Talk:Arnold J. Toynbee

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Old talk[edit]

As a novice user interested in the ideas and contributions of Arnold Toynbee, I find the article distinctly lacking. I also notice more emphasis on the issue of criticism (though it remains unclear to what exactly, it feels as if the article is just trying to make it clear that there sure is a lot of criticism out there) and pretty little on Toynbee's ideas and achievements. Also, surely a work of the scope of a Story of Civilization should merit a bit more attention? What about a bibliography? --190.48.103.105 13:30, 1 February 2007 (UTC)


I'd like to see a bibliography of works by Toynbee...--JECompton 01:36, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Easiest way to do that (for books and collections, anyway) is go to the Library of Congress website, [1] and type in his name under "Author Browse." It's a very long list. --Michael K. Smith 18:13, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm - the external link is to a publisher's blurb. Not that I don't find more to say for Toynbee that some historians. But NPOV? I don't think so.

Charles Matthews 08:11, 9 Sep 2003 (EDT)


To anon. editor adding bibliography: there is no format standard at this point for books - but upper case is not it.

Also, please be careful of the category and interwiki links at the bottom of pages.

Charles Matthews 11:05, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Noted. Thanks. Do you want me to lower case it all? This is the first Toynbee bibliography on the web, as far as I am aware, and relies on S. Fiona Morton. It includes all published items of 70 pages or more in length listed in her work, Bibliography of Arnold J. Toynbee, OUP, 1980, including his contributions to works by others, other than

• his contributions to the 13th and subsequent editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which may have exceeded 70 pages per edition

• material published only outside the English-speaking world (reprints of journalism or of locally delivered lectures, selections from his works for Japanese or other readers, etc)

• translations of his works.

Dialogues published in the English-speaking world and books edited by Toynbee, or co-authored with one other writer or collaborator, are mentioned even where his contribution may have amounted to fewer than 70 pages.

Publication dates are for first editions (first publication of the relevant material in this form). Revisions to subsequent editions are not normally shown. The place of publication is London unless otherwise stated. If a work was published simultaneously in the UK and elsewhere, only the UK details are shown.

For his journalism and his many other contributions to books, see Morton.

David Derrick


Yes please do lower case. Please note that Wikipedia has to be careful on all copyright matters. I think it is questionable whether any copyright can obtain on simple lists of works, but I'm not sure the same can be said for bibliographical details. I tend to err on the side of giving quite spare lists of titles and dates. Charles Matthews 20:19, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Had also concluded lists could not be copyright. Some of the amplification is from me anyway. How much of it to give in an encyclopedia environment is also a tough call. Will rethink that point when I do the format change.

David Derrick

One way would be to create a section of the article surveying the major works. If those summaries are basically your own work (i.e. are not verbatim from your source), there should not actually be any problem here. Charles Matthews 07:59, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

alleged Anti-Semitic Record[edit]

It should be noted that during the Holocaust, Toynbee was among those prominent British personalities who slandered Jews attempting to escape to Israel as Nazis. His anti-Semtic record should be noted.

MSTCrow 09:20, May 29, 2005 (UTC)
Can you site where Toynbee did this? Nobs 18:26, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, he did it at various times in public and through his writings.
MSTCrow 00:03, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)
Well, that is my question. Where specifically in his writings can it be cited. While I cannot claim to have read everything, I have spent a good deal of time reading very much of it (some several times over), and what I haven't read I have access to. Thanks. Nobs01 00:35, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm surprised to hear of this and assume it's just an ad hominem attack on his theories. I've read much of the 2-volume abridgment of Toynbee's Study of History and found nothing in it which offends me as a Jew. If he made any anti-semitic remarks I'd like to see these compared and contrasted with his views of Jews and Judaism as expressed in his main work. Uncle Ed 14:24, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

This stems from a rebuttal to a stand Toynbee took in 1947 with the end of the British Mandate that rights of Palestinians still needed to be respected. It is available somewhere on the internet, but of coarse to the charge of anti-Semitism, there is no substance. It's just an example of the flaming rhetoric of the times, someone tried to exaggerate that Toynbee was opposed to the creation of the State of Isreal. nobs 16:25, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
This might shed light on the record,
"[Sir Lewis] Namier objected to Toynbee's presentation "because," Toynbee explained, "by this time he had become an ardent Zionist, while I . . . was becoming more and more doubtful whether the mandatory power was going to succeed in reconciling its commitments to the Palestinian Arabs with its commitments in Palestine to the Jews. I feared that the Arabs, were going to get an unfair deal. . ." [2]. nobs 00:04, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I think he said things like Zionism shouldn't go the way of apartheid, not that the word was then used; but took South Africa as a negative example. Charles Matthews 08:33, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

