Catalogue

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The Mosaic constitution [electronic resource] : political theology and imagination from Machiavelli to Milton /
Graham Hammill.
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
description
xii, 328 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
ISBN
0226315428 (cloth), 9780226315423 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
isbn
0226315428 (cloth)
9780226315423 (cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Moses and political theology -- Machiavelli and Hebrew scripture -- Spinoza and the theological imaginary -- The Mosaic constitution in England: sovereignty, government, literature,1590-1630 -- Marlowe and the counter-reformation -- Drayton and the plague -- Political making, literary making, 1651-1671 -- Marvell's Mosaic moment -- Harrington's poetics of government -- Paradise regained and the limits of toleration.
catalogue key
11576811
 
Includes bibliographical references (pages 285-320) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-11-01:
This book fruitfully investigates links between political philosophy and poetry in the 16th and 17th centuries. Beginning with "Moses's constitution of Israel as a people bound by the rule of law" as this was invoked and evoked by Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hobbes, and Harrington among other theorists, Hammill (English, Univ. of Buffalo, SUNY) develops an account of how "the theological imaginary ... persists in the secular world [as] a source of both commonality and violence." The sacred is transformed into the civic ideal, an ideal centrally involving the exercise of a moral imagination richly imbued with poetic attributes. So Machiavelli's analysis of how religion can be used to reinforce authority becomes in Spinoza and Harrington a basis for developing and maintaining popular sovereignty. This is a decidedly upbeat American version of "political theology," strikingly different from standard presentations by Ernst Kantorowicz and Carl Schmitt. Hammill's crisp, deeply literary recounting of the path of political philosophy will surely benefit advanced students of Renaissance literature, though his readings of poetry are uneven in terms of literary merit--the chapters on Marvell and Milton work considerably better than those on Marlowe and Drayton. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. E. D. Hill Mount Holyoke College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Fruitfully investigates links between political philosophy and poetry in the 16th and 17th centuries. . . . Hammill's crisp, deeply literary recounting of the path of political philosophy will surely benefit advanced students in Renaissance literature."
" The Mosaic Constitution is an extraordinary work of scholarshipremarkable in its depth and range, remarkable in its implications for the field. The scale and texture of the historical scholarship show the kind of period fluency and scholarly gravitas that will place Graham Hammill squarely in the ranks of the most accomplished of contemporary analysts of the early modern era. This impressive book will be the point of reference for scholars engaged with the history of political theology in the early modern era."
" The Mosaic Constitution is an extraordinary work of scholarshipremarkable in its depth and range, remarkable in its implications for the field. The scale and texture of the historical scholarship show the kind of period fluency and scholarly gravitas that will place Graham Hammill squarely in the ranks of the most accomplished of contemporary analysts of the early modern era. This impressive book will be the point of reference for scholars engaged with the history of political theology in the early modern era."Christopher Pye, Williams College
"Through this beautifully realized study of the central role played by the figure of Moses in the work of disparate political thinkers from Machiavelli and Milton to Spinoza and Freud, Graham Hammill uncovers the productive relationship among political theology, early modern constitutionalism, and the creation of the state. The Mosaic Constitution is a major contribution to literary, legal, and political debates about the ongoing entanglement of the sacred and the secular."
"Through this beautifully realized study of the central role played by the figure of Moses in the work of disparate political thinkers from Machiavelli and Milton to Spinoza and Freud, Graham Hammill uncovers the productive relationship among political theology, early modern constitutionalism, and the creation of the state. The Mosaic Constitution is a major contribution to literary, legal, and political debates about the ongoing entanglement of the sacred and the secular."-Anne Orford, University of Melbourne
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
It is a common belief that scripture has no place in modern, secular politics. Graham Hammill challenges this notion in 'The Mosaic Constitution', arguing that Moses's constitution of Israel, which created people bound by the rule of law, was central to early modern writings about government and state.
Main Description
It is a common belief that scripture has no place in modern, secular politics. Graham Hammill challenges this notion in The Mosaic Constitution , arguing that Moses's constitution of Israel, which created people bound by the rule of law, was central to early modern writings about government and state. Hammill shows how political writers from Machiavelli to Spinoza drew on Mosaic narrative to imagine constitutional forms of government. At the same time, literary writers like Christopher Marlowe, Michael Drayton, and John Milton turned to Hebrew scripture to probe such fundamental divisions as those between populace and multitude, citizenship and race, and obedience and individual choice. As these writers used biblical narrative to fuse politics with the creative resources of language, Mosaic narrative also gave them a means for exploring divine authority as a product of literary imagination. The first book to place Hebrew scripture at the cutting edge of seventeenth-century literary and political innovation, The Mosaic Constitution offers a fresh perspective on political theology and the relations between literary representation and the founding of political communities.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Moses and Political Theology
Machiavelli and Hebrew Scripturep. 31
Spinoza, and the Theological Imaginaryp. 67
The Mosaic Constitution in England-Sovereignty, Government, Literature, 1590-1630
Marlowe and the Counter-Reformationp. 103
Drayton and the Plaguep. 138
Political Making, Literary Making, 1651-1671
Marvell's Mosaic Momentp. 173
Harrington's Poetics of Governmentp. 208
Paradise Regained and the Limits of Tolerationp. 243
Notesp. 285
Indexp. 321
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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