Article: “My Highest Priority Was to Absolve the Divine Laws”: The Theory and Politics of Hobbes’ Leviathan in a War of Religion

Meirav Jones:  ‘“My Highest Priority Was to Absolve the Divine Laws”: The Theory and Politics of Hobbes’ Leviathan in a War of Religion’, Political Studies, Online First (2016).

Abstract: In his autobiography, Thomas Hobbes stated that he wrote his most influential work of political theory, Leviathan, to “absolve the divine laws” in response to “atrocious crimes being attributed to the commands of God.” This article attempts to take Hobbes seriously, and to read Leviathan as a contribution to the religious politics of the English Civil War. I demonstrate Hobbes’ appropriation of the religious terms and sources characterizing civil-war political discourse, and explore these terms and sources both in Hobbes’ response to religiously motivated politics and in the foundations of his most important political ideas. Hobbes emerges from this account as a critic of Christian politics and enthusiasm broadly conceived, as a political philosopher who employed an Israelite political model, and as an erstwhile ally of some of those usually considered his deepest opponents.



Article: The Arse Poetica of Thomas Hobbes: On the Composition and Reception of De Mirabilibus Pecci

Jessica Wolfe: ‘The Arse Poetica of Thomas Hobbes: On the Composition and Reception of De Mirabilibus Pecci’, Erudition and the Republic of Letters, 1, 3 (2016).

Abstract: This article provides a two-part study of Thomas Hobbes’ De Mirabilibus Pecci, a Latin poem composed very early in his career. Part one examines the poem as a product of Hobbes’ participation in the recreational literary culture of Caroline England, in particular analysing the influence of mock-epic and burlesque traditions that would continue to shape Hobbes’ writings but also studying how the poem offers compelling evidence for his early preoccupation with the laws of motion, with geological processes such as the creation and erosion of stone formations, and with the philosophy of Lucretius. Part two recounts the extraordinary history of the poem’s reception in the last decades of the seventeenth century. The poem’s familiarity among Hobbes’ allies and adversaries alike helped to cement his reputation as a master of scoffing and drollery, as an opponent of the experimental science practiced by the Royal Society, and as a freethinker or atheist.

New book: L’Axe Montaigne-Hobbes – Anthropologie et politique

Emiliano Ferrari et Thierry Gontier (eds.), L’Axe Montaigne-Hobbes – Anthropologie et politique, Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2016

About this book: Against a background of civil, political and religious conflict, Montaigne and Hobbes redeveloped a form of anthropological and political thinking that ushered in modernity. This collective work is as much concerned with the points where the two authors converge as with the difference in the paths they follow.

To view the table of contents, click here.

Hobbes. La vie inquiète

Book: Hobbes, La vie inquiète

Luc Foisneau: Hobbes, La vie inquiète, Editions Gallimard, Collection Folio essais, 2016.

In the recently published paperback edition of Hobbes, La vie inquiète, Luc Foisneau provides a wideranging interpretation of Hobbes’s answer to the question how we should live together when we fundamentally disagree about the good life.

In a review of the book in Le Monde (27.4.2016) Roger-Pol Droit writes: ‘En plus de 600 pages, il met en lu­mière les changements – anthro­pologiques, moraux et théologico-politiques – accomplis par Hobbes. Il analyse leurs répercussions, souvent méconnues, sur Mauss, Voegelin, Foucault ou Rawls. Directeur de recherche au CNRS, enseignant à Sciences Po et à Oxford, aujourd’hui à l’EHESS, Luc Foisneau se révèle, avec cette somme, guide expérimenté. Rien de hobbesien ne semble lui être étranger.’

Hobbes Studies

New issue of Hobbes Studies

A special issues of Hobbes Studies is now available, focusing on Optics, Simple Circular Motion and Conatus.


JOHN HENRY: Hobbes, Galileo, and the Physics of Simple Circular Motions

JOSÉ MÉDINA: Hobbes’s Geometrical Optics

DOUGLAS JESSEPH: Hobbes on ‘Conatus’: A Study in the Foundations of Hobbesian Philosophy

FRANCO GIUDICE: Optics in Hobbes’s Natural Philosophy

Chapter: Hobbes and Gassendi between Neo-Epicureanism and Mechanical Models of the Mind

Gianni Paganini: ‘Hobbes e Gassendi tra neo-epicureismo e modelli meccanici della mente’, in Anima-corpo alla luce dell’etica: Antichi e moderni, ed. Eugenio Canone, “Lessico Intellettuale Europeo”, CXXIV, Firenze: Olschki (2015), pp. 281-94. 

Abstract: It was only recently that the relationship between Thomas Hobbes and Pierre Gassendi received proper scholarly attention. Moreover, while Gassendi’s physics and epistemology have always been studied with a keen interest and with a particular focus on the fundamental questions of atomism and empiricism, it was only in recent times that his ethics, politics and Epicurean transformations introduced by his philosophy received the same kind of attention. This contribution examines primarily the figure of Gassendi and the complex interplay with Hobbes that characterized his thought, especially with regard to the founding of mechanistic psychology.