Thursday, Feb 9, 2012, 7 PM

Jonathan Israel

Professor of Modern European History, Princeton

The Revolution of the Philosophes

Gesprächsleitung: Prof. Dr. Hans Blom, Rotterdam/Potsdam

Many of the most fundamental enactments of the French Revolution in 1789 — the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the abolition of serfdom and noble privilege, the introduction of a fully free press — and others that soon followed such as the full emancipation of Jews and the abolition of black slavery resulted not from public pressure but the activities of a small group of highly-motivated politicians and journalists. These changes were in fact fully conceptualized and projected within top intellectual circles well before 1789. Modern historians have generally rejected the notion that la philosophie made the Revolution. This talk argues to the contrary: the European Radical Enlightenment — the branch of the Enlightenment that embraced republicanism and religious skepticism — is the most important cause of the French Revolution and its fundamental shift toward modernity.

Jonathan Israel ist Professor of Modern History am Institute for Advanced Study der Princeton University. 2001 erhielt er den Leo Gershoy Prize der American Historical Association und gewann 2008 den A.H.-Heineken-Preis für Geschichte, der von der Königlich-Niederländischen Akademie der Wissenschaften vergeben wird. 2010 erhielt Jonathan Israel die Benjamin Franklin Medal der Royal Society of Arts.
Zuletzt erschienen von ihm: Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650–1750 (2001); Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670–1752 (2006) und A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (2009).

The event will be held in English