Machiavelli often seems to advocate a conception of religion as an instrument of political rule. But in the concluding chapter of The Prince Machiavelli adopts a messianic rhetoric in which politics becomes an instrument of divine providence. Since the political project at stake in The Prince, especially in this last chapter runs against both the interests and the ideology of the Catholic Church in Italy, some commentators have argued that Machiavelli appeals to providence merely in order to fool the Church and the Medici. This article argues that it is not necessary to appeal to such exoteric readings of the 26th chapter of The Prince if one envisages the possibility that Machiavelli may have drawn upon an alternative, non-Christian conception of divine providence coming from medieval Arabic and Jewish sources that is more compatible with his desire to return to Roman republican principles than is the Christian conception of divine providence.
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