, and Britain to the independence of the United States, and then summarizes that “English American Protestant civilization” is the mainstream of Western civilization
It’s a brilliant job, even a great job! Five years of preparation, followed by six hours of writing every day for five years, resulted in the crystallization of 1.2 million words!
After Lin Yutang, the talent, there is now Fu Jun again coming out of Fujian. What a blessed place! Fujian!
To help readers digest the tome of Fu Jun, before commenting, let’s briefly introduce the context of this book.
First of all, Fu Jun come straight to the point: human percept, that is, the essence of human beings, is greed and depravity, and reason cannot promote from that; namely, rationality cannot transcend percept.
In order to transcend the essence of greed and depravity and move towards civilization, humans hope to lead by morality or ethics. These are obvious in China, where Confucian culture is the mainstream. The “ruling the country by virtue” prevailing in contemporary china shows that today’s Chinese are still pinning their wishes on this ancient tradition.