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Sacrifice and Self-interest in Seventeenth-Century France

Quietism, Jansenism, and Cartesianism

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Thomas M. Lennon

How much of our own self- interest should we be willing to sacrifice for love of another? The Quietists answered, all of it, even the salvation of our own soul. Opposing them were the Jansenists, including Arnauld, who saw self-interest as inescapable. The debate swept across French society in the 17th century, with Bossuet and Fénelon on opposite sides, and was multi- dimensional, with political and ecclesiastical intrigue, charges of heresy, and many shenanigans. Initially theological, the debate’s basis lay in differing philosophical concepts of freewill, with both sides claiming support from Descartes’s views. The debate thus highlights interpretation of the Cartesians, especially Malebranche, a prominent participant in it. Nevertheless, this is the first book on the debate in English.

Enlightened Religion

From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic

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Edited by Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber

The history of the relation between religion and Enlightenment has been virtually rewritten In recent decades. The idea of a fairly unidirectional ‘rise of paganism’, or ‘secularisation’, has been replaced by a much more variegated panorama of interlocking changes—not least in the nature of both religion and rationalism. This volume explores developments in various cultural fields—from lexicology to geographical exploration, and from philosophy and history to theology, media and the arts—involved in the transformation of worldviews in the decades around 1700. The main focus is on the Dutch Republic, where discussion culture was more inclusive than in most other countries, and where people from very different walks of life joined the conversation.

Contributors include: Wiep van Bunge, Frank Daudeij, Martin Gierl, Albert Gootjes, Trudelien van ‘t Hof, Jonathan Israel, Henri Krop, Fred van Lieburg, Jaap Nieuwstraten, Joke Spaans, Jetze Touber, and Arthur Weststeijn.

DE TRIBUS PRINCIPIIS, oder Beschreibung der Drey Principien Göttliches Wesens

Of the Three Principles of Divine Being, 1619, by Jacob Boehme

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Andrew Weeks and Leigh Penman

Jacob Boehme’s Of the Three Principles of Divine Being, 1619, is vital for understanding his work as a whole, its relationship to its epoch, and its role in intellectual history. Reproduced here using the methods of critical edition, the original of the work and its adjacent translation, together with an extensive introduction and commentary, provide unprecedented access to this essential work of early modern thought and cast a fresh light on the revolutionary theological, philosophical, and scientific developments coinciding with the start of the Thirty Years’ War.

The 1730 edition is annotated with reference to the manuscript sources to clarify ambiguities so that the translation can interpret the text without refracting its meaning. This makes it possible to interpret Boehme’s complex theories of the origin of the divine being and of nature, the human creature, and the female aspect of divinity.

Natural and Political Conceptions of Community

The Role of the Household Society in Early Modern Jesuit Thought, c.1590–1650

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Christoph Haar

In Natural and Political Conceptions of Community, Christoph Haar examines the role of the household community in Jesuit political thought. Introducing a fresh perspective on the early modern Jesuit academic discourse, the book explores how leading Jesuit thinkers drew on their theologically inspired conceptions of the family community to determine the usefulness as well as the limitations of the political realm.
Natural and Political Conceptions of Community is about the place of the household in Scholastic theoretical works. The book demonstrates that Jesuits considered the human being as a household being when they determined the origin and purpose of the political community, producing a notion of politics that integrated their account of human nature with the sphere of law, rights, and virtues.

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Paul F. Grendler

Paul F. Grendler, noted historian of European education, surveys Jesuit schools and universities throughout Europe from the first school founded in 1548 to the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. The Jesuits were noted educators who founded and operated an international network of schools and universities that enrolled students from the age of ten through doctoral studies. The essay analyzes the organization, curriculum, pedagogy, culture, financing, relations with civil authorities, enrollments, and social composition of students in Jesuit pre-university schools. Grendler then explains Jesuit universities. The Jesuits governed and did all the teaching in small collegiate universities. In large civic-Jesuit universities the Jesuits taught the humanities, philosophy, and theology, while lay professors taught law and medicine. The article provides examples ranging from the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily, to universities across Europe. It features a complete list of Jesuit schools in France.

