Sunday, October 13, 2013

S. Frederick Starr's "Lost Enlightenment"

S. Frederick Starr is founding chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a research and policy center affiliated with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm. A past president of Oberlin College and the Aspen Institute, he began his career in classical archaeology, excavating at Gordium in modern Turkey and mapping the Persian Royal Road.

Starr applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, and reported the following:
Modern readers cannot imagine that Afghanistan and all Central Asia was once the world leader in religious diversity and tolerance but this was precisely the case before the advent of Islam there in the seventh century. Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas, Zoroastrian altars, and early Christian Churches stood on the same city streets, coexisting peacefully. This fruitful interchange, described on page 99, paved the way for the region to be, for a few brief centuries, the intellectual center of the world. How it rose to this high pedestal and how it fell from it is also part of the story of Lost Enlightenment.
Learn more about Lost Enlightenment at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue