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Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  206 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the complete demolition of traditional structures of authority, scientific thought, and belief by the new philosophy and the philosophers, including Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. The Radical Enlightenment played a part in this revolutionary process, which effectively overthrew ...more
Paperback, 834 pages
Published September 12th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2001)
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John Warner
Oct 30, 2007 John Warner rated it liked it
Recommends it for: dorks and nerds
this erudite but meandering and interminable volume makes, i think, three central claims. they are: (1) that something like a unified enlightenment (as opposed to the multiple "enlightenments" that historians talk about now) existed in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, (2) that there existed "radical" and "moderate" strains of enlightenment thought, and (3) that Spinoza was the most radical, the most comprehensive, and the most influential intellectual figure of this period.

(3) is the m
...more
Michael
Mar 31, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: European Historians, Classical liberals, philosophers
Recommended to Michael by: Terrence MacIntosh
This is one of the few books I read in grad school that I really feel I benefited from being exposed to. When I return to it, I am surprised by how rich and compelling it is, in spite of its length and density. Each time, I find new things to be fascinated by, as if it anticipates my growth and changing interests, and writes new chapters of itself in my absence.
It is essentially an intellectual history of secular thought, answering the perplexing question: How did modern secular thought become t
...more
Chris
Aug 26, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Appearing in 2001, and weighing in at over 800 pages, this is the first of a projected three volumes on the Enlightenment. In this first volume, Israel constructs the basic argument that is foundational for the second and third volumes, which together present a comprehensive survey of the Enlightenment as a whole. He sets out to supplant Peter Gay's two-volume work, which has been the standard treatment of the Enlightenment for three decades. Reviewers are abuzz.

Back in 1981, Margaret Jacob arg
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Thore Husfeldt
Jan 06, 2013 Thore Husfeldt rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I abandoned this book after a few hundred pages. It makes me increasingly angry. It’s also unenlightening.

How can one write a book about the enlightenment that is so unwilling to enlighten? I’m baffled how so much erudition and scholarship can be poured into a tome that reads like a PhD thesis with an audience of 1. Mind you, I like books that are challenging and flatter the reader’s intelligence. But I’d rather have my groin pummeled by Spinoza’s femur than subject myself to yet another page of
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Tyler
Sep 23, 2015 Tyler rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Intellectual Histories
Shelves: philosophy, history
This detailed intellectual history contrasts the "radical" Enlightenment of Spinoza with the moderate version represented by John Locke. The author documents a five-way battle for the minds of modern people and shows how the most radical ideas of the era found their way into the High Enlightenment. The focus is on Europe, but the implications for the new American state are obvious, helping us over here sort out what is meant by the expression that the United States is a "product of the ...more
Justin
Jan 13, 2013 Justin rated it it was amazing
A strong thesis from Israel - that the celebrated thinkers in the post-Renaissance western world are all essentially the intellectual progeny of Spinoza - but one which is remarkably researched and, given the weightiness of the topic, clearly conveyed. Most Anglo-Americans will suggest it was Hobbes who ushered in the radical enlightenment, but even he had to admit that with the publication of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (and the posthumous Ethics), the Dutchman had 'out-thrown him by a ...more
Willem
May 31, 2012 Willem rated it it was amazing
My 'bible'. Great read, great reread, great reference book, great to leaf through on a rainy day. In short: great.
Donald
Sep 05, 2009 Donald rated it it was amazing
Back in the day, you weren't a REAL philosopher unless you held illegal underground reading circles and risked being burned at the stake for reading Spinoza.
Otto Lehto
Jul 31, 2016 Otto Lehto rated it really liked it
There is no business like clandestine philosophy business.

"How I love this noble man
More than I can say with words.
Still, I fear he remains alone
With his shining halo." - Albert Einstein

Jonathan Israel's monumental tome is a rich and valuable compendium of historical research. It highlights, with staggering erudition and zealous advocacy, the somewhat neglected importance of Spinoza and the "Spinozists" (a rather loose grouping of writers, polemicists, philosophers and demagogues) for the radica
...more
Greg
Mar 02, 2008 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book is dedicated to three propositions: (1) There were two Enlightenments, one radical and the other moderate (2) the Radical branch does not have its origins in England (as we have all been taught in Philosophy 101 in the English-speaking world) (3) the Radical branch has its origin in Spinoza.

