What Would Plato Have Said About The Election Of Trump.



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Jackson ,”i’tat,’ Universi()’

T he classical parndigm or politic,11 thought consisting or Greek and Rumun, us well as C”.trly Christian, philosophers is distinct from lntcr philmmphieul erus because or its co111munita1fo11 pcrspcc· tivc of the stute and trunsccndcnl source uf cthil.’.s and morality. Writers in this paradigm mguc that the stale and political sneicty arc nccci.sary rm the full llevdop1m.:11l of the individual. For irrntann\ Plnlll perceives that the statL’ can help men achieve thL’ virtuous lifo. As with /\rii;totk, this llH.!,lllS that justice and virtue exist rn1ly when individ- uals arc J’ulli I ling the societal mlc li.,r whid1 they an.: best m1itcd; 1hr Plato in the R<·1mhlic. this occurs,, hcn th1..· stall.’ assists in such placement. Aristotle also a:;scrts that thl.’ state aids in this development through thl! cnli.11·1.’.clllt:nl or laws. By being forced to behave legally, pcnplc hccom~· lrnbitually virtuous. Many or these hclicls and value::; ,ll’t’ :mstaincd thrnughout the Christian phu.sc or the classical era; for .such key Catholic writers as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the stntc ads in cm\junction with the chun.:h l’or the purpose or snnclilying a sinllil and fallen humanity. The slate forces the Christian tn curb un inher- ent .sinful nmure and rest content until the Kingdom of God is fulfi[[ed, even if this c,mtrol rec1uircs the cucrdon ofthc heretical into orthodux belief: For clussical thinkers, the individual can be fulfilled only witltin the context or 11 community.

A second characteristic of the classical paradigm is a shared belief in the transcend ency of morals, or a :,;ense tlf

11utur11/ Ian~ overriding the uuthmily or pmdlivc lnw (sl,Ullh:s :md polici!.!S passed by the !,!.OVCl’lllncnt) and tl1e duims nr the stutc. Althoui:th lhL~rc is .1 great diffen.:ncc in bclierrcganli11!,l: l’rnm whence such values derive, for these philusnphcrs values cmerµc frnm an 1.•xtcrior lbrcc. For Plato. tlw source nf ethics i:. to he found in the Fmms, mu! th1..• Furms arc accc-ssed thrnuµh philosophy and the philoi;npher\ ability tu reason, :-uhst·q11ently lending soci- i:ty 1n u11dcrs1u11d und pursue thesL’ ah:;olutcs. Aristotle alsn views th<.~ hmns as thL’ ideal and csseneL’ ol’morals, vulucs. and elhil’s; he, howcwt·, dues nut hcliL’ve that they arc ohl,1i11cd thniuv.h philosophy practit:ul wisdom is the best means of irnpk1111mli11g them. Both Augustine and ,·\qumas pt•n.:civc that u·.111sce1nk’n1 cthks arc bused in God as rcvl.’aled thrnuµh the I Joly Scriptur~·s; however, they tuo di ffcr .i~ lu how humaw, may mcail thcrnsch,cs of thi:se truth:;. Augustine cmphasi1es the 111irndc of l’~~vclation, whcn:a:; Aq11in:1s places a centrnl ltll’tts nn the human capadty to rcustm.

During the mcdicval era, u transition m:eurs bolh in the mlc \ll’ the slt111.: and in in(lividuuls’ relation to ii, tis well us in pcn.:cptiunl> regarding the ucccssihility ul’ lnmsc1.mdenl mnruls. One response to this p.irmligm wus unabashed sec- uhirism. such as found in :mme of the work of”Mm:hiavelli. In tl1e writings of both John of Saliiibury 1md Mnrsilio de Pathm, the rnle of the st11te transforms from tme of sancti- fying and making people more virtuous t<i the simpler role of maintaining societal order. A seconcl churacterislic of





this transition is found in the debate over :~e sourc~ of . d 1 . Whereas for the more trad1t1onal wnters ethics an va ues. . d

of the time this source remains finnly centered rn God an the interpretation of these valu~s is _secure. in the hand ?f the Church, the little indiv1duahsm d1scoverab~e m

t. d Aquinas regarding freedom of conscience Augus me an . · f . . I The authoritarian state of the medieval era is m-vams 1es. · d ·

ther strengthened by this power of interpretation an i:s legitimization by God. Machiav:lli, in T~~ Prince, als~ _is a part of this strong authoritanan tradition:_ Power still resides in the ruler to maintain order in society, and the ruler continues as the purveyor of law and ~thics. .

The source for the demise for the medieval paradigm was the same impetus that led to the creation of the vie~s of the Reformation-both serving as transitions to the hb- eral political paradigm. A primary inspiration for this va.st change was the writings of Martin Luther; alt!1o~g~ Ma~tm Luther did not directly apply his notions of md1v1duahs111 to the state-he did not believe Christians needed a state but merely obeyed the secular state for the sake of unbe- lievers in the community-his work is applied directly to politics by another reformer, John Calvin. Luther cha:- lenges the authoritarian medieval paradigm through lus argument for the priesthood of believers. Individuals, he contends, do not need the intervention of the Church in the relationship between individuals and God. People can gov- ern themselves in their spiritual relationship without requiring an intercessor. Calvin applies this belief in his Institutes of the Christian Religion in an effort to return to some of the elements of tl1e classical paradigm. The state and its laws still provide for the virtue and needs of humans for sanctification; however, instead of the philoso- phers, Church, or society interpreting ethies and morals, individuals can interpret these elements for themselves. These values are then made manifest through the congre- gational rule of the Church, and the Church implements and enforces these rules through the state.

This Reformation paradigm differed from the medieval view primarily because of its emphasis on the importance and role of the individual in society; although stability and order are still impo1tant, these roles do not predominate over other functions of the state. The latter half of the Reformation paradigm is the transition from the Christian theocracy of Calvin and others to the beginning of the sec- ular liberal state. The writings of both Jean Bodin and Richard Hooker illustrate this transition. The source of morals and ethics still derives from the transcendent sources of the Christian faith; however, society is not assumed to be inherently a Christian one. A primary reason for this change in perspective is found in the fact that the Roman church no longer had religious supremacy. The less centrally controlled Protestant church challenged the per- spectives of the Catholic state and frequently struggled for control of the throne, as in the kingdoms of England and Scotland. With the emergence of the Calvinist Huguenots in France and the Anabaptists, who explicitly avoided

t . >li’lics temHms rdipirn1~ ct1mhhm1m engagemen 111 pc · ‘ . . . .. . , .. ·. •I d. , t t I l ll1e bloody rcltµwus \\ar., \t!lllTJlt’lh •… .:~ ism ·egrn ec , am The necessity of religious tokratinn hei.:ame it k{!’!t c,m.,11:m of philosophers; Wilh lhc new world l.'<lllllllllm!y dci.dnpUl!,t through colonization, a new philos’.iphy ‘ 11 ~·t<.’.nn~ aml new religious and rolith:til urgu1111at11111s emcr11i’.d.

