Chapter

Rousseau's Civil Religion Reconsidered

Terence Ball

in Reappraising Political Theory

Published in print November 1994 | ISBN: 9780198279952
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598753 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198279957.003.0005
 Rousseau's Civil Religion Reconsidered

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I ask and attempt to answer three questions. First, what role or place does Rousseau's scheme for a civil religion occupy in his political theory? Second, what were Rousseau's intentions—i.e. what was he attempting to do—in devising this scheme? And third, how might we account for its placement within the text of the Social Contract, viz. at the very end? Addressing these questions from a contextual as well as internal or textual perspective, I construct a new—and decidedly non‐totalitarian—interpretation of Rousseau's religion civile.

Keywords: civil religion; general will; political theory; Rousseau, Jean‐Jacques; totalitarianism

Chapter.  9276 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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