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Cain, Abel and Thomas Hobbes

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Abstract:



This essay argues that Hobbes's use of the account of Cain and Abel in defence of his war of all against all in the Latin version of Leviathan is an example of his rhetorical use of scripture. It was intended to persuade his mainly Calvinist readership why the fear of God was not sufficient to maintain peace amongst human beings, and thus why they needed a common human power to maintain order. It was also an attack on the Schoolmen's and Patriarchalists' views of natural sociability and natural hierarchy. Finally, it indicates Hobbes's own knowledge of Augustinian and Reformed interpretations of Genesis.

Keywords: Abel; Augustine; Cain; Calvin; God; Hobbes; Latin Leviathan; Luther; equality; protestant; quarrel; reformed theology; rhetoric; scripture; state of nature; war of all against all

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: thorntonhc@hotmail.com

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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