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Richard Henry Popkin (December 27, 1923 - April 14, 2005) was an academic philosopher who specialized in the history of enlightenment philosophy and early modern anti-dogmatism. His 1960 work The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Descartes introduced one previously unrecognized influence on Western thought in the seventeenth century, the Pyrrhonian Scepticism of Sextus Empiricus. Popkin also was an internationally acclaimed scholar on Christian millenarianism and Jewish messianism.
Professor Popkin is survived by Juliet (née Greenstone), whom he married in 1944, and two of their three children, the historian Jeremy Popkin (b. 1948) and his younger daughter, Susan Popkin (b. 1961). Margaret Popkin (1950-2005) was a prominent civil rights lawyer and activist, known particularly for her work in El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980s.
Popkin published many textbooks on philosophy, some with Avrum Stroll. He was editor and translator of selections from Pierre Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary (1965). His last book, Disputing Christianity (2007), was completed posthumously by his son Jeremy.
Popkin published two autobiographical writings: Intellectual Autobiography: Warts and All in The Sceptical Mode in Modern Philosophy. Essays in Honor of Richard H. Popkin, 1988, pp. 103-149, and a continuation: Introduction: Warts and All Part 2, in Everything Connects: In Conference with Richard H. Popkin. Essays in His Honor, 1999, pp. XI-LXXVI.
The History of Scepticism from Savonarola to Bayle. Third enlarged edition, Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN0-19-510768-3. (Earlier editions published as The History of Scepticism From Erasmus to Descartes, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1960 and The History of Scepticism from Erasmus to Spinoza, University of California Press, 1979. ISBN0-520-03876-2).
The High Road to Pyrrhonism, edited by Richard A. Watson and James E. Force, Austin Hill Press, 1980 (reprint: Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993).
Disputing Christianity. The 400-Year-Old Debate over Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki's Classic Arguments, Amherst, N.Y.: Humanity Books, 2007.
with David S. Katz: Messianic Revolution. Radical Religious Politics to the End of the Second Millennium, Hill & Wang, 2000.
with Avrum Stroll: Philosophy Made Simple, Doubleday (Made Simple Books), New York, 1956. ISBN0-385-42533-3.
with Avrum Stroll: Introduction to Philosophy, New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1961, (second edition 1972, third revised edition 1979).
with Avrum Stroll: Philosophy and the Human Spirit. A Brief Introduction, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.
with Avrum Stroll: Skeptical Philosophy for Everyone, Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2002.
The Philosophy of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, New York: Free Press, 1966.
Scepticism in the History of Philosophy. A Pan-American Dialogue, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1996.
The Columbia History of Western Philosophy, Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN0-231-10128-7.
with Silvia Berti and Françoise Charles-Daubert, Heterodoxy, Spinozism, and Free Thought in Early-Eighteenth-Century Europe. Studies on the Traité des trois imposteurs, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1996.
with Allison P. Coudert and Gordon M. Weiner, Leibniz, Mysticism, and Religion, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1998.
with James E. Force, Essays on the Context, Nature, and Influence of Isaac Newton's Theology, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.
with James E. Force, The Books of Nature and Scripture. Recent Essays on Natural Philosophy, Theology, and Biblical Criticism in the Netherlands of Spinoza's Time and the British Isles of Newton's Time, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994.
with James E. Force, Newton and Religion. Context, Nature, and Influence, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1999.
with Yosef Kaplan and Henry Méchoulan, Menasseh Ben Israel and His World, Leiden: Brill, 1989.
with Donald R. Kelley, The Shapes of Knowledge from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991.
with José R. Maia Neto, Skepticism in Renaissance and Post-Renaissance Thought. New Interpretations, Amherst, N.Y.: Humanity Books, 2004.
with José R. Maia Neto, Skepticism: An Anthology, Prometheus Books, 2007.
with Martin Mulsow, Secret Conversions to Judaism in Early Modern Europe, Leiden: Brill, 2004.
with Ezequiel de Olaso, Georgio Tonelli, Scepticism in the Enlightenment, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997.
with Jeremy D. Popkin, The Abbé Grégoire and His World, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2000.
with Charles B. Schmitt, Scepticism from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1987.
with Michael Signer, Spinoza's Earliest Publication? The Hebrew Translation of Margaret Fell's A Loving Salutation to the Seed of Abraham among the Jews, wherever they Are Scattered Up and Down Upon the Face of the Earth, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1987.
with Avrum Stroll: Philosophy and Contemporary Problems. A Reader, New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1984.
with Arjo Vanderjagt, Scepticism and Irreligion in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Leiden: Brill, 1993.
with Gordon M. Weiner, Jewish Christians and Christian Jews. From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994.
with Johan van der Zande, The Skeptical Tradition Around 1800. Skepticism in Philosophy, Science, and Society, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1998.
Millenarianism and Messianism in Early Modern Culture (4 vols.), Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Vol. 1: Matt Goldish and R. H. Popkin (eds.). Jewish Messianism in the Early Modern World, 2001.
Vol. 2: Karl Kottmnan (ed.). Catholic Millenarianism: From Savonarola to the Abbé Gregoire, 2001.
Vol. 3: James E. Force and R. H. Popkin (eds.). The Millenarian Turn: Millenarian Contexts of Science, Politics and Everyday Anglo-American Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 2001.
Vol. 4: John Christian Laursen and R. H. Popkin (eds.). Continental Millenarians: Protestants, Catholics, Heretics, 2001.