It was an emotional time; the State of Isreal was in its infancy, and I don't beleive it can be said Toynbee opposed its creation, he just spoke up about Britain's commitment under the mandate, and was criticized by paranoid critics, as these things usually get exaggerated. nobs 16:46, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Even if Toynbee was opposed to the creation of Israel, that just makes him anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.

The argument for anti-Zionism versus anti-Semitism is specious. Here is why: In his major work A Study of History Toynbee argues that the Israeli treatment of Arabs during the 1948 war was morally comparable to the Nazi treatment of the Jews. He repeated this accusation in a 1961 debate with the then Israeli ambassador to Canada, Jacob Herzog, who asserted that the Nazi murder of six million Jews was incomparable to the unfortunate uprooting of Arab communities. ( "Moral v. Numerical," Time, 10 February 1961. ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bgold004 (talkcontribs) 18:30, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Toynbee and Jews[edit]

There were actually allegations from ca. the 1950's-1960's that Toynbee seemed to resent the Jews because they conspicuously failed to fit within his grand overall abstract scheme of history, and some pointed out that he seemed to give very short shrift to the Old Testament in early editions of his history (while celebrating most other forms of ancient literature and culture). Some also found his approach to the whole middle-east problem to consist of insufferably patronizing and condescending lectures to the Jews on how they were the whole problem, and how he imperatively required and demanded that they revert to the overall role in history which he, Arnold J. Toynbee, personally assigned to them. This could all be documented with sufficient research, but I don't have the material to hand right now... AnonMoos 18:19, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't ever get the impression that he believed the Jews constituted outliers in his grand scheme. I've read up to the end of the 5th volume of A Study of History and IIRC the history of the Jews features prominently in his theories of challenge and response, creative minorities, the stimulus of penalizations and the idolization of an ephemeral self.
Could you provide the source material that differs with this? Romolampkin (talk) 11:30, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Are you reading the first published editions, or the revised editions? I once saw complaints that in the early editions of his work, he seemed to betray certain degree of annoyance that the Jews kept hanging around in "fossil" form a few thousand years too long, when their work of creatively influencing other civilizations was obviously over and done with, and that he gave the Old Testament a rather brief and cursory treatment, in clear contrast to his celebration of most other forms of ancient literature. I read about all this sometime in the 1980s (or possibly early 1990s), and have no real idea where to look for it now. AnonMoos (talk) 22:28, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

There are several articles that explain Arnold Toynbee's elaborate latent antisemitism. Most of these are in print, pre-dating the internet. See in particular Thomas W. Africa, The City of God Revisited, Toynbee's Reconsiderations in the Journal of the History of Ideas, University of Pennsylvania Press, Apr. - Jun., 1962 at page 288, near the middle. The paragraph begins with Toynbee's characterization of Judiasm as a fossil of Syriac civilization. It ends with a lament that Jews were not sufficiently decimated to have prevented them from hurting Arabs at Der Yassin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bgold004 (talkcontribs) 18:27, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


"This stems from a rebuttal to a stand Toynbee took in 1947 with the end of the British Mandate that rights of Palestinians still needed to be respected" - anyone spouting this ignorant nonsense really should go away and do some reading before entering the discussion. What 'Palestinians'? The only 'Palestinians' in 1947 were the Jews. The 'he was only anti-Zionist' gambit is sooo tired. Anyone opposing the Jewish nation's right to self-determination in its own homeland is antisemitic per definitio. Toynbee's virulent Jew-hatred is amply demonstrated by the points mentioned here by others. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.2.223.241 (talk) 21:34, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Actually, the word "Palestinian" referred to all the inhabitants of the British Mandate territory (Arabs and Jews included) until at least 1949. And no informed individual claims that Toynbee was a "virulent" vulgar common déclassé anti-Semite; his anti-Jewish tendencies were rather intellectual in nature (sometimes almost absurdly so, as when he seemed to develop something of a resentment against Jews for not conforming to his grand overall schema of human history), and manifested themselves accordingly; there was much off-hand condescending arrogance, but little "virulence" of the ordinary type... AnonMoos (talk) 01:31, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Needs more meat[edit]

