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MALCOLM’S LEVIATHAN: HOBBES’S “THING”

  • JEFFREY COLLINS (a1)
Abstract

The publication of the Clarendon edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes recently entered its fourth decade. The monumental project has unfolded against shifting methodologies in the practice of intellectual history, and the edition's own history exemplifies these shifts. Its first general editor was Howard Warrender, who died in 1985 after a distinguished career as a professor of political theory at the University of Sheffield. Warrender was best known for the Political Philosophy of Hobbes: His Theory of Obligation. This influential book offered a deontological interpretation of Hobbes's theory of obligation, according to which the Hobbesian natural laws were to be understood as divine commands. Warrender's book appeared in 1957 and was resolutely textualist in its approach, exploring Hobbes's arguments in isolation and with considerable interpretive charity. His subject was the “theoretical basis” of Hobbes's writing, the importance of which might not be “historically conspicuous.”

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1 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Noel Malcolm, 3 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), vol. 1: Editorial Introduction; vol. 2: The English and Latin Texts (i); vol. 3: The English and Latin Texts (ii).

2 Warrender Howard, “Political Theory and Historiography: A Reply to Professor Skinner,” Historical Journal, 22/4 (1979), 931–40, 937.

3 Skinner Quentin, “The Ideological Context of Hobbes's Political Thought,” Historical Journal, 9/2 (1966), 286–317, 313–17.

4 Warrender, “Political Theory and Historiography,” 939.

5 See below.

6 The Political Works of James Harrington, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Cambridge, 1977).

7 Drummond H. J. H., “Hobbes’ Philosophicall Rudiments, 1651,” The Library, fifth series, 28 (1973), 54–6.

8 Goldsmith M. M., “Picturing Hobbes's Politics: The Illustrations to Philosophical Rudiments’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 44 (1981), 232–7; Tuck Richard, “Warrender's De cive,” Political Studies, 23/2 (1985), 308–15, 311.

9 Hobbes Thomas, De cive: English Version, ed. Warrender Howard (Oxford, 1983), 38, and Hobbes, De cive: Latin Version, ed. Warrender Howard (Oxford, 1983), 113.

10 Tuck, “Warrender's De cive,” 312–15; Tuck, Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development (Cambridge, 1979), 120, 130–31.

11 Malcolm Noel, “Citizen Hobbes,” London Review of Books, 19 (1984), 22.

12 Hobbes Thomas, On the Citizen, ed. Tuck Richard and Silverthorne Michael (Cambridge, 1998), xxxvi; see also Milton P., “Did Hobbes Translate De cive?”, History of Political Thought, 11/4 (1990), 627–38.

13 In the front pages of Hobbes's correspondence, the ‘English’ De cive remained listed as volume 2 of the Clarendon edition. As late as 2010, in Paul Seaward's edition of Behemoth (volume 10 in the Clarendon edition), this remained the case. In the new Clarendon Leviathan, however, it has been jettisoned without fanfare. De cive occupies volume 2 alone, without mention of an “English” version. Hobbes's early “Elements of Law” is now planned for volume 1.

14 Malcolm and Mikko Tolonen, “The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes: Some New Items,” Historical Journal, 51/2 (2008), 481–95, 481–95; see also Jeffrey Collins, “Christian Ecclesiology and the Composition of Leviathan: An Unknown Letter to Thomas Hobbes,” Historical Journal, 43/1 (2000), 217–31.

15 The Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes, ed. Noel Malcolm, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1994).

16 Malcolm Noel, Aspects of Hobbes (Oxford, 2002).

17 Malcolm Noel, “Charles Cotton, Translator of Hobbes's De cive,” Huntington Library Quarterly, 61/2 (1998), 259–87.

18 Malcolm Noel, Reason of State, Propaganda, and the Thirty Years War: An Unknown Translation by Thomas Hobbes (Oxford, 2007); see also Malcolm, “An Unknown Policy Proposal by Thomas Hobbes,” Historical Journal, 55/1 (2012), 145–60.

19 Noel Malcom, “The Printing of the ‘Bear’,” in Malcom, Aspects, 338–82.

20 See his thorough poleaxing of the possibility that Hobbes was the author of the so-called “Short Tract.” Noel Malcom, “Robert Payne, the Hobbes Manuscripts, and the ‘Short Tract’,” in Malcom, Aspects, 80–145.

