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Summary of J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764


J. G. A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, vol. 1: The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon, 1737-1764 (1999)

The six volumes of Barbarism and Religion as a whole constitute ‘a contribution to the historiography of European culture in the eighteenth century’ (p. 1). The work is a set of attempts to portray, rather than narrate, the mental world of Europe’s ‘Enlightenment(s)’ as it existed in the eighteenth century: in Pocock’s own terms, ‘an ecology rather than an etiology’ of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Pocock’s first volume is a reconstruction of Gibbon’s intellectual journey that took him to writing the Decline and Fall. It entails understanding the many faces of Gibbon, one as a figure that attests to the existence of an ‘English’ Enlightenment (a response to Franco Venturi), another as a non-believing ecclesiastical historian and yet another as a ‘modern’ historian capable of critical work with sources who, while fully embracing the might of narrative and philosophy, defended erudition against the accusation of d’Alembert. The examinations given in the first volume serve first as windows to Gibbon’s own formation and then also as pathways to the plurality of Enlightenments – encyclopédique, national, Protestant and more – of eighteenth century Europe.

Pocock presents Gibbon’s intellectual formation in his younger years as one situated in the English context of conflicts within the various Christian churches and of the unsolvable question of union between the state and the church. By the time Gibbon arrived at Oxford in 1752, he was as much inspired by Roman and Byzantine history as acquainted with the religious and theological problems that had been more or less specifically proper to English history and politics. His conversion to Catholicism – that made his father despair and eventually send his son to Lausanne in June 1753 – should be understood in the light of the religious divide in English history, Pocock suggests. What is significant for Pocock is that the religious issues were well-known enough to the sixteen-year-old Gibbon to cause conversion, because this fact might imply the existence of even superior knowledge on those issues in the mind of the full-blown historian he became.

The stage now moves on to the Swiss city where Gibbon, besides reconversion, encounters his ‘theme’ in earnest. There he ‘absorbed Franco-Swiss culture to the point where he almost forgot English and ceased to be an Englishman’(p.50). The critical and philological techniques had grown out of classical studies and were blossoming through the scholarly yet acrimonious debates between the Catholic and the reformed churches. Gibbon, exposed to this culture, subscribed not without certain reservations both to the Protestant Enlightenment and the tint of erudition provided by the republic of letters, then often viewed as ‘an alternative church’. The basis of Gibbon’s defence of erudition had thus been laid by classical and religious studies and such men of the republic of letters as Le Clerc and Bayle whose writings he encountered in his undergraduate exile in Lausanne. It is perhaps the case, Pocock argues, that the basis of the entire Enlightenment, with its reason and enthusiasm, was closely related to the ‘language of Christian enthusiasm and its offshoots’(p.71). By examining Gibbon’s reading of Locke, Grotius, Pufendorf, Barbeyrac and Montesquieu, Pocock hereby modifies and revises the given picture of ‘the Enlightenment’ – a series of great texts and movements headquartered in Paris and extended to the whole Europe, appropriating the formerly existing republic of letters of the Low Countries and embroidering the settecento riformatore with the influences of ‘the philosophes, the Encyclopédistes and the salonnières’(p.86) – by adding to it the elements of the preceding ‘Protestant Enlightenment’ to which ‘Gibbon’s Lausanne belonged’(p.86). It was in this intellectual surrounding that the need to subject ecclesiastical authority to civil authority and Gibbon’s critical respect for erudition were fostered. Then he returned to England in 1759 and served in a local militia; this experience transformed him in the long term from an expatriate to an Englishman with a patrie.