A new reader having plowed through the entire -word article would have learned little about Toynbee's theories. Only 775 of th 2300 words are about him, and the 450 words about his approach to history shed little light on his views: they don't even list all the stages in a civilizations lifecycle and ignore completely Toynbee's concept of "Affiliation". Challenge-and-response is but one aspect. Uncle Ed 14:30, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree; most analysis like this always claim Toynbee's Theory of Challenge & Response is related to environment; that may be the first example he uses in his text, however the threory recurs again and again and again, as social challenges, political challenges, economic challenges etc. This would be an excellent place to expand upon, and clarify some of Toynbeee's ideas. nobs 16:29, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I can add some of what Curtius wrote. Charles Matthews 16:33, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Toynbee does mention environment, but his point about challenge and response is wider than that: he speaks of the need for the challenge to be not so much that it overwhelms you (like colonizing Greenland), but not so easy that you lapse into idyllic laziness (like people who live in sub-Saharan Africa, picking breakfast off a tree branch). I gotta crack open my copy of it again.

But I can't write this whole encyclopedia by myself!! Why do so many articles on important figures and topics have to suck so badly? Uncle Ed 20:09, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

This page right now is owned by Toynbee's critics; it needs input from people who not just read Toynbee, but actually have some understaning of what he said. nobs 20:37, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

correcting the tone of the page[edit]

I made some corrections today to the page. I tried to tone down some of the statements made. I would seriously suggest that if people want to critique his work in this manner that that seperate sections be created on the page both cases can be presented.

I dont think its right to combine a description of his career and ideas with a hostile dismissive critique of them at the same time.

Looks good. While I disagree with many, many of Toynbee's conclusions, his method of approach and investifation is unparalleled, and deserves study just for that reason. Also, Toynbee didn't write his works for the academic community, where all the rejection comes from. And it is quickly obvious to anyone reading, his work is not simply an academic "school" of historiography. nobs 17:33, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Actually I don't think this is the right way to go. We report on criticisms; when they are from distinguished figures like Geyl, they have to be given full weight. Simply mollifying the language in any case doesn't change the argument. I shall add something on the other side. But I have ample evidence that historians don't rate Toynbee. Charles Matthews 20:45, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
That Toynbee was an historian there is no denial; however Toynbee didn't write for academia; Toynbee wrote for what we today call think tanks, and policymakers. nobs 20:49, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
To the extent that that has a certain plausibility (I would guess he wrote also for personal satisfaction, and as he married into my family I have some data on this, and that he also wrote for non-Europeans, in particular) that would be a reason to be tougher, no? Charles Matthews 20:55, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Recently someone propounded a theory to me that Tonybee must have had a research staff assisting him, and that some work may not be his own; this is entirely possible seeing it's difficult to imagine one person can amass such an indepth amount of detail. And being outside academia would give you the license. Though I don't know what relevence such speculation is (except perhaps professional jeolousy, seeing academic historians can't use other peoples work and put thier name on it, or maybe get paid what Toynbee was getting paid). I hope this speculation goes no farther, cause it still shouldn't detract from what Tonybee amassed. nobs 21:03, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
It all sounds like transferring assumptions from today's hotshots back into the 1930s, where they may have little validity. I doubt he had uncredited help. Charles Matthews 21:12, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I dont mind the criticism of his work being brought up, but reading it this morning, it seemed to go a little too far. Comparing it to the Spengler and Huntington pages, it left the impression that Toynbee somehow far worse and utterly discredited as compared to either of them. I get concerned whenever I read anything about Toynbee because there is a group of people who hate him based on middle east politics out of all proper proportion. - anonymous
I agree with much of that. The business about "Toynbee Convectors" make him sound like a kook-cult leader, and seriously should be replaced with some substance of his work. User:Nobs01 198.133.178.17 21:40, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Could we all agree that at least 20% of the article should be about what Toynbee taught, professed or believed - especially in his book "A Study of History"? I don't mind if 80% then is rebuttals. Uncle Ed 05:08, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

