By Larry Siedentop
Here, in a grand narrative spanning 1,800 years of ecu heritage, a special political thinker firmly rejects Western liberalism’s ordinary account of itself: its emergence towards faith within the early sleek period. Larry Siedentop argues as a substitute that liberal notion is, in its underlying assumptions, the offspring of the Church. starting with an ethical revolution within the first centuries CE, while notions approximately equality and human business enterprise have been first formulated via St. Paul, Siedentop follows those ideas in Christianity from Augustine to the philosophers and canon attorneys of the fourteenth and early 15th centuries, and ends with their reemergence in secularism—another of Christianity’s presents to the West.
Inventing the Individual tells how a brand new, equivalent social position, the person, arose and steadily displaced the claims of relatives, tribe, and caste because the foundation of social association. Asking us to reconsider the evolution of principles on which Western societies and executive are equipped, Siedentop contends that the middle of what's now the West’s procedure of ideals emerged previous to we often imagine. The roots of liberalism—belief in person freedom, within the basic ethical equality of people, in a felony method according to equality, and in a consultant type of govt befitting a society of loose people—all those have been pioneered by way of Christian thinkers of the center a long time who drew at the ethical revolution performed through the early Church. those philosophers and canon attorneys, no longer the Renaissance humanists, laid the basis for liberal democracy within the West.
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Additional resources for Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism
It was at the core of a citizen’s rightful pride. And it was cited to explain the Greeks’ superiority over mere ‘barbarians’. Herodotus tells the story of a deposed Spartan king, Demaratus, who took refuge at the Persian court of Xerxes. When the Persian king, planning his invasion of Greece, asked whether the Greeks would resist, given their very inferior numbers and the fact that they had no master to compel them to fight, Demaratus replied: They are free, yes, but not entirely free. For they have a master, and that master is Law, whom they fear even more than your subjects do you.
Primogeniture came under attack and gradually gave way, with the consequence not only that younger sons inherited and became full citizens, but also that junior branches of the ancient families or gentes became independent. These developments greatly increased the number of citizens, and reduced the power of the ancient family heads as priests. A second major change followed. The clients of the family were gradually liberated, becoming free men. At the outset clients could not own property. They did not even have any security of tenure on land they worked for the paterfamilias.
This extreme danger could take the form of one faction or class within the city appealing to another city for its intervention – a tactic that helped the neighbouring Macedonian kingdom gradually to subdue Greek cities. Such action amounted 39 The World of An tiquity to the renunciation or abandonment of logos, of rational argument in the assembly. It was the collective equivalent of the penalty of exile for particular citizens, because it plunged the city into a similarly strange world without norms, a world without family or civic gods whose aid could be counted on.
Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism by Larry Siedentop