The resulting libcml paradigm cmphais.1/t: .. thi: rrmttf~, zation of individual rights twer the dn~si,nl 1>arndi~m’ comnmnituriun needs. Thonmi; I tohl11.::,;, folm 1 ‘.”-Ji(. lci~re Jacques Rousseau. and John Stuar1 Mill ,di 111 u1h1 r,u,. paradigm becau:,;c lhcy conem tlrn! the rnlc nl rht: ~1.die i”‘ to protect individual rights and lil;c111e, ,mil lh<“\ h.’h,,~i.c that sovereignty is inherently lo~·att·tl 111 fht• h(:<, m;tl,r, property-holding cilizcn and r11.:m1ane111I~ n:dcd •1t. f(;”m, porarily loaned to the slate.< iml. in this\\ mhh, ,,:,,., \l,t,:if,;,I government to ensure natural riv.hes 111’ lint 1111!1\ 1,itrnl. t•nl does not pluce sovereignly ,lircl.’11> in lhc h,mil” 1•1 th(: state. The contributions of ( ‘hrbti.tn th1111pl11 1111! 1101 1 with the demise or the mcdk\·,11 and Hl’!nrm,1ru,11 l:’t,i;,,, 1l is clear that elements orthe ( ‘hl’isr1m11wr,pt•1:11u: ,11, philosophy have inllucm:cd pt1lili~al 1hmkm}:, . 1,lirh with the framing O j’ !hl’ 20tlH:ClllUf) l’\[lt\”•’1,111~ ut e;; $\ disobedience and i11 the untirnlnni,d1,1 d1alktt)-W’• ,,1 ation theology.

Christianity’s Emergence in tf!e .. . Political Thought of the Class1c\,I \Vor1d

The famed historian of pulilll.’,tl 1hu11~:h1 t (1961) has noted lhc fol lowin):!:

[The] rise ol’the C’hris1ia11 dnm:h ,.,. ,1 ,h,11911′.I tied to govern the spiritual l’11nn:m, ,,t 111;11d,11111I ‘” dcnce or the ,lute m;iy nnl 1mt(:,1,;i11,1hh f,.,,, lk,, most rcvolulionary ewnl III th~· h,..,r .. n 1,1 ,~nkm respect 10 politics aml Ill p,11IH1.:al plul,•wrh, ii’

While Christianity nnd du:,;i.kal lhim.m some busic similaritic:; in their .i:-,~:rinm” ,,1 n,11.m:1! human equalily, uml lhc 11c~·css1ty for 111,.h(~, ences cnsure<l that they would I.’\ ~·nttrnll} ,;.1nth~ t

First, Christianity makcs u dmm uf ci,:,1m,i1n,.,, is broader than the Roman as.s1.•rhun uf 1t,w11hai equality. Accor<ling to the Apostle P.iul. m <i11l11taan1; I ¥•,;. for Christians there could ht nu distml.’.tiun!’t t~t. … ~ i”4n nicity, the lack of a Jewish heritugc. u hi:hl.’\trf!< whether one wus enslaved or free • .Sl::\.:unJ. “”‘•”n11,uu1,” the Christian Messiah, Jesus Chrisr. the Chni!.tuan il.u~it1’1Pl’i1 is not a physical kingdom but a sp1r1tu.al tmc «~, fat instance, John 18:36). For lhe Chrh,li1m, 1hr, divided loyalties that. are the soun:e of much or fk nal political thought emerging frcnn Christi1m.11y. instructs believing Christians in lhe Roman Hn~~ tri subject to their government, a.<i the Kini Jo:fflOI m:all!ll translates Romans 13: 1 ··’6:



Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be arc mdnim:d ot’ God. Whosoever therefore rcsistcth the power, rcsisll.:th the onli- nancc of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers arc not a tcrrnr tu good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of Lhc power’! Do thut which is good, and thou shalt have prnisc of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he hcarctl1 not the sword in vnin: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to exccuh.: wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs he subject, not only for w111th, but also 1hr conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they arc Clod’s ministers, attending crn1Linu- ally upon this very thing.

Christ, however, encourages his lhllowcrs tn give lo the political state what it requires while simultaneously remnining loyal to the demands of God. In Matthew 22: 17–21, debating with some of the Jewish leadership, Christ responds to the query, “Tell us thcrelbrc, What thinkest thou’! ls it lawful lo give Lrihutc unto CaC!illl’, or not?”

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me I.he tribute money.” And they brought unto him a penny. And lu: saith unto them. “Whose is this imugc and supcroi:ription’!” They say unto him, “Cncsar’s.” Then saith Ile unto them. “Render therefore unto Caesar the tl1ings which arc Caesar’s; und unto God the thini,ts thut arc Go<l ‘s.”

Unlike Roman philosophy, in which the gods expected citizens to owe loyalty to the Emperor, 1hr the Christian, it was only to the o !lice of the ruler thnt citizens owed al le· gianee, not to the specific individual. Allhough the ques- tion of obligatitin ttl an unjm;t ruler is not new ( i.:unsidcr, for inst1.1111.:c, the Greek playwright !’iurhocles and Antigone), this tension is embedded within C ‘llristianity. For the Christian, unlike the classical rr1gan. this r1:ligion has a higher calling on the individual than merely living a virtuous life as u eitizcn of the state. In fact. C’hristmnity places a calling on un individual’s lifo more powerful than merely the duty of civic obedience, denmndinl,! commit- ments rrom the individuul that no cai1hly :mvc1·cign can eradicate. This tensitln crcatetl an inherent conllkt with the Roman Empire, resulting in persecution lll’ these dissi- dents. The attempted destmction or Christitmity in the latter part of the 3rd century wus justiticd. not hy Christianity’s religious competition with paganism, but by its alleged attempts “lo build up a state within a stutc, its boring from within every social class, and its gradual absorption of the Roman empire by infill ration and ideo- logical appeals without overt acts of force” (Ebenstein & Ebenstein, 2000, p. 182).