This introductory statement, " found little response in the discipline of comparative history that most occupied him.", is false. (And I attribute it to the professional jealousy stated above). True, A Study of History is huge. True, it occuppied him for at least 27 years (really closer to 40). However, I am looking right now at about 12 cu. ft. of the Survey of International Affairs that he edited during those same years. And he was probably more well known in those days as editor of that publication than as an historian. In conclusion (1) history didn't "occupy him most" (2) the current affairs of his day occuppied him regularly as anyone in the publishing business knows the pressure of meeting deadlines. Where he found time to research & write A Study of History I'll never understand. nobs 05:23, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, there we hit a typical Wikipedia issue: the comparative history page is the tiniest of stubs. That means there is not much basis for talking about his effect on comparative history, either way. I think alluding to comparative history is useful, to place his work in context. Charles Matthews 07:53, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

How about a rewrite of the first paragraph to be more generally about him and then moving the whole issue of "A study of history" after that. Right now, the placement is so up-front that creates a wrong impression. - anon

There is something to that. On other hand, hitting the reader with the main reason for someone's celebrity is correct 'news style'. Charles Matthews 22:18, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Toynbee's notoriety should include (a) longtime Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and (b) longtime editor of its publication Survey of International Affairs; A Study of History is coincidental or a sidelight to those two roles he played. The above is especially important, given the time in question, i.e. from the failure of the League of Nations, World War II, the founding of the Alliance of World War II, the creation of the United Nations Organization, the Cold War, etc. It can be seen that much of Toynbee's writings is intimately involved in all these events. nobs 00:39, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
Above paragraph fixed to link to Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIAA) instead of Recording Industry Association of America. "Notoriety" is also misused as a synonym for "fame," but I am not going to fix that. My further effort should go into improving the article, not the talk page. 71.194.38.54 (talk) 07:36, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Larry Siegel

Quotation[edit]

The inserted quotation by Anon user is extrememly close to the "meat" we have been discussing here. Toynbee said as much in Vols. IX & X of A Study of History. I would suggest an inclusion, perhaps somewhere introducing the quotation, that this is in keeping with his larger overall thesis of a "dominant minority" (i.e., his theory of mimesis), when he states in context,

" It seems to me likely to be imposed on the majority by a ruthless, efficient, and fanatical minority".

nobs 03:45, 4 November 2005 (UTC)


Please clean-up or add to this site. There is very little information on his theories. Even worse, the "critizism" section is empty of any substantance. I cannot tell what these critics believed was wrong with Toynbee's theories. Calling it "Philosophy of Mish Mash" does not explain what part of the theory is "mish mash" or where his arguments go wrong. Please flesh this section out. Thanks.

He's a Comparative Historian. It's a field that's currently out of favor with the academy for various reasons. Many criticisms have more to do with current academic politics and trends e.g. "Post-Colonialism" (which says criticizing other cultures is racist) and the work's ideas about Christianity for instance, than any actual problems with SoH, which about 5 people have read in its entirety (admittedly, I've only read the abridgement, myself). That's another problem though.
Some critiques which are concerned with the historical substance of SoH have to do with the specifics of delineating the civilizations which were included or excluded and ethnocentrism. Many of these delineations, admittedly, seem to be controversial and at times, arbitrary. The criteria used to operationalize civilizations is too restrictive, too (Spengler does a better job of actually comparing civilizations, but he's less of a historian and more of a scientist). The book, despite its undeniably high level of scholarship, has its share of warts and deserves a certain amount of critical appraisal, but unfortunately very few of the critiques I've seen are very meaningful. There are some challenge & response critiques, too. Guinness4life (talk) 16:46, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Academic History[edit]

I note that the article twice mentions that Toynbee was an academic at the University of London. Whilst there is some centralisation of certain resources (examinations, libraries etc) the UoL only really exists in an abstract sense; it is a composite of 30 or more institutes and colleges, the larger of which are basically universities in their own right (amongst which the LSE is prominent). I therefore don't understand how one can be a research professor at the 'University of London', and thus this passage seems a bit misleading (it's particularly tautological to talk about the LSE AND the UoL (although I'm not certain when the LSE joined the federation)). I suspect it would be better to explicitly state which college or institute he was a professor at- can anyone enlighten me? Badgerpatrol 22:55, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

According to [3], he started at King's College London. Charles Matthews 23:04, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
That's quick work! (Although the link seems to be broken...) Cheers, Badgerpatrol 23:36, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Reading Habits[edit]

Does anyone know of Toynbee's reading habits?