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Edited by Bo Andersson, Lucinda Martin, Leigh Penman and Andrew Weeks

Jacob Böhme (1575–1624) is famous as a shoemaker and spiritual author. His works and thought are frequently studied as a product of his mystical illumination.
Jacob Böhme and His World adopts a different perspective. It seeks to demystify Böhme by focusing on aspects of his immediate cultural and social context and the intellectual currents of his time, including Böhme’s writing as literature, the social conditions in Görlitz, Böhme’s correspondence networks, a contemporary “crisis of piety,” Paracelsian and kabbalistic currents, astrology, astronomy and alchemy, and his relationship to other dissenting authors. Relevant facets of reception include Böhme’s philosophical standing, his contributions to pre-Pietism, and early English translations of his works.

The Scottish Enlightenment Abroad

The Russells of Braidshaw in Aleppo and on the Coast of Coromandel

Janet Starkey

In The Scottish Enlightenment Abroad, Janet Starkey examines the lives and works of Scots working in the mid eighteenth century with the Levant Company in Aleppo, then within the Ottoman Empire; and those working with the East India Company in India, especially in the fields of natural history, medicine, ethnography and the collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts. The focus is on brothers from Edinburgh: Alexander Russell MD FRS, Patrick Russell MD FRS, Claud Russell and William Russell FRS.

By examining a wide range of modern interpretations, Starkey argues that the Scottish Enlightenment was not just a philosophical discourse but a multi-faceted cultural revolution that owed its vibrancy to ties of kinship, and to strong commercial and intellectual links with Europe and further abroad.

The Sovereign and the Prophets

Spinoza on Grotian and Hobbesian Biblical Argumentation

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Atsuko Fukuoka

Tracing key biblical topics recurrent in Grotian and Hobbesian discourses on the church-state relationship, The Sovereign and the Prophets examines Spinoza’s Old Testament interpretation in the Theologico-political Treatise and elucidates his effort to establish what Hobbes could not adequately offer to the Dutch: the liberty to philosophize. Fukuoka develops an original method for understanding seventeenth-century biblical arguments as a shared political paradigm. Her in-depth analysis reveals the discourses that converged on the question, ‘Who stands immediately under God to mediate His will to the people?’ This subtly nuanced theme not only linked major theoreticians diachronically—from the Remonstrants such as Grotius to the anti-Hobbesian jurist Ulrik Huber (1636–1694)—but also synchronically built the axis of resonances and dissonances between Leviathan and the Theologico-political Treatise.

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Maria-Cristina Pitassi and Daniela Solfaroli Camillocci

English Irena Backus' scholarship has been characterised by profound historical learning and philological acumen, extraordinary mastery of a wide range of languages, and broad-ranging interests. From the history of historiography to the story of Biblical exegesis and the reception of the Church Fathers, her research on the long sixteenth century stands as a point of reference for both historians of ideas and church historians alike. She also explored late medieval theology before turning her attention to the interplay of religion and philosophy in the seventeenth century, the focus of her late research. This volume assembles contributions from 35 international specialists that reflect the breadth of her interests and both illustrate and extend her path-breaking legacy as a scholar, teacher and colleague.

Français La recherche d’Irena Backus témoigne d’une culture historique et philologique étendue, de son impeccable maîtrise des instruments linguistiques et de la multiplicité de ses centres d’intérêt. Ses études sont aujourd’hui une référence essentielle pour les spécialistes de l’histoire intellectuelle, de l’histoire de l’exégèse biblique et de la réception des Pères de l’Eglise pendant le long XVIe siècle. Seiziémiste de formation, elle s’est également aventurée dans d’autres chronologies, en s’intéressant à l’Église de la fin du moyen âge et à la philosophie de ce XVIIe siècle qui l’a de plus en plus passionnée et qui constitue aujourd’hui son centre d’intérêt majeur. Ce recueil célèbre son long et original enseignement et ses grandes qualités de chercheuses et de collègue.

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Mario Biagioni

In The Radical Reformation and the Making of Modern Europe, Mario Biagioni presents an account of the lives and thoughts of some radical reformers of the sixteenth century (Bernardino Ochino, Francesco Pucci, Fausto Sozzini, and Christian Francken), showing that the Radical Reformation was not merely a subplot of heretical history within the larger narrative of the Magisterial Reformation. Religious radicalism was primarily an extraordinary laboratory of ideas, which played a pivotal role in the rise of modern Europe: it influenced the intellectual process leading to the cultural revolution of the Enlightenment. Secularism, toleration, and rationalism ― three basic principles of Western civilization ― are part of its cultural heritage.