Permanent Revolution (inbunden)
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Harvard University Press
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Permanent Revolution (inbunden)

Permanent Revolution

The Reformation and the Illiberal Roots of Liberalism

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Inbunden Engelska, 2019-02-22
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How did the Reformation, which initially promoted decidedly illiberal positions, end up laying the groundwork for Western liberalism? The English Reformation began as an evangelical movement driven by an unyielding belief in predestination, intolerance, stringent literalism, political quietism, and destructive iconoclasm. Yet by 1688, this illiberal early modern upheaval would deliver the foundations of liberalism: free will, liberty of conscience, religious toleration, readerly freedom, constitutionalism, and aesthetic liberty. How did a movement with such illiberal beginnings lay the groundwork for the Enlightenment? James Simpson provocatively rewrites the history of liberalism and uncovers its unexpected debt to evangelical religion. Sixteenth-century Protestantism ushered in a culture of permanent revolution, ceaselessly repudiating its own prior forms. Its rejection of tradition was divisive, violent, and unsustainable. The proto-liberalism of the later seventeenth century emerged as a cultural package designed to stabilize the social chaos brought about by this evangelical revolution. A brilliant assault on many of our deepest assumptions, Permanent Revolution argues that far from being driven by a new strain of secular philosophy, the British Enlightenment is a story of transformation and reversal of the Protestant tradition from within. The gains of liberalism were the unintended results of the violent early Reformation. Today those gains are increasingly under threat, in part because liberals do not understand their own history. They fail to grasp that liberalism is less the secular opponent of religious fundamentalism than its dissident younger sibling, uncertain how to confront its older evangelical competitor.
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  1. Den protestantiska reformationens dolda effekter
    Gerhard Miksche, 18 mars 2019

    Som bokens titel antyder pågår en ständig revolution. Visserligen handlar boken om den protestantiska reformationen i England/Storbritannien med sin speciella historia och sina speciella förutsättningar, men dess effekter av generell natur. Författaren menar att reformationen inte var ett övergång från ett relativt stabilt tillstånd före till ett annat relativt stabilt tillstånd efter. Utan att reformationen inom kyrkan, som ju var en slags ideologisk reformation, istället utlöst en kedja av ... Läs hela recensionen

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A subtle and helpful corrective to ahistorical Whiggish accounts of how we got here, and one that has significant, if largely unexplored, implications for the present.--Nick Spencer"The Spectator" (02/14/2019) An utterly gripping and monumental book, addressing the seventeenth-century revolutions and their implications for the Enlightenment and liberal modernity. This is a grand narrative, with extraordinary scope and range. Permanent Revolution is an intense, exuberant engagement with the unintended outcomes of the Reformation.--David Aers, author of Beyond Reformation? Simpson has given us a landmark literary history of the Reformation, as well as a forgotten history of our liberties. A rare feat of scholarship and an exhilarating read.--Sarah Beckwith, author of Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness

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James Simpson is a renowned scholar of the English Middle Ages and the Reformation. He is the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English at Harvard University, and the author of many books, including the critically acclaimed Burning to Read.