ABSTRACT: This article offers a critical discussion of Pocock’s analysis of the relationship between Gibbon and Voltaire, and particularly the extent to which Decline and Fall was inspired by Voltaire’s Essai sur les moeurs . It shows that “Momigliano’s hypothesis” about the divorce of philosophy and erudition and their reconciliation in Gibbon was initially a commentary by Momigliano on Voltaire’s historical work. It argues that the “Momiglianian model” plays a central role in Pocock’s argument in Barbarism and Religion . In that sense, understanding Gibbon’s highly ambiguous appraisal of Voltaire helps us understand the overall purpose of Decline and Fall .
Journal of the History of Ideas – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 25, 2016
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