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Title: The Immortal Commonwealth: Covenant, Law, and the Common Good in Early Modern Protestant Thought
Authors: Henreckson, David
Advisors: Gregory, Eric S
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Covenant
Political theology
Political theory
Subjects: Religion
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation addresses the ways that theological conceptions of covenant and law were applied to political relations and norms in early modern Protestant thought around the turn of the seventeenth century. In broad terms, it asks the question: How would we understand the early modern context differently if we accounted for both the theological and political valence of covenantal thought? While many narratives of modern political history begin either with sixteenth-century reformation theologians like John Calvin and Martin Luther, or with seventeenth-century theorists like Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes, few pay much attention to the decades in between. Yet between the years 1574 and 1614 covenant emerged as a significant and almost ubiquitous concept in both theological and political writings. My project centers on a series of Reformed theologians and jurists – including Theodore Beza, Philippe de Mornay, and Johannes Althusius – who employed theological conceptions of law and covenant to advocate resistance to systemic political injustice. I show how this early modern coordination of theological and political sources and commitments yielded an innovative argument for popular political authority and the collective obligation to resist tyranny. By attending to these important but often-neglected voices, this study uncovers new perspectives on the historical – and normative – relationships between religion and politics, authority and obligation, and the role that covenant has played in shaping intellectual and social history in the modern West.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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