The Frontispiece of Leviathan: Hobbes´ Bible Use

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

  • Lars Östman
This article analyses the frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan with a focus on the relation between theology and politics as it is illustrated on the cover of this grand œuvre, and in particular on the figure of Leviathan himself. The scope of the article is to discuss the form of power and authority symbolised on the frontispiece, and it is thus not an image analyses in the traditional sense. Rather, it is to discuss the kind of political theory the frontispiece represents. Not only is Hobbes’ decision to put forward a theory of a commonwealth that is both civil as well as ecclesiastical only a few years after the great religious Thirty Years’ War a bold one: Leviathan represents a new way of conceiving the relation between sovereign and citizen as it combines Christian political theory and aesthetics. Having its methodological point of departure especially in Giorgio Agamben, the article will develop the argument that Leviathan, in this regard, represents a political version of the Christian angelology. Leviathan becomes the “divine messenger” par excellence, who functions as temporal minister and administrator of God’s will and government. The central questions of the article therefore are: how and why does Hobbes’ Leviathan achieve his authority and power through theological ideas on power, and how decisive is the Bible in this regard? In other words, how is Hobbes’ Bible use political?
Vol/bindVol 2
Udgave nummerNo 1
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 22 jan. 2012


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - Thomas Hobbes´ Leviathan, Titelblad, Æstetik, Biopolitik, Bibelbrug, Det Gamle Testamente, Thomas Hobbes, Giorgio Agamben

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