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Reappraising Political TheoryRevisionist Studies in the History of Political Thought$
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Terence Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198279957.001.0001

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Rousseau's Civil Religion Reconsidered

Rousseau's Civil Religion Reconsidered

(p.107) 5 Rousseau's Civil Religion Reconsidered
Reappraising Political Theory

Terence Ball (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

I ask and attempt to answer three questions. First, what role or place does Rousseau's scheme for a civil religion occupy in his political theory? Second, what were Rousseau's intentions—i.e. what was he attempting to do—in devising this scheme? And third, how might we account for its placement within the text of the Social Contract, viz. at the very end? Addressing these questions from a contextual as well as internal or textual perspective, I construct a new—and decidedly non‐totalitarian—interpretation of Rousseau's religion civile.

Keywords:   civil religion, general will, political theory, Rousseau, Jean‐Jacques, totalitarianism

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