21 Tönnies Ferdinand, Thomas Hobbes: Leben und Lehre (Stuttgart, 1896).

22 Peter Burroughs, “Sir William Molesworth,” ODNB.

23 MacDonald H. and Hargreaves M., Thomas Hobbes: A Bibliography (London, 1952).

24 Now housed at the British Library as Egerton MS 1910.

25 Rogers G. A. J. and Schuhmann Karl, Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan: A Critical Edition, 2 vols. (London, 2003). Schuhmann died as this edition was going to press.

26 Ibid., 111–23.

27 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 304–5.

28 Hobbes Thomas, Leviathan with Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668, ed. Curley Edwin (Indianapolis, 1994); Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Tuck Richard (Cambridge, 1996).

29 Until now, the best effort to account for the Latin variations appeared in François Trincaud's French edition of Leviathan, published in 1971. Malcolm has high praise for Trincaud's efforts.

30 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 304–7.

31 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 322.

32 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 316.

33 Greg W. W., “The Rationale of Copy-TextStudies in Bibliography, 3 (1950–51), 19–36; Bowers Fredson, Bibliography and Textual Criticism (Oxford, 1964).

34 For discussion see Hunter Michael, Editing Early Modern Texts: An Introduction to Principles and Practice (London, 2007).

35 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 317.

36 Among their many iterations of this method see Pocock J. G. A., “The Concept of Language and the Métier d'Historien: Some Considerations on Practice,” in Pagden Anthony, ed., The Language of Political Theory in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1987), 1938; Skinner Quentin, “Interpretation and the Understanding of Speech Acts,” in Skinner, Visions of Politics, vol. 1, Regarding Method (Cambridge, 2002), 103–27.

37 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 324–5.

38 The cases involve Gianfranco Borrelli's argument that Hobbes borrowed metaphors describing unsociable men from Malvezzi's Discoursi on Tacitus, and the efforts of George Klosko and Daryl Rice to map the influence of Thucydides over Leviathan. Borrelli G., Il lato oscuro del Leviathan: Hobbes contra Machiavelli (Naples, 2009); Klosko G. and Rice D., “Thucydides and Hobbes's State of Nature,” History of Political Thought, 6/2 (1985), 405–9.

39 See, for instance, his introduction to Burke Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France, ed. Pocock J. G. A. (Indianapolis, 1987).

40 Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Laslett Peter (Cambridge, 1960); Filmer Robert, Patriarcha and Other Political Writings of Sir Robert Filmer, ed. Laslett Peter (Oxford, 1949).

41 Both re-datings have been debated and refined, but not substantially rebutted, in the decades since. On the dating of Locke's Two Treatises see in particular Milton J., “Dating Locke's Second Treatise,” History of Political Thought, 16/3 (1995), 356–90; and more recently Armitage David, “John Locke, Carolina, and the Two Treatises of Government,” Political Theory, 32/5 (2004), 602–27. Pocock comments on Laslett's importance in “Quentin Skinner: The History of Politics and the Politics of History,” in Pocock, Political Thought and History (Cambridge, 2009), 123–44, 126–7.

42 For an account of this methodological division see Cowan Brian, “Intellectual, Social, and Cultural History: Ideas in Context,” in Young Brian and Whatmore Richard, eds., Advances in Intellectual History (Houndmills, 2006), 171–88. The present reviewer participated in an interesting, if not entirely successful, effort at rapprochement hosted by Princeton's Center for the Study of Books and Media in 2004. Here J. G. A. Pocock answered the elitism charge implicitly levelled by Robert Darnton at the Cambridge school with a responding charge of philistinism. There the matter basically stood.

43 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 199–209.

44 Ibid., 215.

45 Johns Adrian, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago, 1998); McKenzie D. F., Making Meaning: “Printers of the Mind” and Other Essays, ed. McDonald P. D. and Suarez M. F. (Amherst, MA, 2002).

46 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 219–21.

47 Malcolm has established the likelihood that the Bear edition deployed sheets salvaged from this 1670 confiscation, with the missing sheets printed by the Amsterdam printer Christoffel Cunradus. Hence the two printers involved in the production of the edition, and their differing levels of contact with Hobbes. Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 236–40.

48 Ibid., 231–3.

49 Ibid., 299–300.

50 Ibid., 5–11; the evidence is also investigated to similar effect in Collins Jeffrey, The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford, 2005), chap. 4.

