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The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”$
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Thomas L. Pangle

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226645490

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226645520.001.0001

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Commerce and the Great Theological Experiment

Commerce and the Great Theological Experiment

Chapter:
(p.94) Chapter Five Commerce and the Great Theological Experiment
Source:
The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226645520.003.0006

This chapter analyzes commerce as an engine of religious liberation, the rational redemption of Christianity, commerce and despotism, and Montesquieu's “prophetic vision.” Commerce contributes greatly to the transformation of Christianity that Montesquieu observes occurring under the aegis of modern philosophy and politics. Montesquieu's judgment on the political dimensions of Christianity, especially in his own time, is not by any means simply negative. He celebrates those features of Christian belief that can be brought into harmony with the norms of his political science.

Keywords:   religious liberation, Christianity, despotism, prophetic vision, England

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