New book: Hobbes on Politics and Religion

Van Apeldoorn, Laurens / Douglass, Robin (2018) (eds.): Hobbes on Politics and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This volume marks the culmination of the inaugural research project of the Euroepan Hobbes Society. The majority of chapters in this volume were presented at two workshops in 2015, the first at King’s College London and the Second at Leiden University.

Description: Thomas Hobbes, one of the most important figures in the history of political philosophy, is still widely regarded as a predominantly secular thinker. Yet a great deal of his political thought was motivated by the need to address problems of a distinctively religious nature. This is the first collection of essays dedicated to the complex and rich intersections between Hobbes’s political and religious thought. Written by experts in the field, the volume opens up new directions for thinking about his treatment of religion as a political phenomenon and the political dimensions of his engagement with Christian doctrines and their history. The chapters investigate his strategies for showing how his provocative political positions could be accepted by different religious audiences for whom fidelity to religious texts was of crucial importance, while also considering the legacy of his ideas and examining their relevance for contemporary concerns. Some chapters do so by pursuing mainly historical inquiries about the motives and circumstances of Hobbes’s writings, while others reconstruct the logic of his arguments and test their philosophical coherence. They thus offer wide-ranging and sometimes conflicting assessments of Hobbes’s ideas, yet they all demonstrate how closely intertwined his political and religious preoccupations are and thereby showcase how this perspective can help us to better understand his thought.

Table of contents:

Introduction, Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass
1: The Theocratic Leviathan: Hobbes’s Arguments for the Identity of Church and State, Johan Olsthoorn
2: Natural Sovereignty and Omnipotence in Hobbes’s Leviathan, A. P. Martinich
3: First Impressions: Hobbes on Religion, Education, and the Metaphor of Imprinting, Teresa M. Bejan
4: Tolerance as a Dimension of Hobbes’s Absolutism, Franck Lessay
5: Hobbes on the Motives of Martyrs, Alexandra Chadwick
6: Hobbes, Calvinism, and Determinism, Alan Cromartie
7: Mosaic Leviathan: Religion and Rhetoric in Hobbes’s Political Thought, Alison McQueen
8: Devil in the Details: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Scripture, Paul B. Davis
9: The Politics of Hobbes’s Historia Ecclesiastica, Patricia Springborg
10: A Profile in Cowardice? Hobbes, Personation, and the Trinity, Glen Newey
11: Hobbes and the Future of Religion, Jon Parkin
12: Hobbes and Early English Deism, Elad Carmel
13: All the Wars of Christendom: Hobbes’s Account of Religious Conflict, Jeffrey Collins
14: Religious Conflict and Moral Consensus: Hobbes, Rawls, and Two Types of Moral Justification, Daniel Eggers
15: Hobbes on the Duty Not to Act on Conscience, S. A. Lloyd

French Hobbes scholarship: New book on Leibniz and Hobbes

Leibniz lecteur critique de Hobbes (E. Marquer & P. Rateau eds), Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal-Vrin, 2017.

A new volume edited by Éric Marquer and Paul Rateau analyzes Hobbes’s influence on Leibniz, shows that Leibniz “knew his Hobbes” and how he engages with Hobbes’s philosophy in his teachings on physics, theory of knowledge, morals, law and, of course, politics. An appendix includes the two letters from Leibniz to Hobbes (1670 et 1674), translated in French.

New article: The Natural Laws of Good Manners: Hobbes, Glory, and Early Modern Civility

Mark, Clifton (2018): The Natural Laws of Good Manners: Hobbes, Glory, and Early Modern Civility, in: The Review of Politics, Volume 80, Issue 3, Summer 2018 , pp. 391-414.

