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Barbarism and Religion: Volume 1 Paperback – 1 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521797594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521797597
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Pocock manages to place Gibbon within these larger cosmopolitan movements without diminishing the historian's extraordinary accomplishment.' Tim Breen, New York Times Review of Books

'Pocock the historian of political thought has not been altogether useless to Pocock the historian of Gibbon's Roman Empire.' Peter Burke, European Legacy

'… the grandeur of Pocock's conception amazes, but it is often the asides and apercus that linger longest in the mind.' David Armitage, Lingua Franca

'Thus we come back to the English Protestant Enlightenment and the point from which John Pocock set out on his magnificent tour de force.' Nicholas Tyacke, The Times Literary Supplement

'He has penned two very important volumes.' Jeremy Black

'There can be few scholars who can match the range and depth of Pocock's scholarship …'. History of Political Thought

Book Description

This is the first in a sequence of works by John Pocock designed to situate Edward Gibbon, and his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in a series of contexts in the history of Europe. This is a major intervention from one of the world's leading historians of ideas.

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Format: Paperback
John Pocock is one of the leading historians of the last fifty years in Britain and America and his native New Zealand. This volume yet again displays style and extensive knowledge. He attempts to create the different kinds of contexts in which the historian and enlightened intellectual Edward Gibbon lived- from the English historians to the Protestant and French Enlightenments. Actually what Pocock does is much greater than that for he creates a tour of the enlightened world for the reader- he takes you through the minds of the French salon and the british squire and shows you their own self image. This book culminates before Gibbon set pen to paper but in writing it already Pocock has dealt fascinatingly with both secular and sacred history. I would reccomend this to anyone with a serious interest in the period or in history generally- this is a tour de force from a historian who remains at the height of his considerable powers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.1 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential intellectual history 8 Jun. 2017
By J. DAVIDSON - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Essential reading for students of the European Enlightenment ("Enlightenments," as Pocock himself would say, emphasizing the movement's pluralities and divisions). Gripping, eminently readable - first of a five-volume series, but if you're only going to read one of them, this is it.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenments, Not Enlightenment 2 Feb. 2007
By Chazzee - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the introductory volume to Pocock's masterful study of Gibbon and the Enlightenment. The volume is readable and intensely well-written--clarifying abstract and arcane philosophical and historical minutiae with finesse and grace. The historian's writing style is easily gotten used to and anyone who's read Gibbon will certainly appreciate the aesthetics of Pocock's narrative. Readers used to Hemingway's style might find some getting used to the longer paragraphs but even the Grand Old Man appreciated master storytellers. And Pocock is surely that and more. This is easily the greatest work by one of the greatest English-speaking historians in history.

Pocock's master-plan is ambitious and you might need to reread some chapters to get the full impact and import of what he's saying. He marshals some powerful analytical tools to arrange his material but the technical apparatus rarely shows, unless you go looking for it. Should yo do so, you'll find not only a master narrativist but also a formidable philosopher working behind the scenes.

The book, as you might guess, is not simply about Gibbon the historian. It is also about how historians write history and how, especially, the historian is influenced by the ideas and assumptions of their lives and the times they live in and through. In this way, Pocock's work here is as much about Gibbon as it is about the Enlightenment. Therefore, in the process of delving into Gibbon's life and thought, we also come into contact with Hume, Voltaire, and Adam Smith.

Pocock unearths some starling angles of interpretation on the Enlightenment that undermine the stereotypes of that era. Perhaps one of Pocock's more arresting assertions is that there was not just one Enlightenment but several Enlightenments. This insight alone is worth the price and time spent on getting the entire series.
19 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Subtext: Not Gibbon's Text 30 July 2003
By Cossimo - Published on
Format: Paperback
This a masterful display of Pocock's ability to marshal the minutia of history over and against the History under discussion - judging great works by a morass of trivia. The difficulty with such a discussion of Gibbon is its ability to tyrannize the reader's perception of a work by appealing to such a vast amount of data. There is no doubt Pocock may be correct concerning every single point, but one cannot know on his authority alone.
The book has scholarly merit, but it should be the last thing on anyone's list who wants to understand Gibbon on Gibbon's own terms.
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