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Hobbes on Politics and Religion$
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Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803409

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803409.001.0001

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Hobbes and the Future of Religion

Hobbes and the Future of Religion

(p.184) 11 Hobbes and the Future of Religion
Hobbes on Politics and Religion

Jon Parkin

Oxford University Press

Hobbes gives only ambiguous hints about the future of religion under a Hobbesian scheme. The chapter argues that consideration of that ambiguity might tell us something important about the nature of Hobbes’s intervention in debates over religion. Far from being committed (overtly or covertly) to particular ecclesiological options, Hobbes sought instead to make his basic ideas available to a range of religious readers. Those readers were thus invited to interpret their doctrines in accordance with Hobbesian principles. Evidence from Hobbes’s reception suggests that his readers did accept this invitation, leading to a range of possible Hobbesian ‘futures’. The fact that commentators have been able to identify so many different modes of Hobbesian religion may in fact capture a crucial feature of his project, but perhaps not in the way that many of them have previously thought.

Keywords:   Thomas Hobbes, religion, ecclesiology, self-censorship, Episcopalianism, Independency, Presbyterianism, atheism, reception, paradox

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