Abstract
According to Hobbes, glory causes conflict in two ways: by causing competition over comparative recognition, and by making men violently sensitive to insult. Interpreters have generally depicted the sensitivity to insult as a manifestation of the desire for comparative recognition. This reading raises two problems. First, the two ways in which Hobbes uses glory are inconsistent. Second, if the problem with glory is comparison, then the law of nature enjoining the acknowledgment of equality should lead to war rather than peace. This paper illuminates these obscurities by placing Hobbes in the context of the contemporary literature on honor and civility. These sources reveal two concepts of honor which correspond to the two ways in which Hobbes writes about glory. Hobbes draws heavily from these sources, but intentionally elides the two concepts of honor in order to undermine an ideology of honor that was used to justify disobedience and unlawful violence.

 

New Issue: Hobbes Studies

Hobbes Studies Volume 31, Issue 1, 2018

A new issue of Hobbes Studies is now available, containing the following articles:

Timothy Raylor: Hobbes and the Hardwick Digests

Mónica Brito Vieira: Revisiting Hobbes on Representation

Robin Douglass: Authorisation and Representation before Leviathan

Philippe Crignon: Representation and the Person of the State

Paul Sagar: What is the Leviathan?

Mónica Brito Vieira: RE-Imagi(n)ing Leviathan

New Article: Thomas Hobbes’ Critique of Ancient Friendship

Slomp, Gabriella (2018): As Thick as Thieves: Exploring Thomas Hobbes’ Critique of Ancient Friendship and its Contemporary Relevance, in: Political Studies. First Published March 19, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321718761243

Abstract: Recent decades have witnessed a revival of interest in ancient friendship both as a normative and as an explanatory concept. The literature concurs in holding Hobbes responsible for the marginalisation of friendship in political science and suggests that Hobbes devalued friendship because of his understanding of man. This article argues that although Hobbes’ appraisal of friendship hinges on his assumption that man is self-interested, his critique of normative friendship does not rest on that notion. Hobbes’ challenge to us is this: without foundation in the ‘truth’ (i.e. the ‘Good Life’) that underpinned ancient friendship, modern friendship, whether self-interested or selfless, cannot be assumed to be a civic virtue, nor an index of the health of a political association, nor a facilitator of domestic or global peace. Hobbes’ critique is especially relevant for writers who maintain that a resurgence of friendship can nurture concord and foster reconciliation within contemporary liberal democracies.

 

New book: Cooperative commentary on Hobbes’s De Cive (in German)

Höffe, Otfried (Ed.): Thomas Hobbes. De Cive. (Klassiker Auslegen). Berlin / Boston: De Gruyter, 2018.

A new cooperative commentary on Thomas Hobbes’s De Cive, edited by Otfried Höffe, has just been published. Most chapters are in German, with some exceptions (English). The book is a chapter by chapter commentary on De Cive and includes papers by Jeremy Adler, Ronald Asch, Dirk Brantl, Franz Hespe, Moritz Hildt, Otfried Höffe, Heiner Klemme, Elif Özmen, Dietrich Schotte, Peter Schröder, Patricia Springborg, Tom Sorell and Lothar Waas.

New book: Thomas Hobbes’s Conception of Peace

Maximilian Jaede, Thomas Hobbes’s Conception of PeaceCivil Society and International Order (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

About this book: This book explores Hobbes’s ideas about the internal pacification of states, the prospect of a peaceful international order, and the connections between civil and international peace. It questions the notion of a negative Hobbesian peace, which is based on the mere suppression of violence, and emphasises his positive vision of everlasting peace in a well-governed commonwealth. The book also highlights Hobbes’s ideas about international coexistence and cooperation, which he considers integral to good government. In examining Hobbes’s conception of peace, it provides a fresh perspective on his international political thought. The findings also have wider implications for the ways in which we think about Hobbes’s relationship to the realist and liberal traditions of international thought, and will appeal to students and scholars of political theory and international relations.

 

New publication: Europe and the Heritage of Modernity

This new volume, edited by Domagoj Vujeva and Luka Ribarević, contains four chapters on Hobbes, and one discussing the relationship between Hobbes and Rousseau.

Dirk Brantl, ‘Political Stability for Passionate Machines: Hobbes on Manners and Political Education’.

Philippe Crignon, ‘Representation and the State Paradigm in Hobbes’s Political Philosophy’.

