Mark Somos

Bible interpretation and the Constitution of the Christian Commonwealth in Hobbes's Leviathan, Part III

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Few aspects of Hobbes's thought received as much recent attention as his religion; yet there are no comprehensive analyses of Hobbes's biblical exegesis. To illustrate a possible method and the value of such studies, this article traces Hobbes's strings of references in "Leviathan", Part III. It shows that despite ascribing the authority to finalise, censor, and otherwise control biblical editions to the Sovereign, Hobbes preferred the Geneva to the King James Bible. The article also considers some implications of Hobbes's Bible interpretations for the constitutional design of his Christian Commonwealth, including representation, the Christian Sovereign, anticlericalism, and the Second Coming.


  • Thomas Hobbes
  • Leviathan
  • Biblical Exegesis
  • Constitutional Theology


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