Catalogue


The Greek tradition in Republican thought [electronic resource] /
Eric Nelson.
imprint
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
description
xv, 296 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521835453 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
More Details
series title
imprint
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
isbn
0521835453 (hardback)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8123263
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-11-01:
This interesting and provocative work argues that standard understandings of the republican political tradition--as found in either J.G.A. Pocock or Quentin Skinner--fail to take into account how aspects of Plato's and Aristotle's thought, usually considered antithetical to republican thought, actually appear and play a role in developing republican theorizing. The starting point for Nelson is the republican conception of freedom, which he demonstrates owes much more to Greek conceptions of the relationship between the self and society as well as eudaimonia than it does to later (Roman) conceptions of freedom as nondependence. Politically, this neglected aspect of the republican tradition appears in unexpected places. For example, in a very fine chapter Nelson shows how Thomas Jefferson's arguments on inheritance law, education, and virtue seem to owe much more to Plato than later Roman thinkers. Other chapters on More, Machiavelli, Harrington, Montesquieu, and Tocqueville have similar insights. Instead of an outright rejection of Skinner's or Pocock's approach, Nelson argues that we need to be aware of the complexity of the republican tradition, and this book goes a long way toward satisfying that goal. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, and faculty. J. L. Miller SUNY College at New Paltz
Reviews
Review Quotes
'¿ a work of enviable accomplishment and great acumen throughout.' John Dunn, King's College, Cambridge
"...interesting and provocative...Nelson argues that we need to be aware of the complexity of the republican tradition, and this book goes a long way toward satisfying that goal." J.L. Miller, SUNY College at New Paltz, Choice
'Nelson's account of More ... is supple and elegant ... the writing is clear and engaging, a thesis forcefully presented, and close reading of particular texts outlined and provocative assessments made that build on the author's previous work on Machiavelli ... nelson offers a provocative and original interpretation ...'. History of European Ideas
'... the book has much to commend it. Nelson has written a work that provides a fresh perspective on early modern republican political theory was firmly rooted in central texts of Greek moral and political philosophy has great merit, as long as we keep firmly in mind that this tradition seems to reflect early modern republicans; apparent interpretations of ancient Greek texts ... Nelson's book also allows us to consider what he would call 'Greek' elements, which may have had a positive impact on the thought of the American founders ... His book provides a fine elucidation of the idea of a 'balance of justice' and egalitarian principles in the distribution of wealth and property in society, which we find in the 'Greek tradition' ... Nelson's study should prove to be of enduring value for our understanding of the republican tradition.'Polis
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2004
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought traces the influence of ancient Greek sources on the development of republican theory in Europe and America. It argues that an important tradition of republican thought, derived from the central texts of Greek moral and political philosophy, emerged in sixteenth century England, and contributed significantly to the ideological framework both of the English Civil Wars and the American Founding. Dr Nelson offers significant reinterpretations of several central texts of European political theory, as well as a radical reappraisal of ancient Roman historiography.
Description for Bookstore
The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought traces the influence of ancient Greek sources on the development of republican theory in Europe and America. It offers a substantial revision of standard narratives of the trajectory of republican political theory from the ancient to the modern world.
Main Description
The Greek Tradition in Republic Thought completely rewrites the standard history of republican political theory. It excavates an identifiably Greek strain of republican thought which attaches little importance to freedom as non-dependence and sees no intrinsic value in political participation. This tradition's central preoccupations are not honour and glory, but happiness (eudaimonia) and justice - defined, in Plato's terms, as the rule of the best men. This set of commitments yields as startling readiness to advocate the corrective redistribution of wealth, and even the outright abolition of private property. The Greek tradition was revived in England during the early sixteenth century and was broadly influential throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its exponents included Sir Thomas More, James Harrington, Montesquieu and Thomas Jefferson, and it contributed significantly to the ideological underpinnings of the American Founding as well as the English Civil Wars.
Main Description
Tracing the influence of ancient Greek sources on the development of republican theory in Europe and America, this book argues that an important tradition of republican thought, derived from the central texts of Greek moral and political philosophy, emerged in sixteenth century England. It contributed significantly to the ideological framework of the English Civil Wars and the American Revolution. Eric Nelson offers significant reinterpretations of several central texts of European political theory, as well as a radical reappraisal of ancient Roman historiography.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements
Note on conventions
Introduction
Greek nonsense in More-s Utopia
The Roman agrarian laws and Machiavelli-s modi privati
James Harrington and the -balance of justice-
-Prolem cum matre creatam-: the background to Montesquieu
Montesquieu-s Greek republics
The Greek tradition and the American Founding
Coda: Tocqueville and the Greeks
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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