Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy And The Making Of Modernity 1650 1750
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Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy And The Making Of Modernity 1650 1750

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  18 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 philosophes, including Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. The Radical Enlightenment played a part in this revolutionary process, which effectively overthrew all...more
Hardcover, 848 pages
Published March 29th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2001)
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John Warner
Oct 30, 2007 John Warner rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2013 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Thore Husfeldt
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...more
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...more
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
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 b...more
My 'bible'. Great read, great reread, great reference book, great to leaf through on a rainy day. In short: great.
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.
Jun 25, 2013 Tyler rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Intellectual Histories
Shelves: philosophy
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 Enlighten...more
Saverio Mariani
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
Marc L
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
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.
J.M. Hushour
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.
Jim Talbott
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.
Voor de studie gelezen, is voor iedereen de moeite waard om te lezen, mooie blik op een belangrijk tijdvak in onze vaderlandse geschiedenis
Craig J.
Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 by Jonathan I. Israel (2002)
Pannill Camp
Jun 23, 2007 Pannill Camp rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerds
Thorough publishing history of Enlightenment. Great reference.
The authoritative work on the Enlightenment.
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.
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