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The Immortal Commonwealth
Covenant, Community, and Political Resistance in Early Reformed Thought


Part of Law and Christianity

  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108470216

£ 85.00

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About the Authors
  • In the midst of intense religious conflict in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, theological and political concepts converged in remarkable ways. Incited by the slaughter of French Protestants in the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Reformed theologians and lawyers began to marshal arguments for political resistance. These theological arguments were grounded in uniquely religious conceptions of the covenant, community, and popular sovereignty. While other works of historical scholarship have focused on the political and legal sources of this strain of early modern resistance literature, The Immortal Commonwealth examines the frequently overlooked theological sources of these writings. It reveals how Reformed thinkers such as Heinrich Bullinger, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and Johannes Althusius used traditional theological conceptions of covenant and community for surprisingly radical political ends.

    • Offers a more comprehensive analysis of the early modern political context than is offered through any single disciplinary perspective
    • Addresses the theological as well as the political arguments for resistance to unjust power
    • Focuses on neglected figures in the history of political thought, including Heinrich Bullinger, Theodore Beza, and Johannes Althusius
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In The Immortal Commonwealth, David P. Henreckson navigates the oft-inordinately voluminous literature on Calvinist covenant theologies with the requisite dexterity, interpretive savvy and skills, not to mention much-needed patience to plow through these mostly forgotten and putatively esoteric treatises from an era, again, allegedly known for arid and atrophying Protestant scholastic discourses. Henreckson shows how the central theo-political idea of God as the covenanter has contributed to and ushered in the transformations of political theologies that pertain to Self, Society, and Savior in a refreshing way. It is truly worthy of the Augustinian dictum tolle lege!' Paul C. H. Lim, Vanderbilt University, author of Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108470216
    • length: 218 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The covenanting God
    2. The law of the covenant
    3. Breaking covenant
    4. The unaccountable sovereign
    5. Consociational politics
    6. Resisting the devil.

  • Author

    David P. Henreckson, Dordt College, Iowa
    David P. Henreckson is Assistant Professor of Theology at Dordt College, Iowa, and serves as director of the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service. His research interests include early modern religion and politics, resistance theory, secularity, and Christian ethics. His work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Studies in Christian Ethics, and the Journal of Reformed Theology, as well as magazines such as Comment and Political Theology Today. He is a contributing editor at Comment.

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