Luc Foisneau, ‘Simplifying Hobbes: Hume’s Conception of Justice in a Hobbesian Perspective’.

Luka Ribarević, ‘Political Hebraism in Leviathan: Hobbes on I Samuel 8′.

Dragutin Lalovićm, ‘Republican Synthesis of the Political and of the State in Rousseau’s Political Theory’.

The publication is part of a project entitled ‘Political in the Time of Actual Crisis: the Heritage of Modernity and Contemporary Challenges to the Project of European Unity’, funded by the European Social Fund. Since the publication was financed by EU funds, it can be downloaded free of charge in pdf format by clicking on the following link:  https://www.fpzg.unizg.hr/_download/repository/Europe_and_the_heritage_of_modernity%5b1%5d.pdf

New book: Appropriating Hobbes

Boucher, David (2018): Appropriating Hobbes. Legacies in Political, Legal, and International Thought. Oxford: OUP.

Description by the publisher:

This book explores how Hobbes’s political philosophy has occupied a pertinent place in different contexts, and how his interpreters see their own images reflected in him, or how they define themselves in contrast to him. Appropriating Hobbes argues that there is no Hobbes independent of the interpretations that arise from his appropriation in these various contexts and which serve to present him to the world. There is no one perfect context that enables us to get at what Hobbes ‘really meant’, despite the numerous claims to the contrary. He is almost indistinguishable from the context in which he is read.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Hobbes in Contexts
1: Hobbes Among the Philosophical Idealists: A Will that is Actual, but Not General
2: Understanding Hobbes: Philosophy versus Ideology
3: Constraining Leviathan: Power versus authority in Hobbes, Schmitt, and Oakeshott.
4: Hobbes Among the Classic Jurists: Natural Law versus the Law of Nations
5: Hobbes Among Legal Positivists: Sovereign or Society?
6: Hobbes Among International Relations thinkers: International Political Theory

Quentin Skinner: From Humanism to Hobbes

Skinner, Quentin (2018): From Humanism to Hobbes. Studies in Rhetoric and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The aim of this collection is to illustrate the pervasive influence of humanist rhetoric on early-modern literature and philosophy. The first half of the book focuses on the classical rules of judicial rhetoric. One chapter considers the place of these rules in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, while two others concentrate on the technique of rhetorical redescription, pointing to its use in Machiavelli’s The Prince as well as in several of Shakespeare’s plays, notably Coriolanus. The second half of the book examines the humanist background to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. A major new essay discusses his typically humanist preoccupation with the visual presentation of his political ideas, while other chapters explore the rhetorical sources of his theory of persons and personation, thereby offering new insights into his views about citizenship, political representation, rights and obligations and the concept of the state.

Advance praise:‘In these beautifully crafted essays Skinner shows how Machiavelli, Shakespeare and Hobbes use the plenitude of rhetorical techniques of the humanist curriculum to craft persuasively the features of their different yet equally famous texts. Moreover, each confronts differently the chaos that ensues when these radically redescriptive techniques enter into the world they strive to characterise. A masterpiece.’

James Tully – University of Victoria, British Columbia

Advance praise:‘In these brilliant essays, centered on Thomas Hobbes, Quentin Skinner presents political discourse as rhetoric, forensic and theatric. He shows how tactical maneuver established fictions which became analytical realities. A challenge and a step forward for political theorists and historians of early modern England and Europe.’

J. G. A. Pocock – The Johns Hopkins University

Advance praise:‘Quentin Skinner is one of our greatest living humanists. He understands from within the classical tradition that nourished thinkers from Machiavelli to Hobbes and wields language with the force of a Renaissance rhetorician. In this timely work, he deepens his long-standing engagement with humanism and with Hobbes, expands his range to Shakespeare and Milton and sheds new light on the conceptual genealogies of virtue and liberty, representation and the state. From Humanism to Hobbes will be indispensable for intellectual historians, political theorists and early modernists alike.’

David Armitage – Harvard University