A review of A Revolution of the Mind

Perhaps no active scholar has shaped the conversation about the sources and meaning of the En­lightenment more than Jonathan Israel, professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Prince­ton. Although his previous two books—Radical Enlightenment and Enlighten­ment Contested—received wide acclaim, their length and density would prove daunting to nonspecialists. His most recent work is more accessible.

Israel's central claims are as follows:

First, we owe what he views as our most cherished ideals—freedom of speech, freedom of sexual expression, tolerance of religion, representative democracy and the triumph of reason over faith—to the specifically radical Enlightenment.


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