A. Toynbee and his Universalist Study of History

Tetiana Danylova, Valeriya Yudina


The famous British historian, philosopher of history, cultural studies researcher and sociologist A. Toynbee introduced his original concept of emergence and interaction of different civilizations. His universalist approach to philosophy of history, his notion of historical cycles of the rise and fall of civilizations, philosophical idealism and the religious subtext of his analysis are set out in the twelve-volume work “A Study of History”. This paper attempts to analyze the civilizational concept of A. Toynbee. In the course of the research, the comparative historical method, the methodology of philosophical hermeneutics, as well as the anthropological integrative approach were applied. A. Toynbee made a tremendous attempt to present the history of humankind as a chain of emergence, growth, decline, death, and the new emergence of civilizations. This theory has caused sharp debates and ambiguity of interpretations. Nowadays, the postmodern world of the 21st century with its uncertainty, temporality and plurality of interpretations requires a new understanding of Toynbee’s spiritual heritage, which needs new research.


A. Toynbee; civilization; culture; historical process; mimesis; etherification


Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2018). Arnold Toynbee. Retrieved September 1, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Arnold-Joseph-Toynbee

Collingwood, R.J. (1980). Ideya istorii. Avtobiografiya [The Idea of History. Autobiography]. Moscow: Nauka (in Russian)
[Коллингвуд, Р.Дж. (1980). Идея истории. Автобиография. Москва: Наука].

Danylova, T.V. (2012). Problema liudskoi identychnosti u postmodernii kartyni svitu [The Problem of Human Identity In Postmodern Worldview]. Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, 2, 16–22 (in Ukrainian)
[Данилова, Т. (2012). Проблема людської ідентичності у постмодерній картині світу. Антропологічні виміри філософських досліджень, 2, 16–22].

Danylova, T. (2014). The World without Fear and Illusions: Meditation as a Means of Overcoming Binary oppositions of Culture. International Researchers, 3(2), 79–82.

Kumar, K. (2014). The Return of Civilization – and of Arnold Toynbee. Comparative Studies of Society and History, 56(4), 815–843. doi: 10.1017/s0010417514000413

McNeill, W. H. (1989). Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Osterhammel, J. (2017, January 6). Arnold Toynbee and the Problems of Today. Retrieved from http://toynbeeprize.org/blog/the-2017-toynbee-prize-lecture-arnold-toynbee-and-the-problems-of-today-jurgen-osterhammel

Salata, G., & Danylova, T. (2016). Uchrezhdeniya konsolidirovannoy informatsii, ili informatsionno-bibliotechnyie tsentryi Ukrainyi, v usloviyah evrointegratsii: k postanovke problemyi [Institutions of Consolidated Information, or Informtion Librarian Centers of Ukraine, in the Context of European Integration: the Problem Statement]. Young Scientist, 8(35), 253–256 (in Russian)
[Салата, Г., & Данилова, Т. (2016). Учреждения консолидированной информации, или информационно-библиотечные центры Украины, в условиях евроинтеграции: к постановке проблемы. Young Scientist, 8(35), 253–256].

Toynbee, A. (2002). Postizhenie istorii [A Study of History]. Moscow: Iris-Press (in Russian)
[Тойнби, А. (2002). Постижение истории. Москва: Айрис-Пресс].

Wilkinson, D. (1996). Sorokin versus Toynbee on civilization. In J. Ford, M. Richard, P. Talbutt (Eds.), Sorokin and Civilization: A Centennial Assessment (pp. 141–158). New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Tetiana Danylova, Valeriya Yudina

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.