Jonathan Israel

Jonathan Israel, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies, joined the Institute Faculty in 2001. His research is concerned with European and European colonial history from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century. His recent work focuses on the impact of radical thought (especially Spinoza, Bayle, Diderot, and the eighteenth-century French materialists) on the Enlightenment and on the emergence of modern ideas of democracy, equality, toleration, freedom of the press, and individual freedom.

Jonathan Israel, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, has authored The Expanding Blaze: How the American Revolution Ignited the World, 1775-1848 (Princeton University Press, 2017), a sweeping history of how the...

In this public lecture, Jonathan Israel, Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies, discusses the American Revolution and its enormous, but bitterly divisive impact on European (and Canadian and Latin America) political thought and...

Early on in the French Revolution, in his memoir on press freedom submitted to the Estates-General in June 1789, Jean-Pierre Brissot (1754–93), later a prominent revolutionary leader, proclaimed liberty of the press “un droit naturel à l’homme.”...

To what extent did Islamic freethinking contribute to the development of Western Radicalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? Or how far were Islamic and European freethinking simply parallel developments on the basis of similar...

In the 1660s and onward, the Radical Enlightenment pushed for full freedom of thought, religious freedom, and personal liberty together with democracy and the principle of equality. In this public lecture, Jonathan...

In his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, the Dutch philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677) explained the fundamental principles of the state he had defined:

“But its ultimate purpose is not to dominate or control people by...