Approaches to History: Selections in the Philosophy of History from the Greeks to Hegel

By Pardon E. Tillinghast | Go to book overview

4
Jean Bodin (1530-96)

The 1100 years following St. Augustine, while rich in historiography, were notably poor in philosophy of history. Several reasons can be given, but the chief one is probably that, granted medieval presuppositions, St. Augustine's historical framework was difficult to improve on. St. Thomas Aquinas profoundly modified Augustinian philosophy, but as he did not deal directly with history, and as no thinker of equal stature emerged to work with its problems, the old pattern remained.

This began to change with the Renaissance. The "rediscovery of the world and of man" suggested new outlooks in historiography as elsewhere. Machiavelli interpreted politics in an original way by wholly ignoring both Christian ethics and Divine guidance. This horrified many people, particularly northerners, because such a method, while usual in practice, was not customarily defended in theory. But Machiavelli was not at all radical in his total approach: the Discourses on Livy, his most philosophical book, derives most of its theory from the Polybian cycles. Most of the Italian thinkers declared war on the Middle Ages, whose

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Approaches to History: Selections in the Philosophy of History from the Greeks to Hegel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Table of Contents viii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - The Greeks 1
  • 2 - The Bible 31
  • 3 - St. Augustine (354-430) 57
  • 4 - Jean Bodin (1530-96) 84
  • 5 - Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) 117
  • X Conclusion 145
  • 6 - Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) 147
  • Xi Conclusion 180
  • 7 - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) 182
  • Suggestions For Further Reading 221
  • Index 225
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