Christian persecution ended after the rule of the Emperor Diocleti!tn in 303-··305 CE; by 312 CE, the Emperor Constantine personally converted to Christianity. One year later, he endorsed the Edict of Milan, ending the

Cliristitw Political Thought • 579

persecution of Chri::;tiuns, guarnnteeing the freedom to pro- fess the faith without any fear of state involvement, and formally recognizing the Christian church. This edict resulted in n new political climate in which Roman rulers sought { ‘.hristian i;uprort for their policies. As a relatively newly institutionulizcd religion, Christianity experienced much internal tension over questions of doctrine aml creed. In 325 CE. the Council ot’Nicaca settled many ol’these pri- mary conflicts within Christianity. This determination idcntilicd which beliefs were to thereal1cr be classified as heresies and what schisms would emerge in the Church as a result of this delineatirn1 of orthodoxy. Although the ( ‘ounci I crn;urcd that ( ‘.hristinnily survived as a coherent set of belieis und docttines, it al1’li resulted in the persecution of many groups thal demurred to lhe 01thodox views ol’ ( ‘hrislianity; most pm1ieulurly, these controversial issues focused on ( ‘hristologJ: or the nuturc of the Christ. By 393 CE, the I :mpcmr Thcm.Josius had declared Christianity to be the lltlkiul rcli,gion orthe Roman Emnil’e, resulting in the birth of the I loly Romun Emrirc; hy 410 Cl•:, however, the Visigoths, under the lcatlcrship of King Alaric, invaded 1hr the third time, linally looting the riches of Rome.

Within the growing Chrisliun church were two chat. lenge~ lhnt required .iddrcssing. For muny citizens of the Rmnan Empire, cspccinlly those who worshipped the tra- dilimml gods, the loss of Roman control and mithority wus trnccahk 10 the usccnskm of Christianity with the Empire. In addition. nnce the C’nundl lll’ Nicuea lrnd cxrlicitly identified heresies and schisms, intense h!nsions divided those who lhlluwcd the now orthodox <.’hrisliunity und tlrnse whn rntuim:d beliefs now deemed hctcrotlox.

Augustine (354-430)

Augu~tinc, nne or many African bishops within lhe Roman Fmpin.:. addressed these intenml stres:mrs on the Christian Cl111rdL llis 111nst fomm1s hook, l’h’ira.1· /)cix, or City t?/’ c ,od. wt1s largely designed Ill demonstrate that Chrislianity wa:-. not rcsp1lllsihlc for the demise and invasion of RomC’. lnst.:,1d. he considers how hclic\’ers can live with the demands of the stllfc while simultaneously pursuing the rcquir.:mcnts or an obedient Christian lifo. Augustine’s philo:..uphy bridged dassicnl C ircck anti Rmmm thought with ( ‘hrislianity, particularly integrating Platonic thought :md values with a Christian wtirldview. More spccilicully, the Plallmic umh:r:-!mttling lll’ju~ticc wus immersed in the ideals and value:; or t’hristhrnity. Augustine believed that Platonk thought wus vel)’ similur lo the Christian con- :;truction llf the wurld although there were clear conflicts hctwl.’.’cn the two. In Augustine’s work, chtssical thought was trnn:;forrned.

I h1munit)”s rejection of Ood in favor or sci f is the key turning point for Augustine. The hadgc of sin cimicd by c\Jery newborn child -natural depravity means that the world is n sinful pince, existing outside of God’s original




plan; consequently, the ideals of justice cannot be realized on earth. Each person must make a personal decision in response to the reality of original sin. Based on this choice, Augustine divides the citizenry into two groups-those who choose to live in the City of God and those who select the City of Man. Although they are not physical cities and although no one can ever know with certainty where any individual truly resides, these demarcations indicate that people in a sinful world will choose to place their alle- giance and priorities either in loving and serving God or in loving and serving themselves. Physical membership in the Church, according to Augustine, is not an accurate indicator of true citizenship. Augustine argues that while ideally an earthly ruler will be a denizen of the City of God, realistically most monarchs will be citizens of the City of Man, even if they claim otherwise. The only way to potentially uncover where a person has chosen to place his or her values is by watching how the person lives, and even then an observer might be inaccurate. This under- standing that true Christianity is purely internal would later resonate throughout the Reformation.

Arlene Saxonhouse (1985) notes that because in the City of Man the body, not the spirit, is dominant, women, as others who are politically oppressed, are inferior. In the City of God, woman can be equal-her soul is equal to man’s because both have a direct relationship with God. The City of God removes the need for women to perform within the context of the family, allowing for a more true equality. But in Augustinian thought, this equality was in existence only in the City of God, not in the City of Man. Similarly, slavery is a consequence of the sinful world, not a natural phenomenon constructed by God. For the vast majority of classical and medieval philosophers, women, slaves, foreigners, children, and servants are dependents entrusted to the “citizen” to be protected and used. Therefore, with a few exceptions, as in Augustine’s City of God, they were not considered to be theologically or politically rele- . vant to these philosophical paradigms.

Because of humanity’s fall from God’s grace and humans’ natural depravity, in which humans reject God’s will and embrace their own, Augustinian thought asserts that individuals are wholly incompetent at governing themselves. The only hope of lrnman freedom is found through service to God, manifested imperfectly on Earth through the Church. Consequently, believers require guidance to help them remain obedient to God’s com- mandments, which are paiiially communicated through the Church and the Scriptures. According to Augustine, God uses the state to compel obedience. The form of gov- ernance is irrelevant; obedience is due to any earthly gov- ernment because God makes humm1 beings dependent on both the Clrnrch and the state. The function of the state is to provide social peace, albeit one that is imperfect and temporary, because the service and obedience required by God are possible only in an ordered and peaceful society. The state protects humans from themselves and assists in

their sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ) and moral maturity. Justice, however, is impossi- ble to achieve on Earth; peace and stability arc the best for which we can hope. For Augustine, compelled obedi- ence also helps the heretical become more orlhodox. Because God is the source of all truth, renlity, und moral- ity, God’s will is best relayed to the people through the.: Church and, when the state is obedient to God’s com- mands, communicated through the state. When lhe Church is obedient, compelling citizens to be obedient lo the Church and state, citizens must obey both. But even if the state is disobedient to the rnlc of the Church and to the commandments of God, believers cannot deny the authority of the state. lf Christians are co111nu11Hkd lo go against the word of God, however, they should bl! willing to die as martyrs to the faith rather than he suhve.:rsive to the state. For Augustine, good, obedient citizens (ortho- dox Christians) have nothing to fear from the stale and therefore no reason to rebel. The state is used by Ciod lt1 aid in the growth and sanctification ol’ the good. punish the evil into reformation or destruction, and move the heretical into orthodoxy. This is one or the earliest stntc- ments, endorsed by the Roman Church, as Lo 1he proper relationship between Church and state.

John of Salisbury (1115/1120-1180)

Near the end of the 5th century, Pope Gclasius I dclincd the frequently contested relationship between the cccbi· astical power of the Church and the scculur power or 1hc state in a manner that would be later described us the MIi swords formulation. Although Christ is both lhe princ.:- and the pope, according to Gclasius I, Christ divi<lctl thc~c offices to protect humanity from ilscll~ giving to the Church the responsibility of the spiritual welfare of thc people and to the state the administration of secular puli· tics. Both rulers derive their authority directly from Ot1d . yet according to this model, each of’ficc is independent and sovereign in its own realm. By the 12th century, this Cllllfl· erative model would be strongly challenged by lhl! papal authorities in the Church, who argued that God had gi\’ell all earthly authority to the Church, which then delegate~ political power to the state.

