Histoire du règne de l'empereur Charles-Quint

Janet et Cotelle

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Janet et Cotelle
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Dec 31, 1822
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Scottish Semiticist and Arabist William Robertson Smith was a celebrated biblical critic, theorist of religion, and theorist of myth. His accomplishments were multiple. Smith's German mentors reconstructed the history of Israelite religion from the Bible itself; Smith ventured outside the Bible to Semitic religion and thereby pioneered the comparative study of religion. Where others viewed religion from the standpoint of the individual, Smith approached religion-at least ancient religion-from the standpoint of the group. He asserted that ancient religion was centrally a matter of practice, not creed, and singlehandedly created the ritualist theory of myth. Since Smith's time, the ritualist theory of myth has found adherents not only in biblical studies but in classics, anthropology, and literature as well.

Smith's accomplishments are seen most fully in Religion of the Semites, adapted from a number of public lectures he gave at Aberdeen, and first published in 1889. Smith delivered three courses of lectures over three years. It is this set that is reprinted here. Only recently were the notes for the second and third courses of lectures discovered and published.

Religion of the Semites combines extraordinary philological erudition with brilliant theorizing. Among the fundamental emphases of the book are the foci on sacrifice as the key ritual and non-ancient sacrifice as communion with God rather than as penance for sin. Most important is Smith's use of the comparative method: he uses cross-cultural examples from other "primitive peoples" to confirm his reconstruction from Semitic sources.

Smith combines pioneering sociology and anthropology with a staunchly Christian faith. For him, Christianity is an expression of divine revelation. For Smith, only continuing revelation can account for the leap from the collective, ritualistic, and materialistic nature of ancient Semitic religion to the individualistic, creedal, and spiritualized nature of Christianity. Lectures on the Religion of the Semites manages to meld social science with theology, and remains a classic work in the social scientific study of religion.

In the history of nineteenth-century religious thought, William Robertson Smith occupies an ambiguous position. More than any other writer, he stimulated the theories of religion later advanced by Frazer, Durkheim, and Freud. Smith himself was not an original scholar, but was rather "clever at presenting other men's theories" within new and sometimes hostile contexts. Smith was an important contributor to two of the most serious challenges to Christian orthodoxy of the last century, the "Higher Criticism" of the Bible and the comparative study of religion, and was also the victim of the last successful heresy trial in Great Britain. Yet he was an utterly devout Protestant, whose views on Biblical criticism (for which he was damned) are now considered as true as his views on totemism and sacrifice (for which he was praised) are now considered false.

Despite Smith's enormous significance for the history of religious ideas, he has been written about relatively little, and most of what we know about his life and work comes from a source almost a century old. Originally published in 1882, The Prophets of Israel is a collection of eight lectures, including "Israel and Jehovah;" "Jehovah and the Gods of the Nations," "Amos and the House of Jehu," "Hosea and the Fall of Ephraim," "The Kingdom of Judah and the Beginnings of Isaiah's Work," "The Earlier Prophesies of Isaiah," "Isaiah and Micah in the Reign of Hezekiah," and "The Deliverance from Assyria."

A new introduction by Robert Alun Jones discusses Smith's early life, the heresy trial, Smith's early view of prophecy, and the classic text itself. The book will be of interest to students and teachers of religious studies, and general readers interested in Robertson Smith.

“Scarlet coat to red-tabs

It is a common aspect of uncommon men that their lives are so exceptional that they cannot be adequately described in a few words. So much the better then that the author of this autobiography left posterity his remarkable life story.

William ‘Wully’ Robertson was born in Lincolnshire in 1860 and became a servant in the household of the Earl of Cardigan. In 1877 he decided upon a military career and enlisted as a trooper in the 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers. He proved to be an outstanding soldier and encouraged by friends and especially the officers of his regiment, Robertson earned a commission in 1888. This was an incredible achievement at the time since only four or five ‘rankers’ were so promoted annually. Robertson transferred to the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

Having no private means Robertson struggled to maintain the lifestyle of a Victorian cavalry officer and had to work hard to generate extra income. A posting to India gave him the opportunity to do so through proficiency in languages. By 1895 he was a captain serving in the Chitral Campaign and in 1998 attended the staff college at Camberley—the first ‘ranker’ to go there.

The Boer War saw further promotion and during the First World War—after service in the B. E. F.—Robertson rose to become Chief of the Imperial Staff being appointed to full general in 1916. He became a baronet in 1919 and field-marshal in 1920-the first man who joined the British Army at its lowest rank and by his own abilities achieved its highest rank.

This is nothing less than a fascinating account, touching as it does on many aspects of military life as well as minor campaigns and major conflicts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Recommended.”—Leonaur Print Version

Author — Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson, bart., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., K.C.V.O., D.S.O., 1860-1933

Text taken, whole and complete, from the edition published in London, Constable and company ltd., 1921.

Original Page Count – xix and 396 pages.

Illustrations – 1 Portrait.
Sir William “Wully” Robertson was the first man to rise from the lowliest rank of private soldier to the highest rank of Field Marshal within the British Army. Determined, strong-willed and militarily conservative he served ably in field and staff positions in India and South Africa; always chary of wasting his men’s lives. When the First World War broke out he sailed with the BEF in 1914 as quartermaster-general but was promoted to the post of chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1915. A staunch “westerner” who believed that the war could only be won in France and Flanders by knocking the German army out of the war, he faced many amateur strategists who wanted to squander resources in other theatres. By 1918 he resigned his post in disgust at the policies of David Lloyd George who refused to reinforce Sir Douglas Haig in France precipitating the German breakthroughs of the spring and summer.

From the very start of the war Robertson was at the hub of the action at the highest levels of the British war effort; in these two volumes he reveals the decisions and struggles that shaped that strategy. Filled with the opinion of the “westerner” school of thought; through the pages Robertson despairs at the Gallipoli invasion, sets against the Salonika disaster and fumes at the civilian members of the war cabinet and the “Supreme War Council”. Written a short time after the war with it all fresh and even with some bad feeling in mind these two volumes are essential to the History of the First World War.
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