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The Foundations of Modern Political Thought,…
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The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. 2: The Age of Reformation (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1978; vuoden 1978 painos)

Tekijä: Quentin Skinner (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2134128,531 (4.31)2
A two-volume study of political thought from the late thirteenth to the end of the sixteenth century, the decisive period of transition from medieval to modern political theory. The work is intended to be both an introduction to the period for students, and a presentation and justification of a particular approach to the interpretation of historical texts. Quentin Skinner gives an outline account of all the principal texts of the period, discussing in turn the chief political writings of Dante, Marsiglio, Bartolus, Machiavelli, Erasmus and more, Luther and Calvin, Bodin and the Calvinist revolutionaries. But he also examines a very large number of lesser writers in order to explain the general social and intellectual context in which these leading theorists worked. He thus presents the history not as a procession of 'classic texts' but are more readily intelligible. He traces by this means the gradual emergence of the vocabulary of modern political thought, and in particular the crucial concept of the State. We are given an insight into the actual processes of the formation of ideologies and into some of the linkages between political theory and practice. Professor Skinner has been awarded the Balzan Prize Life Time Achievement Award for Political Thought, History and Theory. Full details of this award can be found at http://www.balzan.it/News_eng.aspx?ID=2474… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:FerrierRGCS
Teoksen nimi:The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. 2: The Age of Reformation
Kirjailijat:Quentin Skinner (Tekijä)
Info:Cambridge University Press (1978), 414 pages
Kokoelmat:Encyclopedias and Anthologies, Oma kirjasto
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The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Vol. 2: The Age of Reformation (tekijä: Quentin Skinner) (1978)

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näyttää 4/4
In a coordinate system where Page Count (P) is plotted on the horizontal axis and Interestingness (I) on the vertical axis, I would characterize this book with the function I(P) = exp(P-250). The first 250 pages of the book discuss the political thought of the Lutheran reformation and the Catholic counter-reformation. This is to some extent an interesting subject, but these debates took place almost exclusively in the realm of theology. The author dissects a great number of arguments from both sides in admirable detail, but I could not personally summon much interest in thinkers whose thought relied so heavily on biblical grounds. The contrast to the author's first volume on the political thought of the Renaissance is conspicuous - the Bible did not figure nearly as frequently in the debates presented there.

But it is worthwhile to persevere through the religious exegesis because this book becomes considerably more interesting towards the end. This is precisely because there the author sets out to analyze the momentous shift away from religious political debates toward secular and rational ones. He does this by analyzing the historical context of the Huguenot revolution in France, where protestants had to argue for their right to resist the monarchy in general terms in order to seek support for their cause across religious divides. The discussion becomes exponentially more interesting when it reaches the predecessors of John Locke, who in fact were much numerous than I could have imagined before reading this book. The book concludes with a brief discussion of the emergence of the concept of a "state", which nicely encapsulates its most important teachings.
  thcson | Jan 5, 2017 |
No doubt subject to many justified attacks in academic circles, which no doubt focus on small problems and ignore the importance and coherence of the argument at a large scale: by the end of this period it was possible, more than ever, to think about 'politics' as something separate from religion and theology. Does that mean that everyone turned into a modern political scientist overnight? Thank god, no. Does it mean that the sequence Bodin to Locke is much, much different than the sequence Augustine-Luther? Yes, yes it does. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
How did the modern concept of the State develop, concomitant with its peculiar accoutrements of sovereignty and power? One of the aims of Skinner's hook is to answer this question in the fullest, broadest, and most meticulous way possible.

Ever since Augustine's De Civitate Dei, the Christian was urged not to pay any attention to this earthly world, but rather to focus on the everlasting blessings of the City of God. Understandably, this is hardly an exhortation for active engagement in the political sphere. It was not until William of Moerbeke's 1250s translation of Aristotle's "Politics" nearly a millennium later that the formal study of the communicatio politica saw a formal recrudescence. Brunetto Latini, Dante's much-vaunted teacher and William's contemporary, wrote one of the first important political treatises of the post-Roman era, the "Books of Treasure." Latini's intellectual heirs, however, were the humanists of the sixteenth century, with whom Skinner's book is almost wholly concerned.

Another prerequisite for the development of the modern State is its asserted independence from any external or coequal powers, which was done when Bartolus and his students broke away from Justinian legist traditions to claim that the State was an "independent association not recognizing any superior." But perhaps the most important formulation is the notion of sovereignty, which was completely foreign to medieval legal assumptions which emphasized feudal organization and the Church's ability to assert itself as an equal power to that of the State. Marsiglio of Padua's "Defensor Pacis," which construed all power, even that of the Church, as secular, was one of the first death knells rung against this now-foreign complicity. Especially interesting is Skinner's careful historical analysis of the world "State" from the condition in which a ruler finds himself (status principis) or the general "state of the nation" (status regni) to the wholly modern idea of the State as a sort of abstract, rarefied power apart from both ruler and ruled, constituting ultimate political authority within a geographically defined region.

For those readers whose groundings in Lutheran and Calvinist theology might not be the strongest, Professor Skinner provides a lush history of these ideas, as a knowledge of them is completely inseparable from broader cultural and political trends. A bit of warning, however: as the material might suggest, this is not a breezy apercu - or even just a moderately difficult one. Unless the reader is wholly interested in the subject, I would not recommend this book as something to read through systematically. However, even considering its age (it was originally published in 1975), the humbly named "The Foundations of Modern Political Thought" belies the massiveness of its achievement. It is nothing less than the best intellectual synthesis of sixteenth century theology, Reformation ideology, and political theory ever written. ( )
2 ääni kant1066 | Oct 14, 2011 |
as good as the first volume ( )
1 ääni experimentalis | Jan 2, 2008 |
näyttää 4/4
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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A two-volume study of political thought from the late thirteenth to the end of the sixteenth century, the decisive period of transition from medieval to modern political theory. The work is intended to be both an introduction to the period for students, and a presentation and justification of a particular approach to the interpretation of historical texts. Quentin Skinner gives an outline account of all the principal texts of the period, discussing in turn the chief political writings of Dante, Marsiglio, Bartolus, Machiavelli, Erasmus and more, Luther and Calvin, Bodin and the Calvinist revolutionaries. But he also examines a very large number of lesser writers in order to explain the general social and intellectual context in which these leading theorists worked. He thus presents the history not as a procession of 'classic texts' but are more readily intelligible. He traces by this means the gradual emergence of the vocabulary of modern political thought, and in particular the crucial concept of the State. We are given an insight into the actual processes of the formation of ideologies and into some of the linkages between political theory and practice. Professor Skinner has been awarded the Balzan Prize Life Time Achievement Award for Political Thought, History and Theory. Full details of this award can be found at http://www.balzan.it/News_eng.aspx?ID=2474

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