The Fascination of The Isle of Pines (1668)

Henry Neville’s utopian travel narrative The Isle of Pines (1668) is one of my favourite pieces of literature. It tells the story of the shipwreck of an English trading vessel during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and  of the subsequent survival of one man and four women on a lonely island near terra Australis… Continue reading The Fascination of The Isle of Pines (1668)

Property and Power: On James Harrington’s 400th birthday

Power is founded on property. Few people nowadays would deny this doctrine. The political philosopher James Harrington formulated it in the mid-seventeenth century. Living in per-industrial England he still considered land, not money, the most important form of property. The social group that held most of the country’s land also held the largest amount of… Continue reading Property and Power: On James Harrington’s 400th birthday

Eric Nelson’s Hebrew Republic and the Importance of Jewish Sources

In his book on The Hebrew Republic, Eric Nelson sets out to refute the commonly held assumption in early modern historiography that political science came to be separated from religion over the course of the seventeenth century. Instead, he argues that the concept of the respublica Hebraeica was seen as authoritative by many political thinkers,… Continue reading Eric Nelson’s Hebrew Republic and the Importance of Jewish Sources