Divine Accommodation in Jewish and Christian Thought
Author: Stephen D. Benin
Publisher: SUNY Press
This book traces one exegetical, interpretative principal, divine accommodation, in Jewish and Christian thought from the first to the nineteenth century. The focus is upon major figures and the place of accommodation in their work. Divine accommodation, the idea that divine revelation had to be attuned to the human condition, is a vital interpretive device in the history of both Judaism and Christianity. Accommodation is present not only in the language, style, and tone of Scripture but in all of human history. This is the first systematic study of the concept of accommodation, and shows how both religions employed the same interpretative tool for different purposes and to different ends.
One of the most celebrated of Plato's ideas was that if human society was ever to function successfully then philosophers would need to become kings, or kings philosophers. In a perfect state, therefore, philosophic wisdom should be wedded to political power. In antiquity, who were or aspired to be philosopher-kings? What was their understanding of wisdom and the limits of knowledge? What influence have they had on periods beyond antiquity? This volume focuses on Plato and his contemporaries; Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors; Marcus Aurelius and the 'good emperors'; Moses, Solomon and early Hebrew leaders; and Julian the Apostate, the last of the pagans. In conclusion it looks at the re-emergence of the Platonic ideal in important moments of European history, such as the Enlightenment. The theme of the philosopher-king is significant for Greco-Roman antiquity as a whole, and this work is unique in detailing the development of an idea through major periods of Greek and Roman history, and beyond.
This book explores the rich philosophical content of the writings of Jonathan Swift. It discusses these philosophical topics against their ideengeschichtliche background and demonstrates that Swift’s work offers starting points for philosophical reflection that are still topical today.
For 1st and 2nd year undergraduate courses in Modern European History in departments of history. Also, higher level courses on enlightenment.This book provides a wide-ranging account and discussion of the history of Europe from 1713-1789. As well as political events, problems and institutions, it looks at the economic life of the continent, social structures and problems and intellectual and religious life. It also covers all aspects of Europe's relations with the rest of the world during a key period in European history.
Blamed for the bloody disasters of the 20th century: Auschwitz, the Gulags, globalisation, Islamic terrorism; heralded as the harbinger of reason, equality, and the end of arbitrary rule, the Enlightenment has been nothing if not divisive. To this day historians disagree over when it was, where it was, and what it was (and sometimes, still is). Kieron O'Hara deftly traverses these conflicts, presenting the history, politics, science, religion, arts, and social life of the Enlightenment not as a simple set of easily enumerated ideas, but an evolving conglomerate that spawned a very diverse set of thinkers, from the radical Rousseau to the conservative Burke.
Alexis de Tocqueville may be the most influential political thinker in American history. He also led an unusually active and ambitious career in French politics. In this magisterial book, one of America's most important contemporary theorists draws on decades of research and thought to present the first work that fully connects Tocqueville's political and theoretical lives. In doing so, Sheldon Wolin presents sweeping new interpretations of Tocqueville's major works and of his place in intellectual history. As he traces the origins and impact of Tocqueville's ideas, Wolin also offers a profound commentary on the general trajectory of Western political life over the past two hundred years. Wolin proceeds by examining Tocqueville's key writings in light of his experiences in the troubled world of French politics. He portrays Democracy in America, for example, as a theory of discovery that emerged from Tocqueville's contrasting experiences of America and of France's constitutional monarchy. He shows us how Tocqueville used Recollections to reexamine his political commitments in light of the revolutions of 1848 and the threat of socialism. He portrays The Old Regime and the French Revolution as a work of theoretical history designed to throw light on the Bonapartist despotism he saw around him. Throughout, Wolin highlights the tensions between Tocqueville's ideas and his activities as a politician, arguing that--despite his limited political success--Tocqueville was ''perhaps the last influential theorist who can be said to have truly cared about political life.'' In the course of the book, Wolin also shows that Tocqueville struggled with many of the forces that constrain politics today, including the relentless advance of capitalism, of science and technology, and of state bureaucracy. He concludes that Tocqueville's insights and anxieties about the impotence of politics in a ''postaristocratic'' era speak directly to the challenges of our own ''postdemocratic'' age. A monumental new study of Tocqueville, this is also a rich and provocative work about the past, the present, and the future of democratic life in America and abroad.
