The Covenant with God in Hobbes's Leviathan
Hobbes's Christian critics attacked Leviathan both for affirming and for denying the possibility of a covenant between God and man. Filmer attacked Hobbes for affirming that possibility. Clarendon attacked him for denying it. And both writers did this in the name of the Christian religion. How can this be? Is Hobbes's text really so ambiguous as to permit a doubt about his position? How is it possible that two intelligent readers should have attributed diametrically opposed views to him? And how is it possible that both the supposed affirmation and the supposed denial should prove offensive to Christian readers? Is the Christian tradition so ambiguous on this point as to permit both views to be regarded as heretical? This chapter addresses these questions.
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