Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Excellent New History of Political Thought


Nemo, Philippe, A History of Political Ideas from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (Duquesne University Press, 2013)



As the first part of a two volume survey of political thought, Nemo (ESCP Europe) approaches the field of study in a manner different from many American texts.  Appealing to readers with “little prior knowledge” (viii) of political thought, the author provides a lucid, engaging introductory volume that will enlighten both the novice and the specialist.  The use of “historical context” (ix), combined with exceedingly accurate interpretations of primary texts, and the absence of ideological frameworks, contributes to the high overall quality of the book.  The work is divided into three long sections: Part One, Ancient Greece; Part Two, Rome; and Part Three, the Christian West.  In the introduction to Part Three a survey to the “political ideas” of the Bible is provided, including an accessible overview of Hebrew political thought.  Important, yet often neglected figures in Christian political thought, including Tertullian, Origen, and many other thinkers, are analyzed succinctly, yet thoughtfully.  This valuable and readable book deserves a wide readership.