John of Salisbury provides a typical medieval articula- tion of this papal position and is one of the curliest attempts at a coherent political theory in the Middle Ages prior to the Western rediscovery of Aristotle’s scientilic writings in the 13th century. In his work Policmftls ( The Statesman :S· Book), John of Salisbury constructs a sophisti- cated comparison of the physical body to the republic. in which the different elements of society are identified as equivalent to the body politic. For instance, the military serves as the hands of the body, while the bureaucratic agencies act as the internal organs. The Church is the soul of the body or of the republic-not separate from it. It is



the Church that provides the sword to lhc prince, with the caveat that the Prince not exploit or destroy the clergy. The purpose of the state is to protect the Church and clergy from injury both from itself and from the state and to main- tain order within the people. God grunted power lo the Church, which then delegates physical authority to the state, which must remain responsible to the Church. This does not mean that the papal authority has a veto over the choices of the prince, nor docs it require 1hat the Chmch control the state, but it docs require that a governmental statute or ruling he nullific<l ii’ it conflicts with the teach- ings of the Roman Church.

A second theme in the Policratus ili John of Snlisbury’s recognition of the potential for ubu:,;c by wielders or both swords and the evidence or said abuse in the clintcmpornry Ronum Church. Because he had much practical experience in politics, including serving as secretary of two Archbishops of Cuntcrbury and possibly witn!.!ssing the murder or Archbishop Thomas Beckel by King I Icnry 11 ‘s assassins, John of Salisbury understood the consc(JUcnees or thii; abuse. I 11 the Policrall/s, he accuses the Church of having greeJy prksls who exercise duplicity in their agcmlus. manifest a lm;t for power, and demonstrate a luck or com- passion for those who sullcr. Because or the eternal consc- quem:es of such abuse hy the ecclesiastical authority. he argues that a tyrant in the Church is worse tlmn a scculur tyrant of the state.

This work is probably hest known n,r its argument. unique in the M idllle Agcs and prescient or Jolrn Locke’s right to rehdlio11, lhat there can be legitimate grnunds for citizens to destroy a tyrant. For John or Salii.;hury. thcrc arc laws that even king:.; can become outlaws 1hr breaking; tyrannicide is acceptabl!.! when thc rukr violates ccrlain luws, partkularly thoi.;c regarding the authority 111′ th«: Church. Tlll!l’C is a rnulli:11 obligation tn law binding thc ruler and the ruled, so that the distinction hl.’lwccn kgili- mate ruler and lyrnnt is essential. Althnugh tyrannkidc is permissible, it is essential that thc dti.len pt1rsuinµ the deed distinguish between the appropriatc consequences for crimes and vkl!s, that tyrannicide nnl be cmnmith:tl hy someone who has made a sacrcd lllllh Ill uphold the rulcr. that the citizen respect thc bihlicul i11j1111dim1 against plli- son, aml thal the citizen realize thal tyrant:.; can hc used by God to punish tlwsc who arc cvil and to discipline the good. John of Salisb111y was iinc uf the fow Roman Church m1thori.; who lcgilimuk the dispwml llf (iod’s ordained, even tlmugh he limits this remedy tn specilic circumstnncci.;.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

While Augustine is understood as integrnting dussical Greek and Roman thought into Christiunity and in particu- lar connecting Platonic thoughts and values with a Christian worldview, Thomas Aquinas is recognized for

Cl1ristia11 Pt>lilical T/Jougl,t • 581

applying Aristoteliun logic und systemic thinking to Christian doctrine. 1 n Christian po Ii ti cal thought, only Aquinas parallels the impact of Augustine, both integrating classical thought into Christian theology. As famously stated by William and Alun Ebenstein (2000), “To be born, the Church needed Plato. To lai.;l, it needed Aristotle” (p. 222). Initially understood through early Arabic and Jewish com- mentaries, Aristotle’s Politic.,· aml Ethics were translated from Lalin into Greek during Aquinas’s lifetime. Aristotle’s i.;cicntilic writings had a trcmcmlmrn impact on metlicvul pol itieal thought. Many Christians, us Jewish thi nkcrs hud done centuries earlier, attempted to fit Aristotelian thought into a holistic synthesis of scientific and theological umlcrstanding. ln Lhis process of synthesis, however, Aristotle is rcintcrr,rctcd and transformed. Writing in the midst of the rediscovery of Aristotle and the debates over the rnlc ol’ medieval law, Aquinas mediates hclwccn the Aristotcliun prcsumrtion that hu111un reason cnn help ohtain justice uml the Church’s assertion that the basis of right is custom and trm.Jition. Aquinas tries to inte- grate both c111>tom ,rnd rcai.;on, legitimizing both king and pope. The king cun rule, but m1ly where law is supreme t1nd the King pursu,,$ justice. The Arislotcliun !’unction argument remains in Timmis! thought (as thu philosophy 0J’Tho11m:,; Aquinas is generally rdcn!necd) happiness is thi.: end {meaning purpose) of the slate, if’ ull fi.lllill their societal roles autl poi.;itions. when this i:,; achieved and the king is sulmnlinutc to both the Chun.:h und (iml, Aquinas hdicvcs justice may exist. While Aquinus generally holds tu < iclasi,ln 11.ssumptiuns rcgartling the dual authorities of ( ‘hurch and stutc under tile two-sword theory, he asserts that under spcdlk contlitions, lhc Churd1 can remove a pri111.·e and rclcas~· citi1cns from their pulitkal oblignlions 111 Ilic rukr. The primary puliticul works in which this ;malysis is dcvclopcd arc 011 l’ri11l’d1· Uol’trmm.•111, ()(the Ci1H'(‘l’l/1utc1• o(J’ri11n•.\’, uml O{ Rul1·r.\·hip (also ktmwn as 011 Aing.\liiJI, whkh has hccn histmical ly LIUeslioni.:d as to its authentil:ily ).

l’hc S11m11m T/1c11logica is th1: hcsl example or Aqurnm, \ atlcmpl lo fully integratc thc competing daims of faith Lkt111mstrak·d hy thc Rn111,1n ( ‘l1tm.·h ‘s theologi- cal 1luc1nnc anll rcasnn hc:,.t ar1ii.:11la1cd hy Arisloldian thnughl. hir Aquinas, faith and ,·”·aslm hnth derive frllm ( ind. and thus they can ncvl’r trnly h~· in conllid; faith, lwwc\·cr, is a dircd communi,.:atinn fmm 0ml und is thercfon.• closer to tntth. fa1d1 :-:c~·tiun nr this massive work is prcscnted in a p.irallcl slructmc hcginning with a i1ucstiun under cuntcmpurnry thcoluPskul discussion, lhl- lowcd hy .. ohjccliuns” rellccting the relevant cmmcous unswcrs to the question. Aquinus then provides lhe doctri- nally l’\HTCl.’.I unswcr tn the qut:stion. gcncmHy supported by quotutions from :mch uuthoritutivc sources us the Bible. Allditiomd supportive cvidem;c is included, 11nd each numbered section concludes with a specific response to e11ch ufthe original objections demonslmting iL’i l’hllacies. The Summa Tluwfogica prnvides definitive doctrinal




answers to the key questions of the day; although alternative positions are evaluated, reason, supported by faith, reveals the truth. The Roman Church later adopted this massive tome as the authoritative statement of Church doctrine, used to teach young ordinands as they entered the priesthood.

