Jonathan Israel headshot

Jonathan Israel

Professor Emeritus
School of Historical Studies

Modern European History


Historical Studies

Jonathan Israel’s work 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. His books include European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550–1750 (1985); The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477–1806 (1995); Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650–1750 (2001); Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670–1752 (2006); and A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (2009).

Dates at IAS

School of Historical Studies
School of Historical Studies


University of Oxford


Awards: Comenius Prize 2017; PROSE Award 2015; City of Amsterdam, Frans Banninck Cocq Medal 2012; London Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Benjamin Franklin Medal 2010; Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize in History 2008; Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion 2004; American Historical Association, Leo Gershoy Award 2001; Wolfson Literary Award for History 1986
Memberships: British Academy; Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences


University College London
Professor 1985–2000, Reader 1981–85, Lecturer 1974–81
University of Hull
Lecturer 1973–74, Assistant Lecturer 1972–73
University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Sir James Knott Research Fellow