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An Enquiry into an Origin of Honour; and the Usefulness of Christianity in War   By: (1670-1733?)

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In "An Enquiry into an Origin of Honour; and the Usefulness of Christianity in War," Bernard Mandeville presents a thought-provoking analysis of two distinct subjects: the origins of honor and the role of Christianity in warfare. Throughout his book, Mandeville explores the complex relationship between societal norms, religion, and war, providing readers with a unique perspective on these interconnected topics.

One of the elements that stands out in Mandeville's work is his meticulous research. He delves deep into various historical and cultural contexts to explore the emergence and evolution of honor. By examining different civilizations and their social codes, Mandeville offers a comprehensive analysis of honor, uncovering its various manifestations across time and place. Readers with an interest in anthropology or sociology will find this aspect of the book particularly engaging.

Additionally, Mandeville explores the influence of Christianity on the practices and ideologies surrounding war. He challenges widely held assumptions by arguing that Christianity can be both useful and detrimental in times of armed conflict. Through his in-depth exploration of religious texts and historical events, Mandeville provides readers with a nuanced understanding of how Christianity has shaped notions of violence, duty, and morality in war. His insights offer a fresh perspective and encourage readers to question their own beliefs and assumptions.

Mandeville's writing style is both eloquent and compelling. He effectively presents complex ideas in a clear and concise manner, making the book accessible to a wide range of readers. Moreover, his use of vivid examples and thought-provoking anecdotes further enhances the overall reading experience. Although the subject matter may be challenging for some readers, Mandeville's skillful storytelling keeps the book engaging and captivating throughout.

One criticism that could be raised is that the structure of the book can occasionally be overwhelming. Mandeville covers a wide array of topics, ranging from historical analysis to philosophical musings, and this breadth of content may make it challenging at times to follow the author's train of thought. However, this issue is minor and does not detract significantly from the overall value of the book.

In "An Enquiry into an Origin of Honour; and the Usefulness of Christianity in War," Bernard Mandeville offers readers a thought-provoking and insightful analysis of honor and the role of Christianity in warfare. Through his comprehensive research and engaging writing style, Mandeville encourages readers to question societal norms and challenge conventional wisdom. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the multifaceted relationship between honor, religion, and war.

First Page:


By the Author of the FABLE of the BEES. [Bernard Mandeville]


I take it for granted, that a Christian is not bound to believe any Thing to have been of Divine Institution, that has not been declared to be such in Holy Writ. Yet great Offence has been taken at an Essay, in the First Part of the Fable of the Bees , call'd An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue; notwithstanding the great Caution it is wrote with. Since then, it is thought Criminal to surmise, that even Heathen Virtue was of Human Invention, and the Reader, in the following Dialogues, will find me to persist in the Opinion, that it was; I beg his Patience to peruse what I have to say for my self on this Head, which is all I shall trouble him with here.

The Word Morality is either synonimous with Virtue, or signifies that Part of Philosophy, which treats of it, and teaches the Regulation of Manners; and by the Words Moral Virtue, I mean the same Thing which I believe Every body else does. I am likewise fully persuaded that to govern our selves according to the Dictates of Reason, is far better than to indulge the Passions without Stop or Controul, and consequently that Virtue is more beneficial than Vice, not only for the Peace and real Happiness of Society in general, but likewise for the Temporal Felicity of every individual Member of it, abstract from thee Consideration of a future State, I am moreover convinced, that all wise Men ever were and ever will be of this Opinion; and I shall never oppose Any body, who shall be pleased to call this an Eternal Truth... Continue reading book >>

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