The Islamic World and the Radical Enlightenment: Toleration, Freethinking and Personal Liberty

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  • Published on May 18, 2016
  • Jonathan Israel
    Institute for Advanced Study
    May 21, 2008
    Jonathan Israel, Professor, School of Historical Studies. In the 1660s and onward, the Radical Enlightenment pushed for full freedom of thought, religious freedom, and personal liberty together with democracy and the principle of equality. In this lecture, Jonathan Israel will address how this part of the Western Enlightenment used medieval Islamic freethinkers and their ideas, and interpreted the special features of Islamic society and politics to illustrate and broaden its own arguments for transforming the Western World. In recent years, this intellectual movement has been much more intensively studied and better understood, and this lecture -- the outgrowth of a highly innovative colloquium recently held at the Institute, Islamic Freethinking and Western Radicalism -- will highlight recent research into what might be broadly termed the Democratic Enlightenment.
    This lecture is presented with support provided by the Dr. S.T. Lee Fund for Historical Studies.
    More videos on video.ias.edu

Comments • 10

  • tom Shannon
    tom Shannon 3 months ago

    You academics mutter and dither and utter...in truth, egotistical high minded garbage 🗑 . You think you are so, you hear it in your voices, erudite and right, but I find you all so nauseating even if you are right at times! You lack so much !

  • Blank Page
    Blank Page Year ago +4

    These comments are causing my eyes to bleed. One of them says the only way for a radical religious man to find enlightenment is at the end of the rope. I suppose he has never read a history book on the age of enlightenment, or at least the main figures of it,rene descartes, malebranche,leibniz,newton, john locke, and others, all of whom were very passionate christians and placed god at the very centre of their works.
    Another of them says he got muslim friends who could be said to be mild but even they would support terrorist attacks of isis so all mild muslims are just hidden radicals and support isis. How strange it is that I also have mild muslim friends and they despise isis, unless there is a conspiracy all muslims are in to fake everything they do every moment in their life.
    Guys, please get empirically correct. I know it is hard for you to suppress your super ego that has inflated ever since you realised god daddy does not exist, but there are greater things to know in the universe. When you discover there is no god, you are not discovering everything to know so snap out of it.

    • Paul Pulisme
      Paul Pulisme 5 months ago

      @Safa A I genuinely think Spinoza could immensely help to think the current challenges of Islam and Modernity.

    • Safa A
      Safa A 7 months ago

      It's true. These people don't even try to hide the fact they are a slave to their passions.

  • Ossie Dunstan
    Ossie Dunstan Year ago +2

    the only way any religious radical can enlightenment is on the end of rope.

    • Gary Finneyfrock
      Gary Finneyfrock Year ago

      Everything always comes back to balance in the Middle. We are dealing with two nationalistic movements that are coming out of the backlash on free markets and globalization, which has always been around in the last 500+ years, in which is an economic system and not a political one. The Black backlash (Obama) and now the White (Trump). Politicians play success on trend movements which are short lived and never contstant

  • DS Rai
    DS Rai Year ago +1

    I have some friends who would be seen as moderate but even they would defend most terrorist acts committed by isis and its followers, countering with how western govts as well as Israel and India act towards muslims.

    • Gary Finneyfrock
      Gary Finneyfrock Year ago

      There is the domestic terrorist, Neo-Nazis, KKK, street gangs (cults), religious fascist, fanaticism

  • DS Rai
    DS Rai Year ago +4

    Radical islam. Another term for moderate islam. Wolf in sheeps clothing.

    • Gary Finneyfrock
      Gary Finneyfrock Year ago +1

      What about radical Christianity, such as Christian Fascism