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Representation In Theology

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Chapter Summary

One of the striking features of Hobbes's theory of representation is his attempt to rewrite the central dogma of Christian theology in terms of a concept of representation he first devised for his politics. This is the dogma of the Trinity, according to which God is triune. This chapter shows the conceptual tangles Hobbes gets himself into when he tries to explain how God can be three and one at the same time in ways consistent with his theory of (political) representation. This analysis leads to the conclusion that Hobbes's insistence on holding to a highly unorthodox view on this dogma, which, by his own recognition, is irrelevant to salvation, is explained by his conviction that his newly coined theology of the Trinity 'manifestly tend(s) to Peace and Loyalty', as it contests 'Ancient Errors' that corroded unified sovereignty and were responsible for breeding unending trouble and disorder in the state.

Keywords: Christian theology; Hobbes's trinity; triune God



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