Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hume Again


Scottish Enlightenment historian Nicholas Phillipson recently updated his short biography of David Hume; “David Hume The Philosopher as Historian”.  In this work, Phillipson observes, ‘…”Of Superstition and Enthusiasm” was one of a series of boadsides that Hume fired at the Christian Church and it was to have a profound influence on historians like William Robertson, Edward Gibbon, and Sir Walter Scott..’  

Later in this work, Phillipson compares Hume’s  "History of England" coverage of the hysteria surrounding the Popish Plot of 1678 to Scott’s treatment of the Porteous Riots:

‘..Hume’s discussion of the mass hysteria that gave birth to the plot is succinct, subtle and memorable and gives one a foretaste of the greatest of all such descriptions, Sir Walter Scott’s account of the Porteous Riots in “The Heart of Midlothian.”…’

David Hume was born on April 26th, 1711.

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