From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, 100-1625

From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, 100-1625

From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, 100-1625

From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, 100-1625


A reference tool that provides an overview of the history of Christian political thought with selections from second century to the seventeenth century.

From the second century to the seventeenth, from Irenaeus to Grotius, this unique reader provides a coherent overview of the development of Christian political thought. The editors have collected readings from the works of over sixty-five authors, together with introductory essays that give historical details about each thinker and discuss how each has contributed to the tradition of Christian political thought. Complete with important Greek and Latin texts available here in English for the first time, this volume will be a primary resource for readers from a wide range of interests.


The texts in this volume have been chosen to illustrate the use of Christian theological arguments in political discussion, throughout the period in which those arguments were commonplace. For a millennium and a half, from the patristic age to the early modern period, the themes of creation, fall, Christology, the church, and eschatology, and the appeal to a wide range of Old and New Testament texts, dominated the way political discussion was conducted. This collection is intended to provide access to those strands of theopolitical argument, through primary literature, for readers who are not specialists in the various historical periods, and so to illustrate how Christian beliefs fashioned Christian political ideals and practices.

In the course of doing so, it hopes to provide a reasonably comprehensive and coherent overview of the history of Christian political thought, illuminating the continuities and discontinuities, internal diversities and lines of influence, historical interactions and divergences, and the relation of the theopolitical tradition to changing historical settings. in addition, it makes available in English translation selections from some otherwise inaccessible texts. Some of the pieces included in this volume have never been translated into English before; others are to be found only in antique, inaccurate, or unreadable versions.

The collection is offered to any reader who can enjoy getting to know these texts and can make use of them in any way. But it has especially in mind two classes of reader for whom the interaction of theology and politics is a live issue today. These are, on the one hand, theologians who concern themselves with the bearing of Christian faith on political action, but whose reflections are nourished almost exclusively from twentieth-century, perhaps only late twentieth-century, sources. the revival of political theology in our generation is a phenomenon with many hopeful aspects as well as some ambiguities. But contemporary political theology, without renouncing its concern to be contemporary, can proceed with much greater confidence if it is acquainted with the originating tradition from which Western politics sprang.

The second class of reader comprises political and legal thinkers who, in approaching their own intellectual concerns as Christian believers, wish to know how . . .

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