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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, Calvinism, and Determinism

Hobbes, Calvinism, and Determinism

(p.95) 6 Hobbes, Calvinism, and Determinism
Hobbes on Politics and Religion

Alan Cromartie

Oxford University Press

In his debate with Bramhall, Hobbes claimed that his determinism could derive support from mainstream Calvinist theology. This claim is often taken at face value. But an examination of writers from Martin Luther to William Perkins reveals that mainstream Calvinism was not determinist. As Bramhall was able to show, Hobbes’s interpretation of these writers was characterized by crude misunderstandings. In this and in other respects, Hobbes’s professed theology reveals a startling ignorance of and/or indifference to the details of the English church’s doctrines. His thinking on these matters was more influenced by Suarez than by any Protestant. It is, however, possible that his determinism reflects another kind of religious commitment.

Keywords:   Thomas Hobbes, Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Perkins, John Bramhall, Francesco Suarez, determinism, free will

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