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The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”
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The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”

Thomas L. Pangle

Abstract

The Spirit of the Laws—Montesquieu's huge, complex, and enormously influential work—is considered one of the central texts of the Enlightenment, laying the foundation for the liberally democratic political regimes that were to embody its values. This book argues that the inherently theological project of Enlightenment liberalism is made more clearly—and more consequentially—in Spirit than in any other work. It shows how Montesquieu believed that rationalism, through the influence of liberal institutions and the spread of commercial culture, would secularize human affairs. At the same time, the ... More

Keywords: Montesquieu, Enlightenment, liberalism, rationalism, humanity, religious impulse, well-being

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780226645490
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226645520.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Thomas L. Pangle, author