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The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Cultural Editions Series)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a brief, but concise, overview of the ideas spawned by the Enlightenment. The author provides documents to illustrate the the ideas of major figures of the enlightenment. The author indicates this book as suitable for a one week course session on the Enlightenment. Here we see the formative ideas of individual freedom, religious tolerance, and government by the will of the people displayed in the various source documents. Not an exhaustive treatment, but an excellent tickler to the study of this most important period in the history of human freedom.
I did find it amusing that Ms.Jacob presents Lady Mary Montague on a par with Voltaire, Locke and Hobbes. We would have to guess that Ms. Jacob is probably a serious feminist, and being such, that it sometimes gets in the way of her otherwise healthy perspective.
Previously, I had read Jonathan Israel's "Revolution of the Mind" in which he tries to focus on the more radical, and later period of the movement. While Israel's grasp of knowledge of these times seems robust, his organization and writing are wanting. Because of his employment of extraordinarily long, and extraordinarily compound sentences, without the convenience of commas, reading his book becomes a tedious labor.
The second part has essays from some of the great philosophers of that era.
John Locke talks about the best way to teach children is through niceness, rather than physical punishment (It seems obvious now, but was something new back then), and other practical advice.
Treatise of the Three Imposters was written with a fake name and published in secret. Penalties would have been harsh for anyone involved. It describes Moses, Jesus and Muhammad as regular people tricking people into believing for their own benefits.
Voltaire has some great essays. My favorite being that Francis Bacon was the greatest philosopher, even above Issac Newton, because he discovered the scientific method, which made all modern science possible.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu had some fun essays about her travels. Freer German areas were nice and prosperous while the ones with greedy kings were poor. While in Vienna, It was common for wives and husbands to have lovers on the side. If you invite the man out to the theater, don't be surprised if he brings his wife and mistress there together. In Turkey, many wives would meet their lovers for a secret fling at the Jewish shop, and no one would notice, because they always wore those Arabian robes which covered their face and body.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for my students as a classroom resource. They find it readable and of good value in their work. Good introduction.Published on May 29, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Extremely useful for my Europe in the 18th century class and it was also interesting. Great for writing my footnotes.Published on November 4, 2013 by christina
the service was ok wish it would have came with a a+ but the price was fair and did the job!Published on December 8, 2012 by rich0810