The Theological Significance of Despotism

in The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226645490
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226645520 | DOI:
The Theological Significance of Despotism

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This chapter focuses on Montesquieu's views on despotism, describing his bizarre characterization of its “nature.” It assembles the pieces to put together Montesquieu's implicit teaching on how exactly he thinks his political science intelligibly explains the genesis of the imagined experience of a legislating and demanding God such as we find in the Bible. The chapter considers interpretative observations on the history of Islam that indicate how Montesquieu explained the origin of Christianity's great rival, followed by a discussion of his thematic treatment of Christianity in all its forms, both Protestant and Catholic.

Keywords: Montesquieu; despotism; political science; God; Bible; Islam; Christianity

Chapter.  9700 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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