Bespreking in The Financial Times van Israel’s "Revolutionary Ideas"


Het nieuwe boek van Jonathan Israel, waarvan ik 3 februari j.l. signaleerde dat het in maart zou uitgkomen, is klaarblijkelijk uit.

Jonathan Israel. Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton University Press, March 2014 

Het kreeg gisteren een bespreking door Duncan Kelly in The Financial Times. Het betreft weer een flinke pil van 888 pagina's.

De recensent vat samen: 

In Revolutionary Ideas, Israel continues to develop a theme that started as a minor moment in his 1995 book The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness and Fall. There, what he terms “Radical Enlightenment” begins around the 1640s and 1650s, when Dutch republicans start arguing that self-government and freedom of expression require the elimination of religious authority. In particular, Israel focuses on how the Dutch-Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza gave such ideas philosophically defensible form, allowing republican politics and religious toleration to be brought under a “monist” and materialist explanation of the structure of the world. For Spinoza, very baldly stated, God is identical with nature, so that nature as God constitutes the singular substance of the world. 

Israel zou het boek eindigen met:
“Radical Enlightenment alone offered a package of values sufficiently universal, secular, and egalitarian to set in motion the forces of a broad, general emancipation based on reason, freedom of thought, and democracy.”

Uiteraard krijgt dit terugbrengen van alle factoren tot één hoofdoorzaak ook kritiek.  

De eed op de Kaatsbaan op 20 juni 1789 door Jacques Louis David (1791)