Unlike Augustine, in Thomist thought the individual Christian can seek justice in both this world and the next. Obedience to authority is a virtue; a temporal ruler can legitimately expect the people to obey him; and through this obedience, citizens exchange their skills and talents for security and peace. So while an individual requires a state and is subordinate to it, the individual can expect something in return-security, peace, and, ideally, justice. Contrary to Augustinian thought, the function of govern- ment is to create a more just, secure society in which peo- ple can find happiness; justice is defined as individuals’ receiving their due by virtue of their contributions to soci- ety. According to Saxonhouse (1985), Aquinas believes that hierarchy is a reflection of the eternal order among humans. Kingship is always the best patt of government; thus the subordination of the female is part of the order of nature as well. While for Augustine this oppression, like slavery, demonstrates the inadequacies of a com1pt world, for Aquinas it is simply part of the natural world ordered by God.

To prevent tyranny, Aquinas believes, the ruler must govern within the constraints of the law. Consequently, a role of the Church is to remind the ruler of his limitations through the threat of excommunication-for, consistent with the Roman philosopher Cicero, without law, there is no justice. The mler has the right to expect people to obey him because within obedience to the law, they can expect an imperfect justice. Custom and tradition, however, are subject to criticism through the God-granted facility of reason; if the customs and traditions are unreasonable, they can be questioned and rejected. This freedom to question and challenge marks the early origins of a liberal view of individualism. Although Aquinas recognizes the dangers of tyranny, Thomist thought reflects the assumption that revolution in response to tyranny can result in worse abuses. For this reason, as well as tl1e ruler’s direct appointment by God, Aquinas rejects John of Salisbury’s endorsement of tyrannicide.

For Aquinas, law has multiple manifestations. Because laws emanate from God, tl1ey are rooted in the universal and are applicable to all cultures, across time and circum- stances. In Thomist thought, there are four types of law: the eternal law of God revealed in the universe, the divine law of God communicated through the Scriptures and the edicts of the Church, the natural law of God understood through the experiences and realities of humanity, and the human law through which eternal values and expectations are translated into legislation. For Aquinas, the key elements of natural law are (a) natural inclinations such as self- preservation, (b) engrained instincts such as procreation

and the education of children, and ( c) the internal propulsion of human beings to reason, toward knowing God and His truth, as well as to life in community. This formulation or natural law remained constant throughout the European Enlightenment.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Similar to Machiavelli, albeit born 200 years cnrlicr, Dante Alighieri lived in Italy as the numerous Italian stales hut- tied for dominance. As feudal society transitioned lo a world of independent cities, the Church began losing Cllll· trol over local governance; it is not surprising that philwm· phers and scholars would seek belter, more constant limns of governing. Although his Divine Comec(v is better known, Dante’s De Monarchia (circa 1310) is understood to be one of the most important challenges to centrnlizcd papal powers in the Middle Ages. His work is inlcrprctctl as a unique combination of both Augustinian and Thomisli Aristotelian thought.

Dante makes three primmy arguments in Oe Mo11ard1it1. all regarding the proper governance of society un<l the ensured thriving of humanity through sustained political associations. In the first portion of his work, Dante argues that in order to have the uninterrupted peace necessary f’or humanity to develop to its full potential, n uniwrsal monar- chy is required. Unity is essential to guarantee that stales can resolve their disputes without resorting lo wur. A monarch can best secure the freedom nccessmy ror indi· vidual and communal development. For Duntc, lu1wcvcr, this monarch would resolve only matters that require u common rule; most issues would be reserved for the sover- eignty of the local state or community traditions. There is some debate over whether Dante intended to advocate for a worldwide monarch (Ebenstein & Ebenstein. 2000) or sim· ply to unify Italy (d’Entreves, 1952).

In his second argument, Dante recommends that the nature of this universal government should be Rrnmm because the Roman Empire acquired its dmninution n!’ the world through natural right and its divine appointment by God, ruled based on law, achieved the common guml fur all, and ensured peace with liberty. It is this combination of peace and liberty that Dante believes will ensure human society can fulfill its potential. His linal argument addresses the appropriate relationship of the Church with the state. For Dante, unlike many of his compatriots. the authority of the emperor is delegated directly frnm Gml and is independent of the intermediary of the pope. As a human is both an earthly and a spiritual being, possessing both sets of attributes, governing bodies must have both essences. To have a blessed earthly life, reason and phi- losophy as articulated through human law can be pro- tected by an ordained emperor; to achieve the heavenly paradise, people must move beyond human reason to faith guided by the Church. By necessity, individuals need two



guides-the pope to lend the citizenry to etcrnnl Ii fo and the emperor to guarantee earthly happiness.

Marsilio de Padua (1275/1280-1342)

In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII (1294 1303) i:-.sued the papul bull Unam Sanctam, which stated that only the Christian Church provided the menus through which sulvation and the forgiveness of sins occur. This Church had two swon.ls–onc spiritual and one secular but “both swonls are in the power or the church, lhe on!.! by the Jmnd of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but ut the will and sulforancc of the priest.” l/1111111 Sa11ctcw1 noted that the highest temporal authority could be held account- able by the spiritual power ofthe Church hut that only <lod could judge the highest spiritual authodty th\! pnpc. /1. culmination of many bullies between secular rnlcrs and the Church, this papal bull resulted in outright and successful rebellions by such mona1·chs as England’s King Edward I and France’s King Philip IV.

