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Leviathan after 350 Years$
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Tom Sorell and Luc Foisneau

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264612.001.0001

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Leviathan, the Pentateuch, and the Origins of Modern Biblical Criticism

Leviathan, the Pentateuch, and the Origins of Modern Biblical Criticism

(p.241) Leviathan, the Pentateuch, and the Origins of Modern Biblical Criticism
Leviathan after 350 Years

Noel Malcolm (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 33 of Leviathan concerns the authorship and authority of books of Scripture. Hobbes thinks that the evidence for Moses being the author of the Pentateuch is slight, and he thinks that most of us cannot know even of the books of the Bible whose authorship is certain that they contain the word of God. If the books of the Bible have authority, it is, at bottom, because the sovereign determines as much. The lines of thought in chapter 33 are often taken to start a movement in modern philosophy that culminates in the dismissal of the Scriptures as fiction. This chapter presents a far more sophisticated understanding of what is going on, especially in relation to the question of Moses's authorship of the Pentateuch. Both Protestant and Catholic churchmen saw Hobbes's ascription of most of those texts to Ezra as subversive of faith.

Keywords:   Hobbes, Protestants, Catholics, Leviathan, Moses, Pentateuch

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