The evolution of theological enlightenment

Lineages of antiquity in the long renaissance: A commentary on the Harringtonian moment

The Machiavellian Moment, which ties ancient and modern thought together.

Jacob Abolafia’s reading of Spinoza through Flavius Josephus mirrors J. G. A. Pocock’s reading of Harrington through Machiavelli, and Mark Goldie’s reading of Harrington through Hobbesian biblical references, since each account places an early modern thinker (Spinoza, Harrington, Hobbes) in a legacy that can be traced to Rome and Jerusalem alike — between Machiavelli and Moses. What about Hellas? The missing piece in the puzzle. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle also have a long legacy — one that constitutes a Socratic moment in reaction to Homeric poetry, analogous to the Machiavellian moment following Dante’s revitalised poetic form. And so we pivot from the Odyssey to the Inferno, through the wars of the Iliad, and from deep history to modern history, by way of the bridge of antiquity, la naissance de l’histoire des politiques, and of political thought concerning the lineages of the ancient state.

Edmund Wilson

Selwyn College

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

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