Marsilic.1 de [ladua ‘s work, l)L’.fi•11.1·or /’ads ( rlie D£fe11der cftlH’ Peace), in 1324, is :,;ignitkanl he1:a11:,;c it makes a “positivistic separation of laws 11ml mornls, [eslablishcsj civil power on nonlrnnl’iccndcnt grounds, and [dcpositsj political uuthorily in the p1:oplc as a whole” (McDonald, 1968, p. 176). This work marked the begin- ning or the secularization of the state, in whkh cili1cns not Ootl urc the suurce of’ governing lcgitinrney; this mow tow,ml thc modern conccptimt or tl1c scculur stat\! is often allributed to Machi.tvelli but is trn1:cuhlc to Mursilio. Explicitly building on an Aristotelian l’.Olllpre- hension or the origin and rn!c or the stale, Marsilio is led to u conclusion different l’rom Aquinas’s reganling th1: authority or the Church, although all three philosophers conclude lhut lhc role or the slate is Lo pnwidc the 1wud lil’e. This “good lit’c” has two co111p11ncnts for tv1ar:;iliP: lhL: use or philosophy via reason lo secure tile µullll Ii re temporally and lo use n:vclation vi,1 faith to h,IH’ rlu .. • !,!oml lite in the cternal realm. Con:,;cquently, lib.e Danh:, there 1s u need 1hr both civil and religious government. The citi · :t.Clll)’ grants authority for this dvil guvcmmenl, :md nwny commentator:-; tbut not all; sec Strnus~. 1987, p. 21-M) p~·r- ecivc this idea as un explicit statement of popular son-r- cignly, albeit with llic exdusion of women. d1iltlrcn. foreigners, and slaves. The common will of the petiplc is the source or political authority, and this will is knuv.·n as the Lc!gislatm: The agent ol’the Legislutur the ruler is the executive of the govcmmcnt. ln M.ursiliun thought. this niter is an clcctc<l 111onureh. ullhough not inherently an individual. Although there may he divine law. it is human or positive law that possesses legitimm.:y. Divine und human law arc distinguished from each other by the nature of their penalties when they arc trespussed; if penalties are eternal, such laws cannot be enfbrcet.l on Earlh, and if laws are temporul, all ure accountable to

Cltristia11 Political Thoug/,t • 583

them, including king and priest. If the king violates the laws, the Legislator (corporate citizenry) is able to hold the King accountable, us with nny citizen. In making this distinction between human un<l divine law, Mursilio de Pa(lua allacks papal power and argues that the Church 1mrnt he subject to secular judges. lie removes all coercive power from the lmntls of thL: Church, not, as some assert, to allow li.1r religious freedom, but to clearly distinguish enforceable positive law from the divine law !’ealized only hy (iod.

Marsiliun thought is nt1l a devaluation of religion or Christianity. Ma!’silio urgues that the uctivity of the Christian priest is the most noble acl of any believer, hut Marsilio also arliculntcs concerns regarding the corrupting inlluence of the power or coercion on the Church. By destroying ecclesiastical hierarchy, flnding rn1 authority for this power in the !-;eriptures, Marsilio places the individual priest aml the c11rporntc body of the Church under the authority or the state, just as every other individual and corporation is under its authmity. This destruction of papal imperialism and the dmllenge lo Chlll’eh corruption antic- ipate the conccms of the Rcl’onnntion.

Martin Luther (1403-1546)

The cunciliar movement was an attempt by the Roman t ‘hun.:h to address its widely perceived corruption by giving dci:ision power rreviuusly assigned solely to the po(le ln niuncils thul hml authority to reform Church strudurc. Two councils were convened Constance during the 111.:riml 1 ·114 tu 141 H and Basel from 1431 to l 439 hut 11cither was ctl’ecliw in advancing systemic ehungc. When the L’cclcsi:1stic,tl structure was unahlc to reform it:-.dr. a rcvol1 lhm1 the 111c111hership or the Roman Clturch was im:vitahle. While Marlin Luther was neither the first nm the lasl lo mhul·.ttt: theological ,md political rcfomi, lw was the mnst i11t11J1:Iltinl in hoth instigating and l’ulnlling the JlmlL•slunt Reformation. llis famed dcc- lar.1tiun in the Nincty-+in: Theses ( 1517) was his initial attad .. on papal indulgences. wbid1 he untl others hclic\ cd had corrupted the t ‘hun:h hoth theologically and politically. This sy:;tcm or indulgences instilled hy cle- mcnls 1tf the \Vcskm t ‘hmch had guaranteed salvatim1 Lo thnsc wh11 cuuld .ilfonl it. while enriching the priesthood aml impoverishing many hclicvcrs. The Protestant Rcl’urmation drew heavily on the theological arguments initi.illy made hy Augustine in the 5th 1.:cntury, ehullenging the Roman ( ‘hurd1’:,, nm1·c recent reliunce on Aristotelian lhtmghl.

Luther’s primary political works are ‘fr,•atisa 011 C ‘hl’htimt Uber(\’ { 1520) and St1c1dar Alllhorily: Tv What Extt•lll lt Should Be Ohert•d (1523 ). Luther’s religiuus and political t:ont1·ihulio11s arc parallel: Individuals c.a11 under- stand God’s word direclly in an unmediuted relationship. lnsteud of the Jaity requiring a dedicnted priesthood to




intervene with God, Martin Luther argued for a “priest- hood of all believers.” Embedded within this schema is a notion of basic equality of all believers as Christians, but as with Augustine, this equality does not translate into a temporal format. Neither the Church nor the state is required to intervene within the relationship between humans and God. As a corollary, because faith is inher- ently personal and internal, true belief can never be coerced, only right behavior. Despite the claims of the Aristotelians, believers should not seek religious truth through reason-although individuals have the capacity to reason-but through tl1eir capacity for belief.

The question of the best form of government is mostly irrelevant to Luther, because God provides government for the guidance of the sinful person. Luther appears to sup- port a monarchy above other forms because he fears any form of democracy would inevitably result in mob rule and control by the wicked. Christians themselves need no laws because they are governed directly by God; however, they obey and support government for the sake of their nonbe- lieving 11eighbors. In the works of Martin Luther, govern- ment is not religious in nature (unlike the perspective of John Calvin), and Luther does not perceive a Christian state to be feasible. Following Augustinian thought, government is ordained for a sinful world; therefore, a Christian government is impossible because evil always outweighs the good in the temporal sphere. The purpose of the government is to provide order, and therefore earthly justice should not be expected. While God has ordained two kingdoms, one religious and one temporal, they must be independent of one another. Luther’s key concern is that preaching of the Scripture, offering of the sacraments, and interpreting of doctrine are protected from the power of the state.

God is the source of all ethics and morality, and his will is directly revealed to individuals through faith; this is a process entirely separate from governance. While there is no right to rebellion, the believer does have a right of passive resistance. The individual does not have to obey despite conscience or faith’s dictates; there is no personal necessity to follow an evil ruler’s wrong edicts or to embark on an unjust war. But, for Luther, this view does not legitimate any form of organized resistance. It allows only for passive resistance, a personal response to evil iule. ln fact, as Luther’s thought developed, his atti- tude toward dissenters and rebels hardened. In 1525, for instance, the German peasants who had been heavily oppressed both politically and economically took Luther’s religious theories quite literally and revolted. Luther immediately supported the princes in brutally crushing rebellion. Although he recognized the unfair- ness of the policies that l1ad been enforced by those in power and that had informed the revolt, for Luther obe- dience to rulers is still the duty of believers because, as he argues, the world is a wicked place and deserves such harsh governance.

