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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

Chapter 10 - “A Rhapsody of Heresies”: The Scriptural Politics of On the Citizen


This chapter identifies and explains three important changes in Hobbes’s religious arguments from The Elements of Law to On the Citizen. First, Hobbes comes to focus more on religious and scriptural matters, devoting a greater amount of space to them in On the Citizen than in Elements of Law. Second, Hobbes’s argumentative strategy evolves. He multiplies independent lines of argument for the same central claims. Third, the content of Hobbes’s arguments changes. In On the Citizen, he takes a Hebraic turn, offering a new and detailed discussion of the Israelite kingdom of God and relying far more heavily on scriptural evidence from the Old Testament. In each case, these changes can be explained by the changing political context in England and Hobbes’s increasing sensitivity to the challenges of religious pluralism.