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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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The Theological Significance of Despotism

The Theological Significance of Despotism

(p.28) Chapter Two The Theological Significance of Despotism
The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu's “Spirit of the Laws”
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on Montesquieu's views on despotism, describing his bizarre characterization of its “nature.” It assembles the pieces to put together Montesquieu's implicit teaching on how exactly he thinks his political science intelligibly explains the genesis of the imagined experience of a legislating and demanding God such as we find in the Bible. The chapter considers interpretative observations on the history of Islam that indicate how Montesquieu explained the origin of Christianity's great rival, followed by a discussion of his thematic treatment of Christianity in all its forms, both Protestant and Catholic.

Keywords:   Montesquieu, despotism, political science, God, Bible, Islam, Christianity

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