Catalogue


As if God existed : religion and liberty in the history of Italy /
Maurizio Viroli ; translated by Alberto Nones.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2012.
description
xx, 352 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691142351 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780691142357 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2012.
isbn
0691142351 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780691142357 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Republics protected by God -- Images of the civil religion -- Republican and monarchical religion -- A religion that instills virtue -- Sacred laws and sacred republics -- Republican religion and religious reform -- A religion to live free -- Within the soul -- The twilight of republican religion -- Without God -- After the revolution -- The new alliance -- Literature and hymns of the religion of liberty -- Apostles and martyrs -- Masters -- Regrets and the quest for new faiths -- Two clashing religions -- In the name of Christ -- Inner liberty -- The religion of liberty -- A religion that instills hope -- The religion of duty -- As if God existed -- Only a god can expel a god -- Leaving life -- Twilight.
catalogue key
8533505
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-327) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Religion and liberty, each often considered the main enemy of the other, stand together in Maurizio Viroli's thoughtful and daring book. Writing with his usual convincing charm, Viroli studies three highlights of Italian republicanism and finds a common clue to their fame in the formula 'as if God existed.' A must for lovers of Machiavelli--and Italy."-- Harvey C. Mansfield, author of Machiavelli's Virtue "Addressing a fascinating and controversial subject, this book is compellingly argued, brilliantly written, and provocative in the best sense of the word."-- Eugenio Biagini, University of Cambridge
Flap Copy
"Religion and liberty, each often considered the main enemy of the other, stand together in Maurizio Viroli's thoughtful and daring book. Writing with his usual convincing charm, Viroli studies three highlights of Italian republicanism and finds a common clue to their fame in the formula 'as if God existed.' A must for lovers of Machiavelli--and Italy."--Harvey C. Mansfield, author of Machiavelli's Virtue "Addressing a fascinating and controversial subject, this book is compellingly argued, brilliantly written, and provocative in the best sense of the word."--Eugenio Biagini, University of Cambridge
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-03-01:
In this thought-provoking book, Viroli (politics, Princeton Univ.) contends that religion and liberty are not incompatible. He distinguishes between "good" religion and "bad" religion, associating the former with moral precepts that create a civic religion that reinforces political liberty, resulting in a moral patriotism extolling justice and a civic virtue promoting the public good. "Bad" religion, also labeled "irreligiosity," lacks a moral base, creates a militant nationalism, subverts the public good, extols the leader, and results in tyranny. Viroli defends his argument with three concrete cases in Italian political history. He begins with late-medieval Renaissance Italy and focuses on the political life of the republican city-states of the era, singling out Florence, Venice, and Siena as examples. For his second case, he turns to the Risorgimento period of mid-19th-century Italy. His final example is the Resistenza, the antifascist movement of the 20th century. In each case, he offers testimony to support his argument by quoting from the literature of the men and women who identified themselves with the concept of a religion of liberty. By the time Viroli concludes, he has developed a flexible definition of religion that exceeds, although it does not exclude, a God-centered religion while retaining its moral base. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty. L. B. Gimelli emeritus, Eastern Michigan University
Reviews
Review Quotes
In this thought-provoking book, Viroli contends that religion and liberty are not incompatible.
"In this thought-provoking book, Viroli contends that religion and liberty are not incompatible."-- Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2013
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
Main Description
Religion and liberty are often thought to be mutual enemies: if religion has a natural ally, it is authoritarianism--not republicanism or democracy. But in this book, Maurizio Viroli, a leading historian of republican political thought, challenges this conventional wisdom. He argues that political emancipation and the defense of political liberty have always required the self-sacrifice of people with religious sentiments and a religious devotion to liberty. This is particularly the case when liberty is threatened by authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those who feel a deeply religious commitment to it. Viroli makes his case by reconstructing, for the first time, the history of the Italian "religion of liberty," covering its entire span but focusing on three key examples of political emancipation: the free republics of the late Middle Ages, the Risorgimento of the nineteenth century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the twentieth century. In each example, Viroli shows, a religious spirit that regarded moral and political liberty as the highest goods of human life was fundamental to establishing and preserving liberty. He also shows that when this religious sentiment has been corrupted or suffocated, Italians have lost their liberty. This book makes a powerful and provocative contribution to today's debates about the compatibility of religion and republicanism.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Viroli makes his case by reconstructing the history of the Italian 'religion of liberty', covering its entire span by focusing on three key examples of political emancipation: the free republics of the late Middle Ages, the Risorgimento of the 19th century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the 20th century.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Viroli makes his case by reconstructing the history of the Italian 'religion of liberty', covering its entire span by focusing on three key examples of political emancipation: the free republics of hte late Middle Ages, the Rosorgimento of the 19th century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the 20th century.
Table of Contents
Preface to the English Editionp. xi
Introductionp. 1
A Republican Christianity
Republics Protected by Godp. 15
Images of the Civil Religionp. 21
Republican and Monarchical Religionp. 29
A Religion That Instills Virtuep. 33
Sacred Laws and Sacred Republicsp. 37
Republican Religion and Religious Reformp. 45
A Religion to Live Freep. 52
Within the Soulp. 62
The Twilight of Republican Religionp. 72
Religious Rebirth and National Emancipation
Without Godp. 89
After the Revolutionp. 103
The New Alliancep. 115
Literature and Hymns of the Religion of Libertyp. 126
Apostles and Martyrsp. 140
Mastersp. 145
Regrets and the Quest for New Faithsp. 154
They Got Too Close to the Light
Two Clashing Religionsp. 175
In the Name of Christp. 186
Inner Libertyp. 200
The Religion of Libertyp. 214
A Religion That Instills Hopep. 226
The Religion of Dutyp. 235
As If God Existedp. 249
Only a God Can Expel a Godp. 259
Leaving Lifep. 268
Twilightp. 275
Notesp. 283
Indexp. 329
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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