Where has the bibliography gone??[edit]

Why on earth has the entire bibliography been taken off this inceasingly messy page??

About.com[edit]

Is About.com stealing this article's text, or is much of this article stolen from here [4]? GrubLord 14:54, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

That article is certainly stolen from here. Charles Matthews 12:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Family tree[edit]

Peter Jenkins is married to Polly Toynbee, rather than being a sibling. Charles Matthews 12:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

James Blish's famous "Cities in Flight" series of science fiction novels is organized around a whole elaborate quasi-Toynbeean scheme (a full-page chart correlating future historical events with Toynbeean stages is included in some editions of the books), and Toynbee is also mentioned several times in the text of the novels themselves... AnonMoos 18:23, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

He is also mentioned in Chapter 6 of Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke in reference to the character Sir Lewis Sands - "A man whose knowledge was matched only by his urbanity, Sir Lewis was reputed to lose his composure only when called the Arnold Toynbee of his age." Dunno if it bears mentioning here or not. Weaponofmassinstruction (talk) 01:44, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
Oops, I think that Spengler may be mentioned more prominently than Toynbee in "Cities in Flight"; partially disregard my comments above... AnonMoos (talk) 11:14, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Missing piece of "trivia"[edit]

I am all for "trivia" - very much so, since it adds "flesh" to "bare bones". Which is why I cannot comprehend the reasons for the omission of T.'s "visions". (Anyone who knows enough about him to have written an encyclopaedic entry about him surely knows which "visions I am referring to.) It is a vital piece of "trivia" - certainly important to Toynbee himself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.61.38.43 (talk) 03:27, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

New College of Florida[edit]

The New College of Florida article claims that Toynbee came out of retirement to join the institution's faculty upon its foundation. Can anyone verify this? If this is true, it really ought to be added to this article. Harel Newman (talk) 20:41, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Absolutely true. The Google News archive includes this article from the October 6, 1963 St. Petersburg Times regarding his appointment. As an aside, I am a former New College of Florida admissions director. HistoryETC (talk) 07:17, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Toynbee = plagiator[edit]

Everything Toynbee wrote was "stolen" (colloquially speaking) from Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher who introduced the Cyclic Theory of History in 1917. 93.219.181.143 (talk) 17:15, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Assistance please at Toynbee's law of challenge and response[edit]

New article, Toynbee's law of challenge and response needs help. Thanks Andy Dingley (talk) 14:30, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

I've redirected it here. The book by Graeme Snooks[5] looks like an interesting critique:"he was badly equipped for the task, he did not possess a dynamic model, he focused upon events rather than mechanisms (outcomes rather than processes),he adopted the wrong level of aggregation, and he lost his way—what had begun as a scicntific expedition ended as a kind of Pilgrim's Progress. Toynbee was unable not only to derive any useful law's of history but also to provide a satisfactory explanation of the dynamics of human society. The fundamental reason is that he asked die wrong questions. To understand die rise and fall of civilizations it is necessary to focus upon issues of material expansion and growth. Civilization is a brick-and-mortar thing. Instead. Toynbee, consciously and at the very beginning, tackled the issue of mankind's spiritual progress". See also [6]. Ludger Kühnhardt attempts to apply it to current issues here.[7]. If it's enlarged, maybe sometime it should have its own article written by editors with no COI. Dougweller (talk) 15:17, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

"Law of challenge and response"[edit]

I've deleted this. We have (since my edits) a section on challenge and response. Some people do call this a law, others don't and I'm not sure we should/need to. But the main problems are that there is actually no discussion in the new edits of this 'law', just a list of civilizations Toynbee wrote about and some original research about those civilizations. What the article actually needs is more discussion of the concept, pro and con, and if the sources are there maybe discussing it in terms of one civilization. This editor means very well and is working hard but I don't think yet understands at all how this Wikipedia works and our relevant policies concerning original research and verification. Sociology of revolution is also basically original research with no references. Dougweller (talk) 18:21, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

intro[edit]

where on earth did u find this article? ^ Michael Lang, "Globalization and Global History in Toynbee," Journal of World History (2011) 22#4 pp. 747-783

Toynbee against Greek Humanism?? u cannot cite an article with the opinion of someone about Toynbee for the general description on the introduction. Also, it makes no sense, nobody can understand what is this person famous about (therefore mentioned on wikipedia), ur rushing into criticism from the very beginning of the wiki — Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.24.55.83 (talk) 02:22, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