51 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 11.

52 Ibid., 12.

53 Hobbes, On the Citizen, 94.

54 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 16–20.

55 Hoekstra, furthermore, has observed that Leviathan, in other passages, continued to suggest that commonwealths by institution were originally democratic. Hoekstra Kinch, “A Lion in the House: Hobbes and Democracy,” in Brett Annabel and Tully James, eds., Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge, 2007), 191218, 212.

56 Hoekstra has chided those inclined to a “democratic” reading of Hobbes for failing to attend to the contrast between sovereignty founded by original agreement and sovereignty achieved by conquest. But the force of this objection works equally against those inclined to attribute a fundamental constitutional monarchism to Hobbes. Ibid., 207–9.

57 Democracy for Hobbes required that every citizen “have a right to enter” the ruling Assembly, while in aristocracy “certain men” were “distinguished from the rest.” England's revolutionary regimes fit the latter description. Only the Levellers envisioned anything like a democratic assembly. For an effort to read Hobbes as a royalist based upon Hobbes's presumed “emotional ties” to aristocracy, see Hamilton James, “The Social Context of Hobbes's Political Thought,” Modern Intellectual History, 11/1 (2014), 129. Hobbes's social views are of themselves an interesting subject, but their value in explaining Hobbes's evolving political views is not here convincingly established.

58 Ibid., 17–20; Skinner Quentin, Hobbes and Republican Liberty (Cambridge, 2008).

59 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 22.

60 Ibid., 81.

61 Ibid., 22.

62 As Richard Tuck has pointed out, in the preface to the revised De cive (1647) Hobbes explicitly insisted on the equal status of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic commonwealths, and seemed anxious not to be misread as an exclusive monarchist. Tuck, “Hobbes and Democracy,” in Brett and Tully, Rethinking the Foundations, 171–90, 186. Tuck also lays stress on the distinction between democratic sovereignty and deliberative democratic administration, arguing that only the latter raised Hobbes's ire.

63 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 23; Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Malcolm, 2: 524–6.

64 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 22.

65 Hyde Edward, A brief view and survey of the pernicious errors in Mr. Hobbes's book, entitled Leviathan (Oxford, 1676), 78; Hyde to Barwick, 21 June 1651, Bodl. Clarendon MS 61, fol. 206.

66 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 72.

67 Ibid., 81.

68 The evidence is surveyed in Collins, Allegiance, 149–51. To cite but one example, Hobbes's associate Abraham Cowley reported Cromwell's “triumphant” return from Ireland to London. It was believed that Cromwell would have a “new great Title conferr’d upon him (as Protector of the People's Liberty, or some such).” This was clearly a serious report.

69 Hobbes, Leviathan, 294

70 Burgess Glenn, “Contexts for the Writing and Publication of Hobbes's Leviathan,” History of Political Thought, 11 (1990), 675702; Martinich A. P., Hobbes: A Biography (Cambridge, 1999), 213–15.

71 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 73, citing Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Malcolm, 3: 1135.

72 Hobbes Thomas, Behemoth, ed. Seward Paul (Oxford, 2010).

73 Hobbes Thomas, Writings on Common Law and Hereditary Right, ed. Cromartie Alan and Skinner Quentin (Oxford, 2008).

74 Hobbes Thomas, Translations of Homer, The Illiad and the Odyssey, ed. Nelson Eric (Oxford, 2008).

75 Noel Malcolm, “Thomas Hobbes and Voluntarist Theology” (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, 1983).

76 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 87.

77 Ibid., 51.

78 Ibid., 63–4.

79 Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Malcolm, 3: 1114–16.

80 Ibid., 796.

81 Hobbes, De cive, 222–3; Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Malcolm, 3: 834.

82 For Malcolm's reading, see his Editorial Introduction, 60–64; my own is presented in Collins, Allegiance, 124–30.

83 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 62.

84 Hobbes to Devonshire, 23 July 1641, Correspondence of Thomas Hobbes, 120.

85 Hyde, View and Survey, 305.

86 For an astute consideration of these issues see Abizadeh Arash, “Publicity, Privacy, and Religious Toleration in Hobbes's Leviathan,” Modern Intellectual History, 10/2 (2013), 261–91.

87 Malcolm, Editorial Introduction, 82.

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Modern Intellectual History
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