A Historical Survey of Evolution in the Concept and Status of “Man” Greek to Modern Times


Muhammad Awais Shaukat
Dr. Humaira Ahmad


Study of human nature has been one of the most important questions to which man has come across. Right from the period when man started thinking rationally, because of his curious and enquiring nature, he meditated about Universe, existence and nature of Man and his ultimate reality. The religious tradition claims that when Man first came to earth, he knew the answer to these questions in the light of divine guidance. It declared “Man” as the crown of all the creations and all the other things are created to serve him. The civilizations that didn’t have the luxury of divine guidance developed mythological explanations. It were the Greeks who for the first time developed an intellectual discourse to answer the basic question about the reality of Man and the Universe. The medieval period was dominated by religious traditions. All these traditions, though different from one another, seem to agree to the point that Man is a special creation and the center of the Universe with some amount of divinity attributed to him. But after Renaissance, this view changed radically and the status of “Man” shrunk to an animal only who was thought-to-be guided by his own instincts and who was through and through a profane creation. This research aims at studying the concept of “Man” in different civilizations and explores the evolution of this concept from Greek to Modern times through analytical research method.


How to Cite
Muhammad Awais Shaukat, and Dr. Humaira Ahmad. 2020. “A Historical Survey of Evolution in the Concept and Status of ‘Man’ Greek to Modern Times”. Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization 10 (1), 235-54. https://doi.org/10.32350/jitc.101.13.


Ahmad, Dr Israr. Bayan ul Qur’ān. Lahore: Anjuman Khuddam ul Qur’ān, 2013.
Augustine, Saint. The Confessions. Translated by Rex Warner, Toronto: Mentor-Omega, 1963.
Bergson, Henry. Creative Evolution. Brussels: Alistiar Press, 1961.
Berlin, Isaiah. The Proper Study of Mankind. London: Straus and Giroux, 2001.
Bronowski, J. The Western Intellectual Tradition. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1960.
Chadwick, H. Augustine: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. 2001.
Copernicus, Nicholas. “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Sphere.” The Great Books of the Western World. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc, 1952.
Coward, Harold. The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought. New York: State University of New York Press, 2008.
Coward, Harold. The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought. New York: State University of New York Press, 2008.
Darwin, Charles. Origin of Species. London: Taylor and Co., 1961.
Durant, Will. Story of Philosophy. London: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Fakhry, Majid. A Short Introduction to Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Mysticism Oxford: Oneworld, 1998.
Feist, Theories of Personality. Paris: Classical Books, 1966.
Freud, Sigmund. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. Munich: Modern Books, 1936.
Fromm, Erich. Marx’s Concept of Man. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1966
González, Justo L. Essential Theological Terms. Westminster: John Knox, 2005.
Green, Vivian Hubert Howard. Renaissance and Reformation: A Survey of European History between 1450-1660. London: Edward Arnold Publishing, 1974.
Grez, Stainley J. A Premier on Postmodernism. Michigan: William B . Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.
Herghanin, B. R. An Introduction to the History of Psychology. Wadswarh: Cangage Learning, 2005.
James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. New York: The Modern Library, 1902.
Lillie, William. Introduction to Ethics. London: Metheun, 1948.
Marx, Karl. Das Capital. Boulder: Westview Press, 1997.
Mason, Francis, Ed, The Great Design. Munich: Duckworh, 1934.
McAuliffe, Jane D. Encyclopedia of the Qur’an. Boston: Brill, 2002.
McDougall, William. An Outline of Psychology. New York: Book Home, 2006.
McDougall, World Chaos. New York: Vintage, 2006.
Miles. Body and Human Values. Wadswarh: Cangage Learning, 2001.
Nietzsche, Frederic. Joyful Wisdom. New York: The McMillan Company, 1924.
Passmore, John. The Perfectibility of Man. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1970.
Plato, Republic. Book IV. Chicago: Peter and Milane House, 1990.
Randall, John Herman. The Making of the Modern Mind: A Survey of the Intellectual Background of Present Age. Cambridge. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954.
Russel, Bertrand. A History of Western Philosophy and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945.
Sardar, Zia ud din. Islamic Futures. London: Pluto Press, 2003.
Spengler, Oswald. Decline of the West. New York: Vintage, 2006.
Strauss, Leo. Natural Right and History. University of Chicago Press, 1953.
Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of Western Mind. London: Random House, 1991.
Turner, William. History of Philosophy. Boston: Ginn and Company Publishers, 1903.
Vanhoozer, Kevin J. gen. ed., Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. London: Baker Academics, 2005.
West, David. An Introduction to Continental Philosophy. Oxford, UK; Blackwell Publishers, 1996.

Most read articles by the same author(s)