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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