Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government


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An error occurred, please try again. Brand New: A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. The second volume in the acclaimed sequence of Barbarism and Religion explores the historiography of Enlightenment.


  • The Arrangement;
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  • J. G. A. Pocock;

John Pocock investigates a series of major authors who wrote Enlightened histories on a grand narrative scale, were known to Edward Gibbon and were important in the latter's own work: Giannone, Voltaire, Hume, Robertson, Ferguson and Adam Smith. With his recognition that the subject of the Decline and Fall demanded treatment of both the patristic as well as the papal church, Edward Gibbon's intellectual trajectory is both similar but at points crucially distinct from the dominant Latin 'Enlightened narrative' these writers developed.

This volume is also informed by the perception that the interaction of philosophy, erudition and narrative is central to the development of enlightened historiography: once again John Pocock shows how the Decline and Fall is both akin to but distinct from the historiographical context within which Gibbon wrote his great work. Introduction; Prelude: the varieties of early modern historiography: Part I. Civil and ecclesiastical history; 2.

Popes and emperors: from the Isaurians to the Hohenstaufen; 3. Indeed, the central thesis — among the many compelling ideas to be found in Barbarism and Religion — involves a major recasting of the celebrated historian of the Latin West as an unexpected historian of a Eurasian Middle Earth. Unexpected because we think we know Gibbon. Here is a Gibbon who diverges not only from our preconceptions of his achievement, but also from many of his contemporaries among the great historians of 18th-century Europe. In a series of case studies of major historians in Volume II of Barbarism and Religion , Pocock outlines the dominant macronarrative of Enlightenment historiography.

This traced the decline of the Roman Empire in the West, the irruption of barbarian tribes from the North and East, the rise of feus and the emergence of feudal barbarian kingdoms, the rise of the Papacy, the decline of feudalism, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the eventual appearance of commercial society, urban politeness and a stable European states system.

Barbarism and Religion, vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government

Indeed, the Decline and Fall remains something of a glorious accident. He considered undertaking more commonplace narratives on such topics as the expedition of Charles VIII to Italy, the career of Sir Walter Ralegh and the history of Florence, as well as the history of the Swiss. All of these had some bearing on the making of early modern Europe. The Popes were, of course, unlikely friends of liberty, but they had posed less of a threat to the communities of Western Europe than the more immediate ambitions to universal monarchy of the Hohenstaufen emperors.

This Eastern focus is readily explained. Pocock provides a plausible account of an English Enlightenment whose defining axes of debate were Christological and Trinitarian. Beneath the obvious shock of the new — the accommmodation of religion with Newtonian science and the emerging insights of a critical Scriptural hermeneutic — the English Enlightenment witnessed the revival of ancient disputes from the patristic era. Indeed, heresy did not always spring from a deliberate programme of deist subversion, but, as often as not, from a quest for an uncorrupted primitive Christianity.

In addition to the familiar Gothic ancestors of the Western European nations, the Decline and Fall engaged with the histories of two further categories of barbarian, the Arabs and Persians of the Near East, and the nomads of the central Asiatic steppe, the Huns, Turks and Mongols. The history of the Empire in the East could not be understood without reference to the shocks experienced in Europe from the movements of these Asiatic peoples and to their ultimate causes in the political convulsions of the Chinese Empire beyond.

As you can see from the above, the lay-out of this series is somewhat of a confused mess. Much like many would say of his 'models' for classifying civilizations. Toynbee has copped a lot of flak from historians and the academy over the years. But he is also one of the best-selling historians of the 20th Century, a cross-over 'superstar' academic whose books became best-sellers and adorned many a polite gent's coffee table. This series has also been abridged many times. You can pick up the One Volume, Illustrated Edition NOTE: The two-volume abridgment may be your best bet, as complete copies of the twelve volume set seem almost impossible to find outside of academic libraries these days.


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Also available in a single-volume abridgment. Spengler is another one of those 'systematizing' historians, like Toynbee, who tried to categorize civilizations and set out parameters for how they develop, thrive, survive, then die. Spengler thought of the civilization as if it were a biological entity, which had an identifiable lifespan.

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Similar to Toynbee, he copped a lot of flak for this view. Nonetheless he has a lot to say, much of it interesting if one suspends judgment. They often say a wise man can learn from anyone, even a fool. Although they were both wrong on their main points, neither Toynbee nor Spengler were fools. One can learn a lot from them.

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This may take a while to grab you, if it does at all. I feel like the work was not set out very well. To my mind, it lacks a proper introduction to 'hook' the reader. Nonetheless it's a classic for a reason. This guy is basically the father of the idea of feudalism. If feudalism has a bible this is it, but has come under fire in recent years still standing pretty tall though, from what I hear. Churchill, John Keegan: Amazon. Churchill is actually a very good writer. The subject matter speaks for itself. If you like military history, wars, or modern history, this will have a lot for you.

Churchill is also a funny guy, the sort of guy you would definitely love to have a beer with at the pub. Take for instance his story about how the previously timid President Truman acted toward Stalin after being told the USA had finally developed a nuclear weapon: " Now I know what happened to Truman yesterday. I couldn't understand it.

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When he got to the meeting after having read this report he was a changed man. He told the Russians just where they got on and off and generally bossed the whole meeting. Pocock: Amazon. Edward Gibbon! Yes, yes, I'm a bit obsessed. Anyway, it is projected to be six volumes, but to my knowledge only the first five are available so far. Basically this book situates Gibbon's writings in the context of Gibbon's life, in a very post-modern way, giving us a look at why he might have wrote the way he wrote, what influenced him to write in various ways, et cetera.

Sort of hard to explain, but obviously do not attempt to read this unless you have read Gibbon first. Setton, Marshall W. Baldwin: Amazon. Hazard: Amazon. Setton, Harry W.

Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government
Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government Barbarism and Religion, Vol. 2: Narratives of Civil Government

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