Reading Room Archives
The Jewish Enlightenment
Counsel and Command in Early Modern English Thought by Dr Joanne Paul.
Book Five of Milton's Paradise Lost. Eve is busily preparing the evening meal when Adam comes running to tell her that the Angel Raphael is arriving to join them. Adam then tells Eve to check the pantry and see what she has stored up for their unexpected guest.
Counsel and Command in Early Modern English Thought by Dr Joanne Paul. In this instalment, we explore some of the best-known and influential writers of the reign of Henry VIII, painting a picture of the ‘humanist’ counsellor, with its emphasis on opportunity, rhetoric and morality.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings presents several societies with different approaches to government. The most prominent include the idyllic Shire, the grand realm of Gondor, the hardy kingdom of Rohan, and the absolute dictatorship of Mordor. Looking at them gives strong indications of his views of government. In addition, we have his own words on the kind of governance he favored.
The Federalist No. 51 was grounded in personal experience, even though he didn’t say so. Madison used a magisterial writing style, like all the authors who wrote the various Federalist Papers under the pen name Publius. He did not cite specific occurrences; only generalities such as “experience has taught mankind”. But his views were shaped by years in the rough and tumble of Colonial politics.
my book, I explore a subtle but important distinction between a person having decisive reason to accept or endorse some view (“acceptability”) versus lacking decisive reason to reject it (“rejectability”). I have in mind conflicting views, none of which are clearly right or wrong, that may be used by states or private entities as justification for legal or social coercion.
chorus from a song by the Americana band “The Avett Brothers” in a commercial about managed wealth. The song, “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” soars: “I had a dream/ and one day I could see it.” For Northwestern Mutual it is a material dream, but for the band it has to do with moral objectivity.
Principles of Political Economy. The book was an elaboration on the concepts and ideas developed by Adam Smith and David Ricardo and included applications to social philosophy and political problems of the day. Principles of Political Economy became a classic, eventually going through seven editions, the last published in 1871. The Principles remained the main textbook for what we now call economics throughout the United Kingdom and America into the 1900s, when it would eventually be replaced by Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics.
Paradise Lost, published more than 350 years ago (1667), is still almost routinely characterized as the greatest poem in English. More guardedly, it is called “the greatest epic poem.” (Yes, there are others, such as Beowulf, TheFaerieQueene, Don Juan, John Brown’s Body, and Song of Myself. . . .)