It was during this period that Gibbon determined to become a ‘modern’ critical and erudite scholar and published in 1761 his response to d’Alembert with a London bookseller. However, the book itself was in French (as he still wrote in that language until the late 1760s) and must be considered in the context of his encounter with the milieu of Paris. His Essai sur l’étude de la littérature was a sincere defence of erudition, built from a critical reading of classical texts, against the philosophes who claimed that they did not need it. Pocock suggests that Gibbon’s own background of the English association of ‘Enlightenment and ecclesiastical primacy’ may have been lying in that work in embryo; but here, Pocock is rather more intent to refute Grell’s and Barret-Kriegel’s depiction of the eighteenth-century historiography as the simple ‘defeat of erudition’ and to figure out the implications of Gibbon’s ‘defence’ in the context of the challenges thrown at the face of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

Whereas d’Alembert ascribed to the faculty of erudition only ‘menial’ roles compared to poetry and philosophy, Gibbon argued that historical thinking was the only means of recovering the beauty of the ancient legacy, not least the poetic legacy. He denied the hegemony of exclusive philosophes and advocated the scholars’ critical work with classical texts over the ‘esprit philosophique of a handful of great men’. The human mind had been progressing through a large ‘diversity of languages, beliefs and actions’ and thus, Gibbon thought, its analyst had to be keenly aware of the historico-contextual truth value of prejudices instead of simply denouncing them in the name of philosophy. Erudition helped to form the basis of this. The past and its texts, he came to argue, must be understood in the proper context of the past. Gibbon strongly praised the ‘multi-causal approach to history’, the idea of which led to his later explication of Roman collapse in the Decline and Fall.

Gibbon, after his visit to Rome in 1764, turned away from ‘antiquarian study’ and began to conceive of a grand ‘narrative history’ of decline and fall. While such a narrative should be considered in the context of other histories written in the eighteenth century (which is the task of the second volume), the examination of the making of the young Gibbon so far demonstrates the diverse aspects of ‘English’, or rather, Gibbonian, Enlightenment whose rhythms did differ from the Parisian or Scottish ones, which as a whole attests to the plurality of Enlightenments.

Summary by Minchul Kim

이 블로그의 인기 게시물

Daniel Bensaïd, <혁명들: 위대하고 정지해있고 침묵하는> 요약-번역

<혁명들: 위대하고 정지해있고 침묵하는> 요약-번역 다니엘 벵사이드
Daniel Bensaïd, "Revolutions: Great and Still and Silent," in Mike Haynes & Jim Wolfreys (eds.), History and Revolution: Refuting Revisionism (London: Verso, 2007)

< I >
<노선(Lignes)>誌는 2001년 2월호에서 ‘혁명의 욕망’이라는 주제의 특집을 구성했다(참여 저자: Étienne Balibar, Jean Baudrillard, Daniel Bensaïd, Sylvain Lazarus, Michael Löwy, Edgar Morin, Jean-Luc Nancy, Enzo Traverso, Paul Virilio 등). 혁명의 욕망인가, 필요인가? 이는 생기 넘치는 욕망 같지만, 사실은 무덤의 헌화 같은 씁쓸한 향내를 풍기고 있다. 초창기의 추진력과 열정이 쇠진한 잔여물이 바로 욕망과 갈망이다.

필요로부터 해방된 욕망은 궁극적으로는 소비주의적 판본에 불과하다. 욕망 기제는 무엇보다도 소비 기제인 것이다. 필요를 욕망으로 대체하는 것은 이론적 역사를 갖고 있다. 레옹 왈라스는 노동가치론을 한계효용가치론으로 대체하면서 객관적 가치를 주관적 가치로 대체했고, 샤를 지드는 ‘욕망치(desirability: 얼마나 바랄만한가, 얼마나 바람직한가)’라는 용어를 도입함으로써 ‘효용(utility)’이라는 용어가 풍기는 객관성의 냄새를 제거했다. 푸코는 1970년대 말에 혁명이 아직도 바랄만한 것인지(still desirable) 질문함으로써 의식적으로건 무의식적으로건 이 전통을 이어받았다.

