Sources of the Western Tradition

  • AUTHOR: Marvin Perry
  • ISBN-13: 9781133935254 
  • Grade(s): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
  • 480 Pages  Paperback 
  • 9th Edition  |  Previous Editions: 2012, 2008, 2006
  • ©2014     Published
  • Prices are valid only in the respective region


About The Product

With a collection of over 375 sources, each accompanied by an introductory essay and review questions, this two-volume primary source reader emphasizes the intellectual history and values of the Western tradition. Sources are grouped around important themes in European history--such as religion, education, and art and culture--so that students can analyze and compare multiple documents. The ninth edition features additional sources by and about women and updates to introductions and review questions.


  • This two-volume reader features over 375 sources, including 17 new documents in Volume I and 27 in Volume II.
  • Detailed introductions and review questions put each source in its historical context and provide reinforcement for students.
  • Sources are grouped together around important themes in European history--such as religion, education, and art and culture--so that students can analyze and compare multiple documents.
  • The “Examining Primary Sources” prologue helps students succeed at the task of reading and interpreting primary sources.

About the Contributor

  • Marvin Perry

    Marvin Perry, now retired, taught history at Baruch College, City University of New York. He has published several successful Cengage Learning texts, including WESTERN CIVILIZATION: IDEAS, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY (senior author and general editor); WESTERN CIVILIZATION: A BRIEF HISTORY; the leading Western Civilization reader, SOURCES OF THE WESTERN TRADITION; AN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF MODERN EUROPE; SOURCES OF EUROPEAN HISTORY SINCE 1900 (senior editor); HUMANITIES IN THE WESTERN TRADITION (senior author and general editor); and WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE: A CONCISE HISTORY. His scholarly work includes ARNOLD TOYNBEE AND THE WESTERN TRADITION (1996); coauthor of ANTISEMITISM: MYTH AND HATE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT (2002); coeditor of ANTISEMITIC MYTHS: A HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY ANTHOLOGY (2008); and coeditor of THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM: AN ANTHOLOGY (2008). Dr. Perry's scholarly work focuses on the history of ideas.