I read the article in the Journal of World History--it's the leading scholarly journal in the field and Toynbee was very much into world history. Wikipedia depends on scholarly secondary sources like the Journal, or McNeill's scholarly biography. I recommend editors who work on this article read that article and McNeill's book--or they will be ignorant of the best scholarship. I cited it in the introduction because some anonymous editor erased the earlier version. I would be happy to send a copy of the Lang article to anyone who writes me at rjensen @ uic.edu it opens: "To many world historians today, Arnold J. Toynbee is regarded like an embarrassing uncle at a house party. He gets a requisite introduction by virtue of his place on the family tree, but he is quickly passed over for other friends and relatives. For much of the twentieth century though, Toynbee was perhaps the world’s most read, translated, and discussed living scholar. His output was enormous, hundreds of books, pamphlets, and articles. Of these, scores were translated into thirty different languages. In 1947, Time magazine considered his historical significance to be on par with Marx. Among intellectuals, response to his work was de rigueur. Indeed, the critical reaction to Toynbee constitutes a veritable intellectual history of the midcentury: we find, for example, Aron, Frye, Huxley, Kennan, Kracauer, Kroeber, Morgenthau, Mumford, Niebuhr, Ortega y Gasset, Popper, Ricouer, and Sweezy, as well as a long list of the period’s most important historians, Beard, Braudel, Collingwood, and so on." Lang provides a very useful survey of Toynbee's intellectual heritage. Rjensen (talk) 03:32, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Terrible wiki[edit]

u cannot write a wiki page based on a biographical book, its supposed to be either of an encyclopedical tone or the result of further research, kind of the voice that resumes what is generally said. The wiki clearly cared to portray Toynbee as somethng he wasn't, emphasizing on the citicism. Still needs a lot of work both on becoming more neutral and on offering more rich information. I started correcting, please join me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.24.55.83 (talk) 01:52, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Wiki rules do not allow the blanket erasure of sourced text. If you think something is mistaken, the rules WP:NPOV say you must ADD a countervailing statement by a reliable secondary source. [Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.] Rjensen (talk) 02:18, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Adding so many tags in each section is useless. So is removing cited information. Just because it's not found online does not make the source invalid. Do not remove cited material without consensus. Icarus of old (talk) 04:44, 11 September 2013 (UTC)


where on earth did u find this article?

− ^ Michael Lang, "Globalization and Global History in Toynbee," Journal of World History (2011) 22#4 pp. 747-783

− − Toynbee against Greek Humanism?? u cannot cite an article with the opinion of someone about Toynbee for the general description on the introduction. Also, it makes no sense, nobody can understand what is this person famous about (therefore mentioned on wikipedia), ur rushing into criticism from the very beginning of the wiki — Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.24.55.83 (talk) 02:22, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

I read the article in the Journal of World History--it's the leading scholarly journal in the field and Toynbee was very much into world history. Wikipedia depends on scholarly secondary sources like the Journal, or McNeill's scholarly biography. I recommend editors who work on this article read that article and McNeill's book--or they will be ignorant of the best scholarship. I cited it in the introduction because some anonymous editor erased the earlier version. I would be happy to send a copy of the Lang article to anyone who writes me at rjensen @ uic.edu it opens: "To many world historians today, Arnold J. Toynbee is regarded like an embarrassing uncle at a house party. He gets a requisite introduction by virtue of his place on the family tree, but he is quickly passed over for other friends and relatives. For much of the twentieth century though, Toynbee was perhaps the world’s most read, translated, and discussed living scholar. His output was enormous, hundreds of books, pamphlets, and articles. Of these, scores were translated into thirty different languages. In 1947, Time magazine considered his historical significance to be on par with Marx. Among intellectuals, response to his work was de rigueur. Indeed, the critical reaction to Toynbee constitutes a veritable intellectual history of the midcentury: we find, for example, Aron, Frye, Huxley, Kennan, Kracauer, Kroeber, Morgenthau, Mumford, Niebuhr, Ortega y Gasset, Popper, Ricouer, and Sweezy, as well as a long list of the period’s most important historians, Beard, Braudel, Collingwood, and so on." Lang provides a very useful survey of Toynbee's intellectual heritage. Rjensen (talk) 03:32, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

