offers a brilliant introduction by Edwin Curley, modernized spelling
and punctuation of the text, and the inclusion, along with historical
and interpretive notes, of the most significant variants between the
English version of 1651 and the Latin version of 1668. A glossary of
seventeenth-century English terms, and indexes of persons, subjects, and
scriptural passages help make this the most thoughtfully conceived
edition of Leviathan available.
This book's appeal to the twentieth century lies not just in its elevation of politics to a science, but in its overriding concern for peace.
Leviathan is divided into four parts: In the first part, Of Man, Hobbes presents a view of human beings and of the natural world in general that is materialistic and mechanistic. In the second part, Of Commonwealth, he defends the theory of absolute sovereignty, the view that the government has all the political power and has the right to control any aspect of life. In the third part, Of a Christian Commonwealth, he critiques concepts like revelation, prophets, and miracles in such a way that it becomes doubtful whether they can be rationally justified. In the fourth part, Of the Kingdom of Darkness, he explains various ways in which priestly religion has corrupted religion and transgressed the rights of the sovereign.
This revised Broadview Edition of Hobbes’s classic work of political philosophy includes the full text of Part I (Of Man), Part II (Of Commonwealth), and the Review and Conclusion. The appendices, which set the work in its historical context, include a rich selection of contemporary responses to Leviathan. Also included are an introduction, explanatory notes, and a chronology of Hobbes’s life.
The editors have updated language, style, punctuation, and grammar throughout. Very long, complicated sentences have been broken into two or more sentences for enhanced readability. In some instances, terms within a sentence are rearranged for enhanced clarity. Occasionally, an equivalent contemporary word is substituted for an archaic one. Ellipses indicate omissions of more than one sentence. Care has been taken to maintain the strength, nuance, and flavor of the work, especially of Hobbes' most difficult arguments.
In addition, the volume offers a general Introduction and concise headnotes to each chapter. Annotation is geared to the student or novice reader. A glossary of key terms is also included, as well as an index.
In his insightful and substantial Introduction, Stephen Holmes examines the major themes and implications of Behemoth in Hobbes's system of thought. Holmes notes that a fresh consideration of Behemoth dispels persistent misreadings of Hobbes, including the idea that man is motivated solely by a desire for self-preservation. Behemoth, which is cast as a series of dialogues between a teacher and his pupil, locates the principal cause of the Civil War less in economic interests than in the stubborn irrationality of key actors. It also shows more vividly than any of Hobbe's other works the importance of religion in his theories of human nature and behavior.