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“Kingdom of God” and Potentia Dei. An Interpretation of Divine Omnipotence in Hobbes’s Thought

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The relationships between politics and religion have always been the focus of Hobbesian literature, which generally privileges the theme of the Christian State, i.e. the union of temporal and spiritual power in a sovereign-representative person. This essay presents other perspectives of interpretation, which analyze the relationships between politics and religion in Hobbes’ works by using specifically metaphysical and theological categories – liberty/necessity, causality, kingdom of God, divine prescience, potentia Dei etc. – which allow us to reconsider the nature of political power (and the relevance of modern technology for the contemporary politics). The core of Hobbes’ argumentation concerns the theoretical status of determinism (i.e. the relationships between liberty and necessity) with regard to the reduction of «potentia» to «potestas» not only in political philosophy, but also in metaphysics and theology. In many passages of Hobbes’ works, then, it is possible to understand the role of God’s idea in the natural and political philosophy: God’s idea as first cause or as omnipotence is only a reassuring word useful to describe the necessary, mechanical and eternal movement of the bodies and useful to justify the materialistic determinism in anthropology and politics. Body and movement are the necessary fundaments of the universe which find in itself - without reference to the category of «possibility» in politics and in physics - the motives and the reasons of his own structure and function (from causes to effects).

Affiliations: 1: Scientific Director, Fondazione Collegio San Carlo, Via San Carlo 5, 41121, Modena (Italy),


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