Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Modernity and Its DiscontentsMaking and Unmaking the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Steven B. Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198393

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198393.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

Was Hobbes a Christian?

Was Hobbes a Christian?

(p.67) Chapter 4 Was Hobbes a Christian?
Modernity and Its Discontents

Steven B. Smith

Yale University Press

Secularization is a key feature of modernity. The modern national state was made possible only once theological politics—the whole domain of “priestcraft”—was put firmly under sovereign control. Few would deny that Thomas Hobbes was the first to develop the modern theory of the state with full vigor and clarity. Hobbes attacked the power of the clergy and the priesthood, but did he attack religion? Was he an atheist who attempted to view human nature under the categories of reason and self-interest, or did he remain a Christian despite himself? This chapter examines Hobbes’s greatest book, Leviathan, in order to answer this question. Hobbes, it argues, was not an atheist, but his work hollowed out religion, making it a matter of private belief and even allowing room for toleration of religious diversity. He created the premises of liberal modernity.

Keywords:   Hobbes, Thomas, Kingdom of Darkness, Lucretius, Priestcraft, Prophecy, Schmitt, Carl, Secularism, Sovereignty, Strauss, Leo

Yale Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.