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Title: Religious liberty and authority : Hobbes's use of the Bible in Leviathan in the context of the English Civil War
Author: Okada, T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 829X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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It has long been a great riddle why Hobbes expressed his bizarre view about Christian religion in Leviathan. This thesis is a serious attempt to explain it. The procedure followed is, in the first place, to identify the precise nature of arguments distinctive of Leviathan and of the new religious challenges Hobbes faced in Leviathan, and then to connect them with religious issues in the English Civil War. The issues identified are enthusiasm, “the Foole” in Chapter 15, and the toleration controversy. The first context investigated is several rational justifications for the authority of the Bible as a reaction to enthusiasm. Works by William Chillingworth, Edward Leigh, John Goodwin, Seth Ward and Henry Hammond are examined, and the originality of Hobbes’s view on biblical authority in comparison with them is clarified. It lies in Hobbes’s radical scepticism towards all forms of the pretended word of God as his solution to the political threat of enthusiasm, and in the correspondent certainty of his answer, the civil sovereign as the foundation of biblical authority. Clarification has been given of several layers of his scriptural interpretation underlying the conclusion, such as the philological investigation about revelation in the Bible in Chapter 36, the foundation of Moses’s authority in Chapter 40. This conclusion, in turn, lays a theoretical foundation for Hobbes’s eschatology in Chapter 38. The second context examined is the Anglican defences of toleration as part of the toleration controversy most relevant to Leviathan. The possible influence Hobbes and Jeremy Taylor had on each other concerning mutual toleration is shown, together with their originalities compared with Chillingworth. Moreover an explanation is supplied of some arguments specific to Leviathan as Hobbes’s reaction to the general toleration controversy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available