John Calvin (1509-1564)

John Calvin was a French Protestant who moved to Switzerland, a newly Protestant country, because of rdi· gious oppression. There he wrote Institutes 1/( the Christian Religion (first edition, 1536) and governed Geneva (1536-1538 and 1541-1564) in an atlcmptto real- ize his perfect Christian society. The ideal government for Calvin is a theocracy; government is good, provided by God, and the state should support the Church. Obedience rendered to the state thereby equals obedience rendered to God. As with Luther, Calvin perceives two lypci; of government-the spiritual and the political–·tlrnt comple- ment and assist each other. His city of (Jeneva was lo install this new world order and provide moral guidance for citizens; consistent violators of this order were lo he expelled from the community. Geneva brought discipline to people displaced and excluded in the old system, thw; creating a larger, better functioning workforce.

Calvin asserts that the function of government is lo make people moral by providing order and justice to the larger civil society, believing that obedience to Ood’s law leads to justice among his people. Laws should nol neglect God, but the state’s primary function is to aid the Church by enforcing laws with the objective of making people virtuous. As with other Christian philosophers, Calvin understands that God’s will is revealed to those who have a direct relationship with him, but the Church cnuc.:ts God’s will through the enforcement of the state. Individuals ncetl to be protected from corrupt societies that avoid teaching morality or reject orienting their members into righl vnlucs; such societies need refonn.

For Calvin, the believer seeks success, which is dclincd as material benefits to be saved, not enjoyed. Such mone- tary savings are understood as a social resource, a founc.la· tion of the industrial revolution; this expected uu:-:tcrity is a virtue of self-control and prevents the rule of lu:-:t in Ilic life of the individual. Calvin is clear that the essence or the work ethic is found in the individual; like Aristotle, virtue is e11forced by the law, and people slowly become virtuous through habituation perpetuated by law. Thi:; value was possibly best exemplified in the culture or Gcnevu and in the Puritan societies in colonial Massachusetts, An immense debate exists in the literature over the rnle or Calvinism in the creation of modern capitalism (see Green, 1959; Weber, l 930) by its removal of then logical barriers to a capitalist system.

More than Martin Luther, Calvin recognizes that some resistance is acceptable in the case of tyranny. God is sovereign and will hear the cries of His people and deliver them by a savior. The purpose of the magistrates, for instance, is to check the power of rulers, and the magis- trates should exercise this authority. Lesser governmental officials have a duty to protect the political sphere from a tyrannical leader; their right to resist comes from God because the sovereign power is shared. In a good system of



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government, the prevention of tyranny should he auto- matic because authority is divided and there are automutk checks on the consolidation of power. While Calvin emphasizes obedience and not direct resistance, his l’ol- lowers transformed this reasoning. 11 uguenot interpreta- tion of a threud of Calvinist thought led to such essnys as A D,fense <?{ Liberty Against 1)wants ( 1579), published under the name of Stephen Junius Brutus, which justified a contractual understanding of government, popular sover- eignty, protection of property, uml the right of some resis- tance against tyrants. Similarly, John Knox rejected Calvin’s notion ol’ passive resistance, arguing to the Scottish Protestant church that it is the duty of ht:! ieven; to challenge and resist a king who behaves contrary to Ciod’s word and God’s glory.

Jean Bodin (1530-1596)

In his Six Books cl{‘the Co1111110mi'(‘alih ( 157(1 ), Jean llndin creates u modern notion both or the state uml ol’ sover- eignty. The family is the basis arnl thc llrigirt lll’ the state resulting in a strong distinction betw1;en puhlic authurity of sovereigns and private authority of heads of lmusehohk The ruler has heen granted absolute nnd pcrpetuul power under Gml and thereby hns an immense ohligution l\i serve him. Consequently, Bodin believe:,; Lhu! (!ivinc retribution will full on evil rulers. Sovereigns. however. do 1101 h.1,·e to be kings. They muy he either individual ur collective in their compositinn. While Bodin prefers a llHlntlrchy, Ile argues lhut legitimate sovereignty can he manill!sted in any form or government. The duty ol’thc state lws long been to protect prnperty: it is not viable for the modern stall’ to unily public and private liappincss hce,111sl’ the modem stnte is big, di\’crsc, plurnlistic, .1ml must be ruled hy ;1 dominant l’entral power. Bodin provides a mix 01′ thl’ old and the rnotkrn. but his w11rk. nwrk.s till’ c111l of thl’ ctllll’t.’pt of the unilkd Christian society. While he rcjcL’ts 11111d1 of Calvin’s aml Luther’s analysi:, reganlinµ the i111errclation° ship of( ‘hurdt nnd stale, he adv,llll.'”-‘S thl’ suppositillll that religious belief’ is a personal and not a puhlil: c:11m:e111 hy explicitly advocating religious llill’ram:e hy thl’ statL’.

Richard Hooker (1554-1600)

Like Bm.lin’s work, Richard Hooker’s 0/1/ic f,<m·s o{tlw Ecclesiastimf Polity is a link between the- medieval am! modern conceptions of government. !looker. although a Protestant, sti 11 values tradition. authority, gnud orJc-r, anti law but also m,milests u high degree of’ tolcrnnce for reli- gious dissent. The law of m1turc, however, requires tlmt people have some kind of government. or goveming strm:- ture. At mot, the government of the Church and the stale are one, but they are not contn)llcd by nn ull-powerfut authority. The sovereign, unlike for Bodin, is not the one

C/1ri~tim1 Political Tl1011gltt • 585

whose will becomes law, but instead the sovereign exists to enlbrcc preexisting law. The sovereign is the “King-in- Parliament,” not the king as an isolated, independent ruler. Monarchy is not an absolute form, but if a monarch rules and thi.; society is Christian, then the monarch must be Christian. Ethics and truth still are provided through natural law and God’s revelation through Scripture. Individuals, as in the view ol’ most of the medieval philosophers, arc still denied the right to resist tyrants hec;rnse ulthough tynmny is very destructive, anarchy is much wm:-.e.

Some Contemporary Manifestations

The conlcmponu·y impact of( ‘hrisliun political philosophy has hcen seen across !he political spectrum in Westem srn.:ictics. The vision ol’the Christian rceonstructionist who wishes hl return to 11 lilcml Old Testament legal system and the pel’spcctive or the Black Liberation theologian who views the New Tcslnmenl priorities of the Sermon on the Mouut as providing a :;ystemic definition of legal justice– both de-rive thdr impetus from the political philosophies of the past. Cuntcmporurily, there arc three political interpre- talitlllS that huvc hecn quite pcrvnsivc in Western thought: thc vision nfthe Anabaptists, civil tlisobcdiencc, and libcr- atitHl theology.


