High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Jonathan Israel, a Champion of Enlightenment
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Jonathan Israel, a Champion of Enlightenment

(Rob Hartmans) The Low Countries - 2008, № 16, pp. 296-300

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Portrait of a historian. According to Hartmans Jonathan Israel reacts more like an ideologue than a historian as soon as any critical comments are made of the Radical Enlightenment. He has little sympathy for the Moderate Enlightenment and an outright dislike for present-day writers who dare to show that the Enlightenment too had its darker side and has been responsible for a whole range of regrettable counter-reactions since then. This is not to deny that Israel is one of the most important historians of the moment, who has charted so many new territories that generations of future historians will be kept busy filling in the details. Whether or not one shares his view of the origins of modern society, Jonathan Israel cannot be ignored.

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