Dena Goodman here offers a fresh explanation of how critical theory broke out of the mold of an earlier tradition of discourse—the mirror for princes genre—and shaped its own course in the eighteenth century. Criticism in Action provides a historical analysis of French Enlightenment texts as actions and as the focus of critical activity in which writers and their potential readers participate. Goodman approaches texts as forces that shape the thinking and acting of the individuals engaged in the act of reading and presents new interpretations of major Enlightenment texts by Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Diderot.
Sacred Parody and Charismatic Authority at the Court of Peter the Great
Author: Ernest A. Zitser
Publisher: Cornell University Press
In this richly comparative analysis of late Muscovite and early Imperial court culture, Ernest A. Zitser provides a corrective to the secular bias of the scholarly literature about the reforms of Peter the Great. Zitser demonstrates that the tsar's supposedly "secularizing" reforms rested on a fundamentally religious conception of his personal political mission. In particular, Zitser shows that the carnivalesque (and often obscene) activities of the so-called Most Comical All-Drunken Council served as a type of Baroque political sacrament—a monarchical rite of power that elevated the tsar's person above normal men, guaranteed his prerogative over church affairs, and bound the participants into a community of believers in his God-given authority ("charisma"). The author suggests that by implicating Peter's "royal priesthood" in taboo-breaking, libertine ceremonies, the organizers of such "sacred parodies" inducted select members of the Russian political elite into a new system of distinctions between nobility and baseness, sacrality and profanity, tradition and modernity. Tracing the ways in which the tsar and his courtiers appropriated aspects of Muscovite and European traditions to suit their needs and aspirations, The Transfigured Kingdom offers one of the first discussions of the gendered nature of political power at the court of Russia's self-proclaimed "Father of the Fatherland" and reveals the role of symbolism, myth, and ritual in shaping political order in early modern Europe.
Europe in the Eighteenth Century is a social history of Europe in all its aspects: economic, political, diplomatic military, colonial-expansionist. Crisply and succinctly written, it describes Europe not through a history of individual countries, but in a common context during the three quarters of a century between the death of Louis XIV and the industrial revolution in England and the social and political revolution in France. It presents the development of government, institutions, cities, economies, wars, and the circulation of ideas in terms of social pressures and needs, and stresses growth, interrelationships, and conflict of social classes as agents of historical change, paying particular attention to the role of popular, as well as upper- and middle-class, protest as a factor in that change.
This fourth instalment of Harry Redner's tetralogy on the history of civilization argues that intellectuals have a brilliant past, a dubious present, and possibly no future. He contends that the philosophers of the seventeenth century laid the ground for the intellectuals of the eighteenth century, the Age of Enlightenment. They, in turn, promoted a fundamental transformation of human consciousness: they literally intellectualized the world. The outcome was the disenchantment of the world in all its cultural dimensions: in art, religion, ethics, politics, and philosophy.In this fascinating study, Redner demonstrates how secularization took the sting out of both the dread and promise of an afterlife and intellectuals learned to die without the hope of immortality popularized by philosophy and religion. Ultimately, they produced the ideologies that generated the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, which subsequently exterminated these intellectuals through mass murder on a scale never before experienced. The book traces the sources of this fatal entanglement and goes on to examine the contemporary condition of intellectuals in America and the world.Wherein lies the future of the intellectuals? Redner suggest that in the present state of globalization, dominated by technocrats, experts, and professionals, their fate remains uncertain.
In 1947 Horkheimer and Adorno connected the Enlightenment with totalitarianism. Since when the Left has drifted into the language and imagery of the European Counter-Enlightenment, the movement against 1776 and 1789. Bronner sets out to reclaim the heritage of progressive politics.