Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752

Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752 Jonathan Israel Presents The First Major Reassessment Of The Western Enlightenment For A Generation Continuing The Story He Began In The Best Selling Radical Enlightenment, And Now Focusing His Attention On The First Half Of The Eighteenth Century, He Returns To The Original Sources To Offer A Groundbreaking New Perspective On The Nature And Development Of The Most Important Currents In Modern ThoughtIsrael Traces Many Of The Core Principles Of Western Modernity To Their Roots In The Social, Political, And Philosophical Ferment Of This Period The Primacy Of Reason, Democracy, Racial Equality, Feminism, Religious Toleration, Sexual Emancipation, And Freedom Of Expression He Emphasizes The Dual Character Of The Enlightenment, And The Bitter Struggle Between On The One Hand A Generally Dominant, Anti Democratic Mainstream, Supporting The Monarchy, Aristocracy, And Ecclesiastical Authority, And On The Other A Largely Repressed Democratic, Republican, And Materialist Radical Fringe He Also Contends That The Supposedly Separate French, British, German, Dutch, And Italian Enlightenments Interacted To Such A Degree That Their Study In Isolation Gives A Hopelessly Distorted PictureA Work Of Dazzling And Highly Accessible Scholarship, Enlightenment Contested Will Be The Definitive Reference Point For Historians, Philosophers, And Anyone Engaged With This Fascinating Period Of Human Development

Jonathan Irvine Israel is a British writer on Dutch history, the Age of Enlightenment and European Jews Israel was appointed as Andrew W Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, in January 2001 He was previously Professor of Dutch History and Institutions at the University of London.In recent years, Israel has focused his a

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  • Hardcover
  • 983 pages
  • Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752
  • Jonathan I. Israel
  • English
  • 01 December 2019
  • 9780199279227

10 thoughts on “Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752

  1. says:

    This is Israel s second volume in what he promises to be a magisterial recasting of Enlightenment history It appeared in 2006 and weighs in at almost 1,000 pages of dense type Judging from the reviews in peer reviewed journals, both of this book and of its fat prequel, Radical Enlightenment, Israel s interpretation is now dominant among specialists in the field Lengthy review essays now discuss Israel s project Apparently, Radical Enlightenment was a prolegomena This second volume will be joined by a third which is unpublished as of yet and together they will survey the entire era Israel s project is massive in scope and in total tonnage Enlightenment Contested surveys the the movement to 1750, and the next volume will apparently pick up from there Here Israel further widens his discussion of the Enlightenment by incorporating such topics as slavery, Islam and colonialism, all the while placing Spinozism at the center, as always Along the way he turns polemical, arguing that only the radical strain of the Enlightenment, with its robust egalitarianism and rejection of divinely authored hierarchies, offered a potent and coherent antidote to slavery and the ill treatment of women and subalterns Seen in this light, Voltaire and Hume come off as limpwristed coddlers of bad traditions Indeed, recentering around Spinoza places the moderate wing of the Enlightment in no pun intended a new light In Enlightenment Contested Israel also sharpens his theoretical framework He opens with a trenchant rejection of social and cultural history in general, and of Roger Chartier in particular That s pretty cheeky He asserts that any claim that culture forms ideas is both unprovable and unfalsifiable So he cries foul on the whole linguistic turn, striking out at any attempt to read the Enlightenment without doing intellectual history Israel impressively rehabilitates intellectual history, and gives it a new method focusing on controversy This approach foregrounds tracts and articles, and gives a second place, not first, to the standard canonical writings from the period Moderates Voltaire and Hume come away looking rather ordinary I can t imagine that cultural historians will simply take all this lying down I suppose someone will step up to answer him.

  2. says:

    Interesting, readable and a source And last but not least enjoyable.

  3. says:

    It s 1,000 pages long, so I picked and chose which chapters I read It s incredibly dense, but if you want to get deep in the weeds on the philosophy underpinning the Enlightenment, this book, and the other two in the series, will do it in spades Tons of information and insight into how these men, some famous and some you ll only encounter in great detail in this book, really thought about politics, morality, and one another Two warnings First, a passing familiarity with French and German and Dutch will make things easier, as the author intersperses phrases from the original thinkers works into the text It s great for about 100 pages and then you realize many times he s leaving key parts of the sentences in a language you may not be able to read, or may not be familiar enough with the language to grasp the translation At that point, it s aggravating and you have the sneaking suspicion you re missing interesting points Second, the guy s sentences are very long Too long, really and he should have had a better editor with the guts to tell the guy he s a scholar at IAS at Princetonso probably not used to being told to be succinct to take 1,000 pages and make it 500 and call it an opus On multiple occasions, an entire paragraph was a single sentence linked together by commas and semicolons in a Frankenstein s monster of a sentence By the time you get to the end, you ve forgotten what point he was trying to make Again, aggravating How an editor let that pass is beyond me Bottom line this book is chock a block full of information about the Enlightenment and if this is something you ve always wanted to explore inside and out, then read all 3,000 pages of this series If not, it s still worth skimming the chapters you re most interested in, and leaving the rest for posterity But be warned that the author writes firmly in the humanities tradition of why say something with 10 words, when 30 will make it sound smarter You ll be as purple as the prose if you try to digest the entire tome.

  4. says:

    2008 12 07 This massive effort s slated to open up 2009 sure to be a massively epic year, what with it Romanizing to MMIX, the name of Donald Knuth s

  5. says:

    Maybe a tad polemical in outlook but not in details or scholarship An important work.

  6. says:

    A comprehensive survey of the different and contradictory intellectual movements, fights, struggles, disputes that gave birth to what we call the Enlightenment.

  7. says:

    Enlightenment Contested Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670 1752 by Jonathan I Israel no date

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