Antiquité critique et modernité. Essai sur le rôle de la pensée critique en Occident, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2016, 256 p., 21€This book offers a “mega-narrative” of the birth and development of the Western intellectual tradition (p. 23; p. 104). Jean-Marc Narbonne’s (hereafter N.) personal view is that the “Greeks” should not be seen as mere for-runners of the Western Enlightenment or Modernity. Instead of adopting a Hegelian narrative, according to which the Greeks could “not yet” or “not possibly” be as evolved as we are, N. advocates another narrative according to which the Greeks were “already” or “almost” as modern as we are (pp. 105-106). In point of fact, N. does not mind calling the Ancients “modern” (e.g. about Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, p. 103) and he often adopts modern notions or concepts (critical thinking, radical atheism, artistic creativity) to shed light on Ancient Greek intellectual history.N. takes issue with Hans Blumenberg (Die Legitimität der Neuzeit, 1966), Rémi Brague (Europe, la voie romaine, 1993), and Marcel Gauchet (Le désenchantement du monde. Une histoire politique de la religion, 1985) to press the point that these other “mega-narratives” are wrong in downplaying, as they do, the Greek influence which helped shaping
International Journal of the Platonic Tradition – Brill
Published: Nov 3, 2017
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