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1 Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book, which begins with a brief account of Sarpi's life and moves on to describe his relations with the nobility of Venice. The book discusses Sarpi's religious ideas and identifies Sarpi as a Christian mortalist; a Christian who denied the idea of the soul's natural immortality. It describes Sarpi's ecclesio-political ideas, focusing on his understanding of church-state relations, his concept of the papacy, and his theory of the two kingdoms, the spiritual and the temporal. The book provides evidence for Sarpi's adoption of absolutism and divine right theory. It focuses on Sarpi's idea of statecraft and points out his debt to Niccolò Machiavelli and reason of state literature. The book also presents a brief analysis on the linkage between history and politics, and argues that, for Sarpi, history was an important rhetorical tool and a key element of the art of ruling.

Keywords: absolutism; Christian mortalist; Sarpi's life; soul's natural immortality



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