Jonathan Israel, born in London, UK, in 1946. Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. Until December 2000 Professor of Dutch History at University College London. From January 2001, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
Fellow (1 September 2000 – 31 January 2001)
During my stay at NIAS from September to December 2000 I put the finishing touches to my book Radical Enlightenment. Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 (Oxford, 2001) which was still in uncorrected proof and with gaps in the bibliography when I arrived. I also further researched and contemplated the origins and development of radical philosophical ideas in Europe from the late seventeenth century onwards. As part of this process of further developing the themes of the book, which places a strong emphasis on the formative impact of Spinoza, I completed several essays on closely related topics for various collective volumes. These were: an essay on Pierre Bayle’s political thought, supporting the recent trend pioneered in particular by Gianluca Mori of seeing Bayle not as a Calvinist but as a radical and crypto-Spinozist thinker, two essays on Dutch radical republicanism in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century and an essay on the phenomenon of popular ‘Spinozism’ in the Netherlands and Germany up to 1750. In addition, I drafted two other essays on quite different subjects. One was a conference paper, delivered at Olomouc, in the Czech Republic, on the Dutch role in the early stages of the Thirty Years’ War and the other was on the Dutch-Moroccan siege of Tangiers in 1665 and 1666, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The former is part of a long-term project to reassess the impact of the Dutch Golden Age culture in Central Europe.