Second Sunday Book Group: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt

Sun, Mar 13, 2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The UCV Second Sunday Book Group will meet ONLINE after the service on March 13, 2022 to discuss The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt.

Stephen Greenblatt, a professor of humanities at Harvard, has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.

The copying and translation of this ancient book fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson (who owned at least five Latin editions of “On the Nature of Things,” as well as translations into other languages).

“Hidden behind the worldview I recognize as my own is an ancient poem, a poem once lost, apparently irrevocably, and then found.”

Go to after the Sunday service ends and ask to join the Book Group breakout room. Get ready for a lively discussion with our Sunday group. Please join us; you will be a positive addition.

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