Chapter

Life in a Republic: The Lessons of Theology

Susan James

in Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion, and Politics

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698127
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740558 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698127.003.0012
 							Life in a Republic: The Lessons of Theology

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Working out how to devise a balance of power that will uphold liberty and security is the central task of politics; but modern republics can learn how to do this by turning to historical examples, such as the ancient Hebrew Republic founded by Moses and already extolled by Dutch writers such as Grotius and Cunaeus. Through an elaborate analysis of the Hebrew constitution and the history of the Hebrew state, Spinoza draws a number of morals and applies them to the Dutch Republic. He defends the benefits of popular sovereignty. He points to the advantages of a regime in which divine and civil law are one. Following in the footsteps of De La Court, he warns his compatriots of the dangers of monarchy, and he itemizes the dangers of a mixed constitutions where power is divided between States and Stadtholder.

Keywords: republicanism; Hebrew Republic; Moses; Grotius; Cunaeus; popular sovereignty; dangers of monarchy; mixed constitution; unified civil and religious law; De La Court

Chapter.  13384 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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