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Barbarism and Religion
  • Cited by 21
  • Volume 3: The First Decline and Fall
  • J. G. A. Pocock, The Johns Hopkins University
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Book description

'Barbarism and Religion' - Edward Gibbon's own phrase - is the title of a sequence of works by John Pocock designed to situate Gibbon, and his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in a series of contexts in the history of eighteenth-century Europe. This is a major intervention from one of the world's leading historians, challenging the notion of any one 'Enlightenment' and positing instead a plurality of enlightenments, of which the English was one. The first two volumes of Barbarism and Religion were warmly and widely reviewed, and won the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History of the American Philosophical Society. In this third volume in the sequence, The First Decline and Fall, John Pocock offers an historical introduction to the first fourteen chapters of Gibbon's great work, recounting the end of the classical civilisation Gibbon and his readers knew so much better than the worlds that followed.

Reviews

‘This volume is every bit as persuasive as its predecessors and, perhaps because it is as much recit as the others were peintures, it is also rather more compelling a read. More than the first two volumes of his work, volume three of Barbarism and Religion leaves one hanging; like Gibbon and his first readers, we are only at the Milvian Bridge, pondering what will follow with Constantine. One hopes that, unlike those readers, we will not have to wait five years for the next episode.’

Daniel Woolf Source: The American Historical Review

'It is, in every respect, a masterwork. … Of books about our shared undertaking, about the practice and historical importance of Roman studies, this is the finest I know.'

C. Ando - University of Southern California

'This is a … rewarding book, requiring the reader to mediate on long quotations from the sources as well as to follow a complex argument … The most important thing to say, though, is that this is a work of great intellectual power and distinction, its complex and subtle argument firmly under control, a long book yet one in which every sentence counts.'

Source: The European Legacy

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