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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

The Theocratic Leviathan

The Theocratic Leviathan

Hobbes’s Arguments for the Identity of Church and State

(p.10) 1 The Theocratic Leviathan
Hobbes on Politics and Religion

Johan Olsthoorn

Oxford University Press

Hobbes’s views on church–state relations go well beyond Erastianism. Rather than claiming that the state holds supremacy over the church, Hobbes argued that church and state are identical in Christian commonwealths. This chapter shows that Hobbes advanced two distinct arguments for the church–state identity thesis over time. Both arguments are of considerable interest. The argument found in De Cive explains how the sovereign unifies a multitude of Christians into one personified church—without, intriguingly, any appeal to representation. Leviathan’s argument is premised on the sovereign’s authorized representation of Christian subjects. Authorization explains why, from Leviathan onwards, full sacerdotal powers are ex officio attributed to the sovereign. In Hobbes’s mature theory, every clerical power, including baptism and consecration, derives from the sovereign—now labelled ‘the Supreme Pastor’. Developments in Hobbes’s account of church personation thus explain Leviathan’s theocratic turn.

Keywords:   Thomas Hobbes, church–state relations, Erastianism, representation, authorization, personation, corporation, ecclesiology, sacerdotal kingship, theocratic government

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