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Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson

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Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Cover

ISBN13: 9780060097950
ISBN10: 0060097957
Condition: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

In the tradition of grand sweeping histories such as From Dawn To Decadence, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and A History of God, Hecht champions doubt and questioning as one of the great and noble, if unheralded, intellectual traditions that distinguish the Western mind especially-from Socrates to Galileo and Darwin to Wittgenstein and Hawking. This is an account of the world's greatest ‘intellectual virtuosos,' who are also humanity's greatest doubters and disbelievers, from the ancient Greek philosophers, Jesus, and the Eastern religions, to modern secular equivalents Marx, Freud and Darwin—and their attempts to reconcile the seeming meaninglessness of the universe with the human need for meaning,

This remarkable book ranges from the early Greeks, Hebrew figures such as Job and Ecclesiastes, Eastern critical wisdom, Roman stoicism, Jesus as a man of doubt, Gnosticism and Christian mystics, medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian skeptics, secularism, the rise of science, modern and contemporary critical thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, the existentialists.

About the Author

Jennifer Michael Hecht is an accomplished historian and an award-winning poet. Her book, The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology in France, has been recently published by Columbia University Press. And The Next Ancient World, her book of poetry, won the Poetry Society of America's prestigious Norma Farber First Book Award for 2002, the Tupelo Prize, and ForeWord's Poetry Book of the Year. She is the co-author of a popular introduction to Western Civilization. Hecht earned her Ph.D. in the history of science from Columbia University and is an assistant professor of history at Nassau Community College.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

caddy compson, July 26, 2013 (view all comments by caddy compson)
There is no other history book like "Doubt." It is rare to find an extensive history that is written in a lively style like this one. While there are histories about non-belief, there aren't any on the broader category of doubt, which covers everything from atheism to a mere questioning of a point or two of the religious establishment of the time, usually resulting in punishment of varying degrees. The book chronicles both by eras and by religions, including those of Asia, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and lesser known faiths. What makes this narrative stand out from the others is that she discusses the well known skeptics, like Hume, Spinoza, Hobbes, etc. but also many doubters who have been long forgotten. She does a fantastic job of showing later thinkers who were influenced by previous philosophers, rounding out the full history of religious doubt. Doubters include philosophers (ancient to modern), theologians, and scientists. It's not a short history but I could not put it down, cliché though that sounds. I think even those not all that interested in history would like Hecht's book. I am searching for other books by her, knowing that whatever the topic, she will make it interesting and informative. She's probably a great teacher, one I wish I had had.
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caddy compson, July 26, 2013 (view all comments by caddy compson)
There is no other history book like Doubt. It is rare to find an extensive history that is written in a lively style like this one. While there are histories about non-belief, there aren't any on the broad category of doubt, which covers everything from atheism to a mere questioning of a point or two the religious establishment of the time, resulting in punishment of varying degrees. The book chronicles both by eras and by religions, including those of Asia, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and lesser known faiths. What makes this narrative stand out from the others is that she discusses the well known skeptics, like Hume, Spinoza, Hobbes, etc. but also many doubters who have been long forgotten. She does a fantastic job of showing later thinkers who were influenced by previous philosophers, rounding out the full history of unbelief. It's not a short history but I could not put it down, cliché though that is. I think even those not all that interested in history would like Hecht's book. I am searching for other books by her, knowing that whatever the topic, she will make it interesting and informative. She's probably a great teacher, one I wish I had had.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
James Wallis, April 3, 2007 (view all comments by James Wallis)
This is an excellent book, well written and filled with detail. The well-supported thesis is that you can look at history not only as a series of "peaks" of religious movements, but equally as a chain of pools of "doubt" in the orthodox view--the book flips the gestalt of belief to see its other side. Surprising, informative, and comprehensive. A fine book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060097950
Author:
Hecht, Jennifer Mich
Publisher:
HarperOne
Author:
Hecht, Jennifer Michael
Author:
Hecht, Jennifer
Author:
by Jennifer Hecht
Author:
Pollack, Neal
Subject:
General
Subject:
Epistemology
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Modern - General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
History & Surveys - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
 
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20040931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
7.125 x 5 in 9.95 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Humanities » Philosophy » Surveys

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