The Theological Sources of Althusius

Frederick S. Carney in his translator’s preface to Politica:

‘The Calvinist theological writers constitute a fifth category. They serve a number of functions. The Biblical commentaries of Peter Martyr (Vermigli), Francis Junius, and John Piscator are called upon to give meaning to the concepts of piety and justice as interpretive of true symbiosis, and to describe the ancient Jewish polity that Althusius considers to have been the most wisely and perfectly constructed one since the beginning of time. The churchly writings of John Calvin, Jerome Zanchius, Benedict Aretius, and Zachary Ursinus are the major sources for Althusius’ exposition of the ecclesiastical order in both the province and the commonwealth. Zanchius’ extensive discussion of law in his De redemptione contributes more than anything else to Althusius’ understanding of the relation of the Decalogue to natural law, and of both to the proper laws of various nations. Then there are special topics on which Althusius finds his theological colleagues to be helpful, such as Peter Martyr’s discussion of war.’

I think I will read this stuff.


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