4 March 2010
Venue: Skeel Lecture Theatre, People's Palace, Mile End
Annual Nicolai Rubinstein Lecture in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History
'Republics and Revelation: Some Patterns in the Shaping of Western Historiography'
JGA Pocock, Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University
The history of European historiography includes a number of grand narratives of systemic change emerging at various times, which give it a character of its own. This lecture will trace the interactions between two of them: that focused on the republic, or Mediterranean city-state, and that focused on divine revelation – specifically, in its Christian version – occurring at the moment when republic gives way to empire. It will examine the birth of a narrative first Renaissance and then Enlightened in character, and ask whether we have any conception of a history based on any other narrative.
JGA Pocock (Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University) is one of the leading Anglophone post-War historians and the author of numerous classic studies in the history of political thought and historiography, including The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (1957, 1987), The Machiavellian Moment (1975, 2003) and Barbarism and Religion (1999– , 4 vols to date).