Comparative Studies in Society and History

The Meetings of East and West

Europe, the Middle East and the Shift in Power: Reflections on a Theme by Marshall Hodgson

Charles Issawia1

a1 Princeton University

Suppose there are two lines on a graph, close together and moving in thesame general direction and that at one point one of them begins to divergefrom the other. After some time the gap between them will have widenedvery considerably. This simple image would command general agreementas an illustration of the different paths taken by Western and MiddleEastern or Islamic civilizations in the course of the last thousand years.