Blog post

The underrated Ernest Gellner

Tamar Shlaim 4 October 2010

Standpoint Magazine have published an essay by Daniel Johnson on Ernest Gellner in their "underrated" series (other recent subjects include Ian Duncan Smith and the Queen!). The article draws heavily on John A. Hall's "excellent" Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography

It is a highly partial profile of Gellner, delighting in his criticisms of Ralph Miliband (recently dubbed "overrated" by the same author), Noam Chomsky and the “foolish” (according to Johnson, not Gellner) Edward Said. It also gives a predictably selective reading of Gellner's work on Islam to support the idea of an Islamic “threat”. However the article does inadvertantly highlight the complexity and originality of this impossible-to-pigeonhole intellectual, of whom the sociologist David Glass reportedly said that he

wasn't sure whether the next revolution would come from the right or from the left; but he was quite sure that, wherever it came from, the first person to be shot would be Ernest Gellner.

Visit Standpoint to read the article in full.

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