− − Thank you for the message. The article you are referring to is interesting, but indeed it refers to the intellectual heritage of Toynbee, it is an analysis. The introduction lead cannot refer to it, its a matter of style, keeping the tone neutral (e.g. the reference to the criticism against Toynbee is way too extended, if u go through what has been written about Toynbee u ll see how controversial he was - opinions neither positive, nor negative). I would suggest that whoever writes the intro must first have completed a more universal and original - solid reading on Toynbee so the into reflects a vast reading rather than that of an article (which makes it too specific/detailed and, well... a re-reading). Normally journal articles (even the finest ones) can compliment secondary analysis (further paragraphs, sections), not the intro. I m sure this article has a lot of information to offer (if we are critical towards it of course) a little further on the wiki.

− − I will definitely send u an email, would love to read the article, thank u!

All Wikipedia articles must be based on reliable secondary sources--of which there are many on Toynbee. That is editors follow the scholars who worked through tens of thousands of pages by Toynbee and others. We can NOT use text based on one editor's personal reading of a little sliver of Toynbee.Rjensen (talk) 14:56, 11 September 2013 (UTC)


151.24.55.83 (talk) 13:14, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Lede issues[edit]

User:Rjensen, do you have a specific reason to repeatedly promote the criticizing of Toynbee, against the majority here who clearly say that this article emphasizes on this aspect and needs to become more neutral? Since the introduction already mentions in a neutral way both his achievements and the critique he received, please add relevant information only to the criticizing paragraph and NOT on the introduction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mt1720 (talkcontribs) 15:16, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

IN Wikipedia, neutrality WP:NPOV means neutral among the reliable secondary sources; it does NOT mean neutral toward Toynbee. The great majority of historians in the last 50 years have a negative view of Toynbee's "Study of History" --it's hard to find anyone alive in 2013 who endorses his ideas. Therefore a neutral article will emphasize what his reputation actually is. To say that his ideas are accepted today is a fringe view. However I have been adding sourced info on why his ideas were accepted in 1950s among both scholars and the public. [eg I added Parry's argument that "A religious outlook permeates the Study and made it especially popular in the United States, for Toynbee rejected Greek humanism as too man-centered, distrusted the Enlightenment belief in humanity's essential goodness, and rejected the "false god" of modern nationalism.[fn to Parry]"] Rjensen (talk) 15:33, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Mt1720 (talk) 16:19, 11 September 2013 (UTC)It is a matter of format, an introduction reflects general assumptions, you go into depth too early on the articleMt1720 (talk) 16:19, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Mt1720 (talk) 16:07, 11 September 2013 (UTC) The controversy exists because historians 50 years ago had the complete different attitude towards him, therefore it is important to mention this controversy in the intro and explain whatever detail around this controversy on the paragraph related to the controversy. You cannot introduce such a controversial person (going from extreme adoration to extreme dislike) by emphasizing on the dislike and showing the opinions of those disliking his work, right from the introduction. A person reading a wiki must be encouraged through neutrality to read about this controversy. An encyclopedia is not to describe the trend of any given moment (wether the positive or the negative) because as u can see, things constantly change. Neutrality is the only way Mt1720 (talk) 16:07, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Mt1720 (talk) 16:12, 11 September 2013 (UTC) if u read the current edit of the introduction, you will see that it features every element of the issue, negative and positive. It doesnt go into depth for either, so the reader can continue reading instead of feeling that he is reading an opinionated wiki. It is not correct to go in depth about anything for an introduction. The intro needs a lot of improvements (e.g. it doesnt need to go to this extend describing the study of history) with a focus on very general inormation about Toynbee. Hopefully with your collaboration we will improve it soon. Let's discuss instead of deleting edits all the time Mt1720 (talk) 16:12, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

the lede has to summarize the meat of the article, not give hints that the real story comes later. What's with all these "undue weight" markups--each one needs to be explained here with cites to show they are undue. Rjensen (talk) 17:21, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Mt1720 (talk) 00:25, 12 September 2013 (UTC) To start with, the lede is called a LEAD, because it leads to the main text. In our case it is an introductions because we are building an encyclopedic article, not journalistic. The same goes for opinion, an encyclopedia must respond to reality, not specialists opinions. It is our intention to make this article from class c to class b, and there is no way to achieve that if u continue promoting one opinion. Everyone on the Talk agrees on how negative the wiki is.

