Definitive (?) List of 18

So I decide that I do not yet like my attempt several days ago at a list of 10.


I have come up with a List of 18:

Religious Classic History Philosophy Literature Total
West  Bible Herodotus Plato, Augustine, Marx Homer, Shakespeare 7
CWANA Quran al-Tabari al-Ghazali
South Asia Samyutta Nikaya   Sankara


Amir Khusrau

East Asia Wang Bi Sima Qian Zhu Xi Su Shi 4
Total 4 3 6 5 18

After I draw this up, I find that this is very similar to an old list I have done (see #48 of this page), with 3 changes. All these 3 changes I consider breakthrough of different sorts:

1. Take out Nagarjuna, and in fact, take out Buddhism as a major tradition. Compared with Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, Buddhism is actually much smaller demographically nowadays. But taking this out, I am able to replace with a-Tabari, that helps add the 3rd book to the History genre - which I think helps the genre representation better. 

2. Rethinking literature. Homer is the source of epic, there is no reason to put Virgil in just to represent the substantial but ultimately minor Latin literature. But Latin is an important language to express Christianity, and inclusion of Augustine takes care of that. Shakespeare has to be in. And Persianate culture just needs one representative, I like Amir Khusrau because he is both admired also in Iran, and also the dominant representative of the Persianate culture in South Asia.

3. The biggest breakthrough is to increase the numbers for the Western tradition. I find that while I have been hung up on the ratios across the 4 traditions, i.e. Western: S. Asian: E. Asian: Islamicate should be 54:36:36:24. Now, I figure that  if I think about this as percentages, in a list of 18 works the ratio of 7:4:4:3 (as it is above) the percentages are essentially the same (i.e. 36%:24%: 24%: 16% is virtually the same ratio as 39%: 22%: 22%: 17%). 

Comments: 1 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

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