A reference tool that provides an overview of the history of Christian political thought with selections from second century to the seventeenth century.
From the second century to the seventeenth, from Irenaeus to Grotius, this unique reader provides a coherent overview of the development of Christian political thought. The editors have collected readings from the works of over sixty-five authors, together with introductory essays that give historical details about each thinker and discuss how each has contributed to the tradition of Christian political thought. Complete with important Greek and Latin texts available here in English for the first time, this volume will be a primary resource for readers from a wide range of interests.
For a millennium and a half the use of theological arguments in political discussion was taken for granted. The threads of this theo-political tradition are impressively collected and annotated in this volume. . . There are two aspects of the volume that make it even more important than this breadth of coverage: the first is that a great many of these texts have either been newly translated to replace antiquated—even unreadable—ones, or translated for the first time—and translated very well. The second is that the editors’ various introductions are superb; indeed, the O’Donovans (both Oxford) almost write a book within a book. An invaluable reference work for anyone and any library interested in the historical interplay of theology and politics and the lessons that we can learn from that today.
This is a magnificent achievement deserving of highest praise, and an essential collection at a time when ‘political theology’ is much discussed without reference to its history. . . No library aspiring to theological adequacy can be without From Irenaeus to Grotius.
The texts are substantial and important, some of them competently translated anew by the editors. The introductions, situating the excerpts in their historical contexts and highlighting the important themes, are superb. In fact, taken together, these little essays could serve as an outline of this history.
—Religious Studies Review
Oliver O’Donovan is a fellow of the British Academy and professor emeritus of Christian ethics and practical theology at the University of Edinburgh. His other books include The Desire of the Nations, The Ways of Judgment, and Resurrection and Moral Order.
Joan Lockwood O’Donovan is a theologian and academic with expertise in Christian political and social thought. She is currently an honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh School of Divinity and an honorary senior lecturer at the University of St. Andrews’ School of Divinity.