Toynbee was enthusiastically respected by scholars and media just as much as he is despised today. If you want to emphasize on the reasons on why he was disliked: either start a new wiki about them so u can expose any academic's opinion, or enrich with these opinions the relevant categories of this wiki (e.g. criticism, or make a new one about the controversy). The "meat" as you call it is not why Toynbee is despisded from the 60's and on, but also what he contributed. I strongly suggest you start a detailed separate wiki refering just to whatever you wish it t refer in relation to Toynbee, or please respect the neutral tone we are trying to build. A controversy means just like that and we are happy to discuss it and analyze it. But the controversy, not just one aspect of it. The intro includes everything, without any assumptions (do you have a study or a way to produce a study that proves that nobody reads Toynbee anymore? Please read the intro and you will see that it clearly shows that he is an abandoned thinker, there is no doubt about that).

I m planning to make extended research for this biography and establish a very neutral wiki about Toynbee, there are going to be plenty of revisions this week, lets collaborate if you are interested, but only if your goal is to write a good class a wiki, not simply to create one specific impression about Toynbee Mt1720 (talk) 00:25, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments and guidance.

The "quote" I cited for Toynbee is in wide circulation, but seems not to be in the book. I apologize for that error.

Toynbee's error is in not recognizing that the Egyptian civilization was most certainly at least "contributed to" by Africans/Blacks as the physical evidence certainly demonstrated during his time and DNA and more modern science confirm.

Perhaps I will be back with your guidance in mind. DamaniK (talk) 19:42, 29 September 2013 (UTC)DamaniK--DamaniK (talk) 19:42, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Racism Quote[edit]

Please provide ref and use a neutral tone. The quote u added is not accuate, nor is the page number you refer to, this is the accurate one, on page 54: http://books.google.it/books?id=FBh462QXBgoC&lpg=PA419&vq=black&hl=it&pg=PA54#v=snippet&q=black&f=false

Here's what is wrong with what you wrote:

Toynbee also expressed racist views and was infamous for his quote: "It will be seen that when we classify mankind by color, the only one of the primary races, given by this classification, which has not made a creative contribution to any one of our twenty-one civilizations is the Black Race."—Dr. Arnold Toynbee, The Study of History, Vol. I, page 233. 1947. This was at odds with the evidence of the primarily Black civilization in ancient Egypt (Kemet).

racist views:

He is referring to the contribution of the black race to the specific civilizations for which he has created a concept, and are the following: Egyptian, Andean, Sinic, Minoan, Sumerian, Mayan, Indic, Hittite, Hellenic, Western, Orthodox Christian (Russia), Far Eastern, Orthodox Christian (main body), Persian, Arabic, Hindu, Mexican, Yucatec, and Babylonic. I don't think there what he says is inconsistent. But we are not here to debate about a person or a book content, but about how something should be writen, based on what OTHERS have writen about a person or a book content. There is no academic or even journalistic text that describe Toynbee as a racist.

infamous:

There is not a record about him being a racist in order to use the word "infamous". You must provide a substancial number of accurate references to this (personally i could not find it). Not his book and your opinion about it, but accuarate academic or other valid references that describe a. his racism and b. that it was a famous one.

The controversy of the book departs solely from the fact that it is not easily classified as history in today's standards since it entails spirituality and religion philosophy. But this is a particular book anyway since it is not self-defined as history, but a study of the history, or philosophy of the history. It was never controversial because of its racicistic content.

Please read the book so you can understand how exactly he classifies these civilizations and under which criteria he uses.

Another issue: format-wise, even if what you mentioned was accurate a. it could not appear in the introduction, it stands out and it doesnt follow the neutral and general introductory style of the paragraph, b. even if it did it would need to have accuarate references, c. we cannot accuse anyone about anything, we can only say that someone was perceived as such etc (with the references)

Finally, language-wise: what we write on wikipedia must be an accuracy based on what others have written about what we describe, not our opinion, our reading on what we describe (in this case the book and an author). That is an opinion that belongs to an article, an essay, a blog post or anything u wish to write. But not an encyclopedic article. The latter requires a recorded fact and a generally accepted impression. Mt1720 (talk) 22:54, 12 September 2013 (

Toynbee was extremely racist, and this Wikipedia article should say something about how he he was extremely Anti-Semitic and Anti-Black and Anti-Anything Except for European....