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The Composition Of Hobbes’s Elements Of Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the puzzle of the composition of the Elements of Law introduces a more general issue in Hobbes studies. The process of composition of all three major textsis a side of Hobbess political arguments that merits more consideration. While the author lack direct evidence dating the composition of The Elements of Law, hints can be patched together from Hobbess activities and correspondence in the 1630s. Although this material is familiar to most Hobbes scholars, a review is useful before examining the text. The chapter assumes that the Elements circulated in manuscript rather than being printed simply because of the urgent need, brought on by political events, to get it into circulation. It may well be that the defense of absolutism was the major uncompleted piece of the manuscript prior to the calling of the Short Parliament. Focusing on Hobbess arguments yields a more conservative estimate.

Keywords: absolutism; Hobbess Elements of Law; political events



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