Roy's Reviews > Original Sin: A Cultural History

Original Sin by Alan Jacobs
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's review
Apr 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: culture, history
Read in April, 2011

Enjoyed Alan's episodic tour of original sin (if that's actually allowed). His readable and oft insightful work wanders among various players who have pondered this great question of humanity's flawed moral character (or at least it wandered with me while I bounced between Moscow, Nashville, Cookeville, Chattanooga and back again last week). I found his treatment of Rousseau and the radical romantics, who keep hoping against irrational hope that we are essentially "innocent" from birth, particularly helpful. What he reveals is the tragic irony that those who promote human native innocence (such as the "enlightened" French Revolutionaries, racially pure Nazis, classless Marxists, et al.) almost always end up being those who take top honors for perpetrating the greatest evils in history. For those looking for a theological treatment of the question, they'll need to look elsewhere. For those wanting a fine guided cultural history tour, Alan is your man, your 'adam'.
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