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Price: $74.95

Paperback 328 pp.
156 mm x 234 mm



Publication date:
December 2007

Imprint: OUP UK

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The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes

Jeffrey R. Collins

The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a revisionist interpretation of Thomas Hobbes's evolving response to the English Revolution. It rejects the prevailing understanding of Hobbes as a consistent, if idiosyncratic, royalist, and vindicates the contemporaneous view that the publication of Leviathan marked Hobbes's accommodation with England's revolutionary regime. In sustaining these conclusions, Professor Collins foregrounds the religious features of Hobbes's writings, and maintains a contextual focus on the broader religious dynamics of the English Revolution itself. Hobbes and the Revolution are both placed within the tumultuous historical process that saw the emerging English state coercively secure jurisdictional control over national religion and the corporate church. Seen in the light of this history, Thomas Hobbes emerges as a theorist who moved with, rather than against, the revolutionary currents of his age. The strongest claim of the book is that Hobbes was motivated by his deep detestation of clerical power to break with the Stuart cause and to justify the religious policies of England's post-regicidal masters, including Oliver Cromwell.

Methodologically, Professor Collins supplements intellectual or linguistic contextual analysis with original research into Hobbes's biography, the prosopography of his associates, the reception of Hobbes's published works, and the nature of the English Revolution as a religious conflict. This multi-dimensional contextual approach produces, among other fruits: a new understanding of the political implications of Leviathan; an original interpretation of Hobbes's civil war history, Behemoth; a clearer picture of Hobbes's career during the neglected period of the 1650s; and a revisionist interpretation of Hobbes's reaction to the emergence of English republicanism. By presenting Thomas Hobbes as a political actor within a precisely defined political context, Professor Collins has recovered the significance of Hobbes's writings as artefacts of the English Revolution.

Readership : Historians of ideas and early modern England, political theorists, and students and scholars of religion and philosophy.


  • `Review from previous edition Once in a blue moon a book comes along capable of effecting a Gestalt switch and Jeffrey Collins' The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes is just such a book... the first thorough archival investigation of the Interregnum Hobbes... Collins has put together a very convincing picture of the man who for so long has remained such an enigman to us.'
    British Journal of the History of Philosophy

1. Thomas Hobbes and the Uses of Christianity
2. Hobbes, the Long Parliament, and the Church of England
3. Rise of the Independents
4. Leviathan and the Cromwellian Revolution
5. Hobbes among the Cromwellians
6. The Independents and the 'Religion of Thomas Hobbes'
7. Response of the Exiled Church

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Jeffrey R. Collins is an Assistant Professor of History at Queen's University, Canada.

Writing History - William Kelleher Storey and Towser Jones

Special Features

  • Challenges the conventional view that Hobbes was an idiosyncratic royalist.
  • A revisionist thesis about Hobbes and his place in the broader history of the English Revolution.
  • Uses a large body of new or newly exploited sources.
  • A new interpretation of the thinking of one of Britain's major philosophers.