Folger Faculty Seminar: Political Theologies in Early Modern Literature

  • Lorna Margaret Hutson (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This seminar will take up the problem of political theology in the early modern period, focusing on both literary and political texts, and on recent secondary work in the field of early modern studies. For some recent scholars, political theology refers to the transcendental grounding of political authority, for others it names the problem of the relationship between politics and theology in the early modern state, and for still others it conjures up the range of early modern conceptions of political authority as a product of the literary imagination. Drawing on the work of Carl Schmitt, Ernst Kantorowicz, and others, we will explore the usefulness of these paradigms for thinking about early modern literature and political theory. During Friday’s seminar, we will explore the relationship between politics and theology as a question of legal authority. We will look at debates over the jurisdiction of the soul, over royal prerogative and over national sovereignty in early modern England and Scotland. On Saturday, we will focus on the relationship between political theology and what the Florentine Neoplatonists called poetic theology. Here our readings will include excerpts from Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ben Jonson and Milton.
Period1 Nov 20132 Nov 2013
Held atFolger Institute Washington, United States