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Draft available here. Published version forthcoming in Modern Intellectual History, published by Cambridge University Press.
Arash Abizadeh. "Publicity, Privacy, and Religious Toleration in Hobbes's Leviathan." Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming.
Article Keywords: Thomas Hobbes; toleration; publicity; privacy; Independency; ecclesiology; religion
What motivated an absolutist Erastian who rejected religious freedom, defended uniform public worship, and deemed the public expression of disagreement a catalyst for war to endorse a movement known to history as the champion of toleration, no coercion in religion, and separation of church and state? At least three factors motivated Hobbes’s 1651 endorsement of Independency: the Erastianism of Cromwellian Independency, the influence of the politique tradition, and, paradoxically, the contribution of early-modern practices of toleration to maintaining the public sphere’s religious uniformity. The third factor illustrates how a key function of the emerging private sphere in the early-modern period was to protect uniformity, rather than diversity; it also shows that what was novel was not so much the public/private distinction itself, but the separation of two previously conflated dimensions of publicity – visibility and representativeness – that enabled early-modern Europeans to envisage modes of worship out in the open, yet still private.
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