An atlditional n.:sponse lo the new lhc,ilogical and polit- kal ,1ssertion:,; or the Rcliirmntion is found in the develop- nh:nt ul’ Anabaptist communitit:s in which the response to a p~·rsnnal (iod central to the bclkver’s life is u rejection ,1r thl’ corrnpting inl1ul.’ncc nf politkal cngagl:ntcnt. Direct dc:,i:cndl.’nls fro111 lite radkal reformers oJ’ the Prntestunt 1en1tu1inn, i.:urr~·nt dcnominatio11s that derive their theo- h1µ11._·al slunecs from i\nahaptbt premises include the Amish. the Mennonite~. the Church o!’ the Brethren, and I lultcrill’S, Thi: term a11ahapt1\1 derives frnm the Greek ,1 urd that means rt’h11pri::t’. relkcting the 11111.lcrntunding of hapusm us a s;1cra111cnt in whid1 only hdicvcrs could pur- takl’ illld rejecting the pcr\’asivc ( ‘athnlic mid Protestant ;11:ccptallL’C of in font baptism. Although there ure great thc- ulogic:al dinercnl.’cs umtmg these cm111nu11itics, they also huhl :mmL~ hash: premises in crnrnnon, must clearly articu- lated in th\! Sd1lcitheim Articles of 1527. They arc gener- ally padli:-;tic, n:liising to hL•ar .irms ur to serve in the military. und hdicve in both nonviolence and nonrcsis- tum:c. Anaharitists cndors-: the strict scpamtion of church uml st:ltc hecuust~ lhcy do it.it bdicvc that the state cun supersede the requirements or God’s law nnd the church mu:st bc free to worship independent Qf’ stute regulations. To different degrees, Am1b11f1tist communities withdruw from the larger secular :mcicty in order to be more pure in their relationship to Clod.




Civil Disobedience

While civil disobedience certainly does not have its roots in the Christian Church, many of its practitioners have justified their participation within their Christian faith. Civil disobedience is an attempt to challenge the legitimacy of a country’s laws and practices without con- testing the legitimacy of the nation. By nonviolently dis- obeying laws and passively accepting governmental consequences, activists hope to call attention to the injus- tice of the policies they are challenging. Many practition- ers, such as Martin Luther King Jr., based their justification of this practice on the scriptural contention that humans are to obey God’s law and disobey human law when it is mtjust In his famed “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” King notes that he agrees with Augustine’s claim that an “u1tjust law is no law at all” and Aquinas’s distinction that “an u1tjust law is a human law that is not rooted in etemal law and natural law.”

Liberation Theology

Liberation theology emerged from impoverished colo- nized communities in Lalin AmericR and was built on such writings as Peruvian Roman Catholic theologian Gustavo Gutierrez’s Theology of Liberation (1971). It insists on the centrality of the praxis (practice) of Christianity. This perspective recognizes the challenging of oppressive polit- ical systems as central to the doctrine of Christianity, and it privileges the experiences and voices of the poor as the distinctive of the faith. Because a sinful world is the root cause of poverty, only through the institutional challenging of political and economic systemic oppression does the Church pursue God’s will in confronting and defeating sin. Godly practice requires that social policies grant preferen- tial treatment of the poor. Prior to ascending to the papacy as Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote a refutation of the aspects of liberation theology dependent on Marxist interpretation of history and economics and that are supportive of social revolutions. He noted that although critiques by liberation theologians of the history and theology of the Catholic Church were often accurate, solutions solely dependent on Marxist analysis border on the heretical and challenge orthodox thought. Despite these challenges, liberation theo\01,ry’s interpretation of Christianity has been incredibly influential, not only in Latin America but also in Asia and Africa, and particularly outside Latin America within Protestant denominations. In

North America, its offshoots include feminist liberation theology and Black liberation theology.

References and Further Readings

Bouwsma, W. ( 1988), Jolin Calvin: A six/t'(‘llth-c1•11tu1:i- portrait. London: Oxford University 1’1-css.

Cochrane, C. N. ( l 940). Christianity and classic·af c11fl11re: .4 stuc(v <~f’ tlwught and action .fhm1 A11gust11s to .-lugn~lilw. New York: Oxford University, Press.

Deane, 1-1. /\, ( l 966). Thr: po!itirnl ancl .w1cial id,•a.\· ‘!I’ Sailll Augustine. New York: Columbia Uniwr:;ily Press.

d’Entrevcs, /\. P. (1939). 711!’ mt’tlh•m/ co11trih111iu11 to political thought: Thoma.1· Aq11illas. Mar.~i/111.~ ,1{ />mltw, Richard Hooke1: London: Oxford University Press.

d’ Entrcves, /\. P. ( 1952). Dunt,• as pnlitimf th/11kt•1: 1.nndun: Oxford University l’re:;s.

Ebenstein, W., & Ebenstein, A. (2000). Um/J 110/itimi tlii11kt•r:.·: P/(l{o to the prt’.l’t’llf ( 6th cd. ). New Ymk: Thtimson Wadsworth.

Finnis, J. ( 1998). A1111i1111.1·: Soda/, lt>go{, 1111d polilicaf //,rm}: Oxford, lJK: Oxford Univer:;ity Press.

Green, R. W. (fa!.). ( 1959). Pn1t,wt1111tis111 1111d 1·1111itafism: 11,e Weber thesis awl its critic.I’. Btlston: D. { •. Ile.1th.

Gutierrez, G. ( 1971 ). A them:i· r,J’fiherathm: flistw:i: 1wlilic.1-, .w1/- 11atic111. Muryknoll, NY: Orbis.

King, M. L., Jr. ( 1964 ). Letter lrom a Bi111iinglu11n juil. In M. I. •. King Jr., Why we> can 1 wuit. New Ytirk: New American t .ihmry.

MacCullod1, D. (2005). The Rt:/iirmat/011: A hfatory. New York: Penguin Books.

McDonald, L. C. ( 1968). W1w1t•r11 political tht•1ir1·: :l11ci1•111 to medieval. New Ywk: I lareuurl Bruce Jtwunuvich.

O’Donovan, 0., & O’Donovan, J. L. <Etls.). ( JtN9). fhmi lrwwem to Umtius: A so11r,·1•ht1llk i11 c ‘hn~1i1111 rmlith·al 1/iougbt. Grand Rapids. Ml: Ecrtlmans.

Sabine, G. H. ( 1961 ). A ltisrw:r 11/’ politic11/ 1f11•11r1· (.1rJ ed.). New York: Holl, Rinehart & Winston.

Soxonhousc, A. W. ( I 985). Hf111w11 in tl1t· ftistmT II{ 11oli1imf 1!,011ght: A11ci1•11t (ht’l’ct’ Ill ,\.fachic11·c/li. New York: Prncgcr.

Strauss, L. ( 1987). Man,ilio de Padua. In I .. ~trmrns & J. ( ‘ropscy (Eds.), His1m:1· c!f’political plti/rJsophy (.\rd ct! .• pp. :.7r.. 2•)5). Chicugo: University or ( ‘hk:ago Press.

Thompson, C. ( 1984 ). 11,e political tlwuglit 11( MartilJ I.111/n·r: Brighton, Sussex, UK: llarwslcr Press.

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