< II >
얀 파토치카는 바로 혁명이라는 관념 자체에서 ‘근대성의 근본적 특징’을 본다. 샤토브리앙의 ‘혁명들’은 한나 아렌트에서 단수형 ‘혁명’이 되었는데, 이것은 시대의 새로운 의미론에 각인되었다. 즉 이제 과거…

루소의 <사회계약론>에 대한 스미스의 한 마디

포자드생퐁(Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond)이라는 프랑스 광물학자(암석학자?)가 1797년에 2권짜리 <잉글랜드, 스코틀랜드, 헤브리디스 제도 여행기(Voyage en Angleterre, en Ecosse et aux îles Hébrides, ayant pour objet les sciences, les arts, l'histoire naturelle et les moeurs)>를 출판했다.


책 표지에 "뉴캐슬, 더비셔, 에든버러, 글래스고, 퍼스, 세인트앤드루스 등"의 암석과 광물에 대한 묘사를 담고 있다고 광고하는, 지금 기준으로 보면 희한한 책이지만 온갖 과학에 대한 당시 독자층의 높은 관심도를 보여주는 부제이기도 하다.

어쨌거나 포자드생퐁이 이 책에 쓴 바에 따르면, 그는 애덤 스미스(Adam Smith)를 만나서 루소(Jean-Jacques Rousseau)에 대한 대화를 나눴는데, 스미스가 이렇게 말했다는 것이다.

"세월이 흐르면 <사회계약론(Du contrat social)>은 그 저자[루소]가 당한 숱한 박해를 모두 갚고도 남을 것입니다."

밑거나 말거나다. 그랬단다.

제프 일리, <무엇이 민주주의를 만드는가? 20세기 유럽의 혁명적 위기들, 민중정치, 그리고 민주적 성취> 요약-번역

무엇이 민주주의를 만드는가? 20세기 유럽의 혁명적 위기들, 민중정치, 그리고 민주적 성취 (요약-번역)제프 일리
Geoff Eley, “What Produces Democracy? Revolutionary Crises, Popular Politics and Democratic Gains in 20th-Century Europe,” in Mike Haynes & Jim Wolfreys (eds.), History and Revolution: Refuting Revisionism (London: Verso, 2007)


<공산주의 이후에 민주주의 개념화하기>

1989년 일련의 동유럽 혁명과 1991년 소련 해체가 가져온 냉전의 종식은 불가역적이고 기념비적인 전진으로 여겨졌지만, 그 주된 의미를 민중참여와 민주주의의 관점보다 경제적 관점에서 평가하는 경향이 짙었다. 즉 시장이 이행의 주된 척도를 제공한 것이다.

1989년 이후 정치의 공적 언어에서는 허용되는 주장과 신념의 범위가 크게 좁혀졌다. 소련식 계획경제의 붕괴는 케인즈주의로부터의 황급한 후퇴와 탈규제 추세를 강화시켰고, 공공재에 대한 경시를 부추겼다. 자본주의에 대한 대안을 상상하는 것은 물론이고, 사회주의에 대한 일체의 옹호를 배척하는 방향으로의 이행이 이루어졌다. 사회주의 진영의 현실적인 경제적 강령이 고갈된 상황에서, 자유시장에 기초한 자본주의적 경제모형은 확고한 주도권을 행사했고, 각종 조치와 협정을 통해 오늘날 세계화라 부르는 추세가 강화됐다.

현재의 담론에서는 민주화보다 시장이, 그리고 인간 행위자들의 집단적 작용보다는 시장세력의 승리가 변화의 원동력이자 진보에 필요한 역동성을 제공하는 힘이며 사태를 정당화하는 논변의 원천이다. 다른 한편으로 이러한 시장의 힘은 각국 정부가 추구할 수 있는 정책의 범위에, 특히 예전 민주주의 기획의 케인즈주의적이고 복지국가적인 성향에 제약을 부과하는 것으로 이해된다.

이런 분위기 속에서 마르크스주의는 힘을 크게 상실했지만, 한편 시장원칙의 거의 …