This is all ultimately debatable. It is all a matter of emphasis. How important was Hobbes on the continent vs. Spinoza? How important was Diderot vs. Rousseau for the French revolution? Recent sch
...more
Craig
May 21, 2012 Craig rated it it was ok
A reference book disguised as a history book. Good if you are a scholar researching the Enlightenment, but terrible for the general reader. I don't accept the author's concept of "radical", even in relation to Spinoza. Sounds more like academic spin than accurate historical context. You will gain 10 times more insight into the period from other books half this size.
Robin Friedman
Nov 18, 2016 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
Spinoza, Enlightenment, And The Love Of Learning

Jonathan Israel has written an erudite, extensive, and inspiring study on a seminal moment in Western thought, commonly known as the Age of Enlightnment.In short, the Enlightenment marks a change from a thought and society that was theologically focused to thought and society that were secular and scientific in character. This period and this transition has been much studied, but Israel has many new insights to offer. In addition, he writes a book
...more
Michael
Nov 11, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: studies
Das Buch gibt einen guten Überblick zur Debatte bzgl der von Jonathan Israel stark gemachten These, dass diese von eine moderaten Aufklärung zu unterscheiden ist. Einen Stern Abzug gebe ich, da ich das Buch für keine gute Einführung in das Thema halte, wie es im Vorwort versprochen wird. Die Lektüre von Israels Werk davor ist sehr zu empfehlen.
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Erudite, scholarly, fascinating, and intriguing. A recommended read.
Saverio Mariani
May 26, 2013 Saverio Mariani rated it really liked it
Shelves: filosofia
Una lunga, spesso difficoltosa, lettura.
Grande pregio di questo volume (forse troppo lungo) è sicuramente l'erudizione.
La posizione filosofica è condivisibile (si tenta di dimostrare come Spinoza sia il vero cardine dell'Illuminismo radicale che ha caratterizzato la modernità, e soprattutto gli anni fra il 1650 e il 1750), ma è spesso diluita in discorsi lunghi e faticosi.
Certo: un libro per specialisti, o comunque studiosi di Filosofia. Peccato non sia stato ancora interamente tradotto in ital
...more
Paul Foley
May 11, 2015 Paul Foley rated it really liked it
Enlightenment values are under attack not only by gun wielding religious fanatics but by perfectly well meaning people who think it is unacceptable to challenge others deeply held beliefs, no matter how irrational or counter factual those ideas may be. This meticulously researched and erudite volume is a timely reminder of how important this revolution in ideas was, and how central it is to our modern world.
James Igoe
Apr 17, 2015 James Igoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book and ideas, with some flaws I found irritating. First, some quotes are provided without translations - I wish my French was better, and i have no real understanding of Dutch - and it would have been nice to link to the translation, if not had it displayed in the text. Second, the history is very detailed, a bit too much for my taste, and I would have preferred a somewhat higher-level view of the actions of the various actors in the enlightenment drama.
Marc
Oct 09, 2015 Marc rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy, spinoza
Massief werk, enorm detaillistisch en belezen.
Slechts één grote these: de Verlichting begon veel vroeger dan altijd aangenomen, en Spinoza was de spil waaruit alles is voortgesproten! Dit wordt zo fanatiek aangevoerd op alle mogelijke plaatsen, dat het in deze vorm duidelijk overtrokken lijkt. Maar dat neemt niet weg dat er zeker een grond van waarheid in steekt
Baris
Jun 23, 2014 Baris rated it it was ok
Shelves: comps
Good introduction radicalism within Enlightenment thinking. Yet it could have been easier for reader to follow if the writer was more systematic in his approach. It seems to me that he himself was not sure whether he was writing about Enlightenment in general (and its radicalism) or the radical philosophes in the movement. Also, his criteria for being "radical" is somewhat sketchy.
J.M. Hushour
Feb 21, 2013 J.M. Hushour rated it liked it
A sturdy and vigorous rimming of Baruch "B-Bag" Spinoza who, according to Israel, was the centerfold for a 1650-1750 orgiastic Radical Enlightenment which shattered the European mindset. An immense work which pulses with a life all its own, detailed and full of much that the average person wouldn't need to know.
Philjones62
Mar 30, 2016 Philjones62 is currently reading it
Abandoned
Too many of his key points are solely described by quotes entirely in French (the one language he never translates)*.

* Probably hyperbole but is the impression.

Like his later book on the revolution, once you get past the early chapters he settles down - yes reading again.
Jim Talbott
Jun 17, 2013 Jim Talbott rated it really liked it
I will admit that this was a bit more than I wanted or needed and it took me forever to read, but it is a very detailed account of the early enlightenment and the struggle for supremicy between Spinoza, Newton, Wolf/Leibnitz, and the Cartesians.
f t
May 29, 2015 f t marked it as to-read
Jonathan I. Israel, Martin Mulsow (Hrsg.): Radikalaufklärung. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2014, ISBN 978-3-518-29653-0.
Riekie
Jul 15, 2012 Riekie rated it it was amazing
Voor de studie gelezen, is voor iedereen de moeite waard om te lezen, mooie blik op een belangrijk tijdvak in onze vaderlandse geschiedenis
Craig Bolton
Dec 30, 2011 Craig Bolton rated it it was amazing
Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 by Jonathan I. Israel (2002)
Javier
Javier rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015
Leanna
Leanna rated it liked it
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Feb 24, 2014
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Feb 20, 2015
Philip
Philip rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2011
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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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