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“A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”  

Jean Jaques Rosseau

François-Marie Arouet (who published under the pen name Voltaire) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were two of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Both somewhat cynical about the ... More

The Adventures of Telemachus  

Francois Fénelon

A Catholic priest and writer, François Fénelon (1651–1715) was enlisted by the church to preach to French Protestants (Huguenots) in order to bring them back to orthodox belief. His ... More

The Book of Prophecies  

Christopher Columbus

Although he is more famous for his voyages—and for the richly detailed accounts he made of them—Columbus (1451–1506) also composed a book of prophetic revelations toward the end of his ... More

Canto XIX of the Inferno  

Dante

Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) was a Florentine poet who bridged the artistic cultures of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. Dante’s approach to his poetry foreshadowed the Renaissance ... More

China in the Sixteenth Century  

Matteo Ricci

When European Christian missionaries first came to Ming China, they made very little progress in converting the Chinese, in large part due to their limited training in Chinese language and ... More

The Clash of Civilizations  

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington (1927–2008) was an influential political scientist who taught for most of his career at Harvard University. He was the author of numerous books and articles on politics ... More

Collective Guilt  

Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich (1886–1965) was a German-American theologian and a Christian existentialist philosopher. Born and raised in Germany, Tillich attended several universities there before becoming ... More

Commentary on his Journey to the Court of Akbar  

Antonio Monserrate

Akbar the Great was Mughal emperor from 1556 until his death in 1605. One of the main sources we have of Akbar is a commentary written by a Portugese Jesuit, whom Akbar had invited to his ... More

Concerning Whether Heretics Should Be Persecuted  

Sebastian Castellio

In October 1553, the extraordinarily gifted Spanish scientist Michael Servetus was executed with the approval and the strong support of John Calvin and his followers in Geneva. The charge ... More

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen  

Committee

Like the American Declaration, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a stirring statement of Enlightenment principles concerning both the individual’s role in the state ... More

“Dedication to tallyrand,” Vindication of the Rights of Women  

Mary Wollstonecraft

The British activist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), mother of author Mary Shelley and the bearer of a tainted reputation, wrote a letter called “Vindication of the Rights of Man” (1790) ... More

A Discourse on the Method  

Renee Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) has been called the Father of Modern Philosophy because of his work in philosophy, metaphysics, theology, and mathematics. Perhaps best known for the ... More

Examination of Lady Jane Grey, London  

John Foxe

Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary, was born in 1537, the same year as Edward VI, the only surviving son of the king who had sought a male heir so desperately. Jane, ... More

Failed Prophecies, Glorious Hopes  

Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty (1931–2007) was an American philosopher who taught at Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Virginia. Rorty became associated with a form of American philosophy known as ... More

Feudal Contracts and the Swearing of Fealty  

Anonymous

In the catastrophe brought on by the assaults on all their borders, some European midieval Christians were forced to devise new means of self-protection. Into this vacuum of governmental ... More

Flagellants attempt to ward off the Black Death in Germany and in England  

Robert of Avesbury

Although flagellation (beating oneself with a whip) had been practiced as a means of spiritual discipline by monks long before, it did not emerge as a public group activity until the ... More

“Foundations and Doctrine of Fascism”  

Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile

Through a series of small demonstrations and gatherings in 1919, Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) created, at least in his own estimation, a completely new political ideology. He named this ... More

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Trual of Anne Askew  

John Foxe

John Foxe (1517–1587) authored this martyrology that especially focuses on the martyrdoms of 16th-century Protestants at the hands of Catholic inquisitors. This selection recounts the trial ... More

History Of The Franks  

Gregory Bishop of Tours

Over the course of the fifth century, the Franks became one of the most powerful of the Germanic successor kingdoms. While some other Germanic rulers converted to Arianism, a Christian ... More

Humanae Vitae  

Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI (1897–1978) took office at a time of reform in the Catholic Church. In the wake of Vatican II (1962–1965), he extended the reforming spirit of John XXIII. Nonetheless, in the ... More

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