Table of Contents

1. The Near East.
1. Mesopotamian Protest Against Death. 2. Mesopotamian Concepts of Justice. 3. Divine Kingship in Egypt. 4. Religious Inspiration of Akhenaten. 5. Love, Passion, and Misogyny in Ancient Egypt. 6. Empire Builders. 7. The Myth-Making Outlook of the Ancient Near East.
2. The Hebrews.
1. Hebrew Cosmogony and Anthropology. 2. Human Sinfulness. 3. The Covenant and the Ten Commandments. 4. Humaneness of Hebrew Law. 5. God’s Greatness and Human Dignity. 6. The Age of Classical Prophecy.
3. The Greeks.
1. Homer: The Educator of Greece. 2. Lyric Poetry. 3. The Emancipation of Thought from Myth. 4. Humanism. 5. The Persian Wars. 6. Greek Drama. 7. Athenian Greatness. 8. The Status of Women in Classical Greek Society. 9. The Peloponnesian War. 10. Socrates: The Rational Individual. 11. Plato: The Philosopher-King. 12. Aristotle: Science, Politics, and Ethics. 13. Hellenistic Culture: Rationalism, Universalism, and Individualism.
4. The Roman Republic.
1. Rome’s March to World Empire. 2. The Punic Wars. 3. The Spread of Greek Philosophy to Rome. 4. Exploitation of the Provinces. 5. Roman Slavery. 6. Women in Republican Society. 7. The Decline of the Republic.
5. The Roman Empire.
1. The Imperial Office. 2. Imperial Culture. 3. Roman Stoicism. 4. Roman Law. 5. Provincial Administration. 6. The Roman Peace. 7. Third-Century Crisis. 8. The Demise of Rome.
6. Early Christianity.
1. The Teachings of Jesus. 2. The Dead Sea Scrolls. 3. Christianity and Greco-Roman Learning. 4. The Persecutions. 5. Monastic Life. 6. Christianity and Society. 7. Jews in the Era of Early Christianity. 8. The Christian World-View.
7. The Early Middle Ages.
1. The Byzantine Cultural Achievement. 2. Islam. 3. Muslim Relations with Christians and Jews. 4. Jihad. 5. Islam and Greek Learning. 6. Converting the Germanic Peoples to Christianity. 7. The Transmission of Learning. 8. The Carolingian Renaissance. 9. The Feudal Lord: Vassal and Warrior. 10. The Burdens of Serfdom.
8. The High and Late Middle Ages.
1. The Revival of Trade and the Growth of Towns. 2. Papal Supremacy. 3. The Crusades. 4. Religious Dissent. 5. Medieval Learning: Synthesis of Reason and Christian Faith. 6. Medieval Universities. 7. The Jews in the Middle Ages. 8. Troubadour Love Songs. 9. The Status of Women in Medieval Society. 10. Sexual Nonconformity: Satan’s Lures. 11. Medieval Contributions to the Tradition of Liberty. 12. The Fourteenth Century: An Age of Adversity. 13. The Medieval Church in Crisis. 14. The Medieval World-View.
9. The Renaissance.
1. The Humanists’ Fascination with Antiquity. 2. Human Dignity. 3. Individualism. 4. Break with Medieval Political Theory. 5. The Ideal Gentleman. 6. The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci. 7. Learned Renaissance Women. 8. The Spread of the Renaissance.
10. The Reformation.
1. A Catholic Critic of the Church. 2. The Lutheran Reformation. 3. The German Peasants’ Revolt. 4. Luther and the Jews. 5. The Calvinist Reformation. 6. The Catholic Response to Protestantism. 7. Religious Persecution.
11. Early Modern Society and Politics.
1. The Age of Exploration and Conquest. 2. Spanish Oppression of Amerindians. 3. Toward the Modern Economy: The Example of Holland. 4. The Jews of Spain and Portugal: Expulsion, Forced Conversion, Inquisition. 5. The Atlantic Slave Trade. 6. The Witch Craze. 7. The Court of Louis XIV. 8. Justification of Absolute Monarchy by Divine Right. 9. A Secular Defense of Absolutism. 10. The Triumph of Constitutional Monarchy in England: The Glorious Revolution.
12. The Scientific Revolution.
1. The Copernican Revolution. 2. Galileo: Confirming the Copernican System. 3. Prophet of Modern Science. 4. The Autonomy of the Mind. 5. The Mechanical Universe. 6. The Limitations of Science.
13. The Enlightenment.
1. The Enlightenment Outlook. 2. Political Liberty. 3. Attack on Religion. 4. Epistemology. 5. Compendium of Knowledge. 6. Rousseau: Political Reform. 7. Humanitarianism. 8. Literature as Satire: Critiques of European Society. 9. Madame du Châtelet: A Woman of Brilliance. 10. On the Progress of Humanity.

New to this Edition

  • In Chapter 3, the section “Hellenistic Culture: Rationalism, Universalism, and Individualism” has been restructured. Chapter 4 now includes a speech by Cicero denouncing exploitation of the provincials. The section “Roman Stoicism” in Chapter 5 has been enhanced with the addition of Musonius Rufus’s enlightened lectures on women. Chapter 6 includes two new selections: Josephus’s treatment of the essential outlook of the Essenes, and Justin Martyr’s account of Christianity’s high moral standards.
  • Chapter 7 now includes excerpts from a work written by Dhouda, a Frankish noblewoman, in the Carolingian era. An excerpt from Abelard’s SIC ET NON enriches the section “Medieval Learning: Synthesis of Reason and Christian Faith” in Chapter 8. Also new to Chapter 8 is a sermon by a Dominican preacher denouncing the rich and powerful.
  • In Chapter 9, the constellation “The Humanists’ Fascination with Antiquity” now includes a letter written by Lorenzo de’ Medici in which he unabashedly expresses a quest for fame and glory in the manner of the ancients. Also added to Chapter 9 is a passage from Montaigne’s ESSAYS, and an excerpt from Leonardo da Vinci’s writings on the art and science of painting. The fourth new selection in Chapter 9 is comprised of excerpts from THE WORTH OF WOMEN, written by Moderata Fonte, a wealthy Venetian lady.
  • In Chapter 11, an account of the Spanish Inquisition by a sixteenth-century priest and chronicler has been added. A selection by John Newton, a slave trader who came to support abolitionism, has been added to the constellation “The Atlantic Slave Trade,” also in Chapter 11. In Chapter 12, a passage from Blaise Pascal’s Pensées discusses the Scientific Revolution. Chapter 13 now contains a selection from the brilliant Madame du Châtelet in which she makes a fervent appeal for educating women.