Winstanley, Hobbes, and the Sin of the World

Denys Turner

in Radical Christian Voices and Practice

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738340 | DOI:
Winstanley, Hobbes, and the Sin of the World

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This chapter contrasts the ways in which Hobbes and Winstanley construe the relationship between sin, politics, and the state of nature. They are mirror-images each of the other. For Hobbes the natural condition of conflict over property leads to the artificial construction of civil society and civil government. For Winstanley it is civil government’s obedience to the interests of property that is the cause of conflict and enmity between people. In both casse, religion plays a role, in Hobbes in Erastian subordination to the absolute power of the sovereign, in Winstanley in restoring original peace through the abolition of all property. It is argued that both are one-sided inversions of their opposites and that a true Christian politics is to be understood in terms of the last enemy, which is not sin, but death, and therefore in terms of the martyr as paradigm.

Keywords: Conflict; death; Hobbes; martyr; politics; property; sin; Winstanley

Chapter.  7239 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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