Your top 10 Leviathan articles?

I was recently asked to recommend my top Hobbes articles for a new edition of Hobbes’s Leviathan, currently being prepared by David Johnston (Columbia) for Norton. This edition will replace the original 1996 one edited by Johnston and the late Richard Flathman.

Here is my list of 10. Any thoughts? What would your top 10 be? (Comments are open!)


1. Tom Sorell, ‘The science in Hobbes’s politics’, in Tom Sorell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (CUP, 1996).

2. Kinch Hoekstra, ‘Hobbesian equality’, in Sharon Lloyd, ed., Hobbes Today (CUP, 2013).

3. Quentin Skinner, ‘Leviathan: liberty redefined’, in Hobbes and Republican Liberty (CUP, 2008).

4. Jane Jaquette, ‘Defending liberal feminism: insights from Hobbes’, in Nancy Hirschmann and Joanne Wright, eds., Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012).

5. Mónica Brito Vieira, ‘Juridical representation’, in The Elements of Representation in Hobbes (Brill, 2009).

6. Sharon Lloyd, ‘The reciprocity interpretation of Hobbes’s moral philosophy’, in Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (CUP, 2009).

7. A.P. Martinich, ‘Religion’, in Hobbes (Routledge, 2005).

8. Teresa Bejan, ‘Teaching the Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on education’, Oxford Review of Education 36:5 (2010).

9. Jules Townshend, ‘Hobbes as possessive individualist: interrogating the C. B. Macpherson thesis’, Hobbes Studies 12 (1999).

10. Noel Malcolm, ‘Hobbes’s theory of international relations’, in Aspects of Hobbes (OUP, 2002).


Here’s the thinking behind my list:

(1) This is a ‘holistic’ list: one choice affects the others, because (a) I decided that no author could appear more than once, and (b) I sought a relatively wide coverage – so, no room for more than one article on representation, say. Obviously, though, there are significant omissions, e.g. rhetoric, law.

(2) Contributions had to be relatively short, in English, and accessible to advanced undergraduates.

(4) I’ve gone for modern rather than ‘classic’ contributions – which will not be to everyone’s taste, doubtless! So, please do say below what you would prefer, whether for individual topics or as a whole set of 10.



4 replies
  1. Juhana Lemetti
    Juhana Lemetti says:

    Good list Adrian. I have found the following helpful, stimulating or telling something worth of knowing about Hobbes.

    1. William Sacksteder, ”Hobbes: Teaching Philosophy to Speak English”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 16:1 (1978)
    2. Tom Sorell, ”Hobbes and Aristotle”, in Philosophy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: Conversation with Aristotle (2001)
    3. George MacDonald Ross, ”Hobbes’s two theories of meaning”,, in The Figural and the Literal: Problems of Language in the History of Science and Philosophy, 1630– 1800 (Manchester, 1987)
    4. James Jay Hamilton, ”Hobbes’s Study and the Hardwick Library”, Journal of the History of Philosophy 16:4(1978)
    5. Douglas Jesseph, ”Hobbesian Mechanism”, Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 3(2006)
    6. George Kateb, ”Hobbes and the Irrationality of Politics”, Political Theory (1981)
    7. Noel Malcolm, ”The Name and Nature of Leviathan: Political Symbolism and Biblical Exegesis”, Intellectual History Review (2007)
    8. Donald Rutherford, ”In the Pursuit of Happiness: Hobbes’s New Science of Ethis”, Philosophical Topics 31:1&2(2003)
    9. Thomas Pink, ”Suarez, Hobbes, and the Scholastic Tradition in Action Theory”, in The Will and Human Action: From Antiquity to the Present Day (2001)
    10. Simon Schaffer, ”Piety, Physics and Prodigious Abstinence”, in Religio Medici: Medicine and Religion in Seventeenth-Century England (1998)

    With kind regards,


    • Adrian Blau
      Adrian Blau says:

      What a great list, Juhana – thanks! I don’t know all of these articles and will check them out. Thank you!

  2. Rawls
    Rawls says:

    All on political thought/books I and II (except Mad Martinich). It’s like the last half century of scholarship never happened…

    • Adrian Blau
      Adrian Blau says:

      Both good points! (1) As regards political thought: yes, this is both my personal bias and what I expect the Johnston collection will focus on, so I chose accordingly. (2) As regards books 1 and 2: also a good point, and I don’t have much excuse here except that if one focuses primarily on the political thought as I’ve done, this is where the emphasis will usually lie. Am I wrong?

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