By Maurizio Viroli
Religion and liberty are frequently regarded as mutual enemies: if faith has a traditional best friend, it truly is authoritarianism--not republicanism or democracy. yet during this e-book, Maurizio Viroli, a number one historian of republican political idea, demanding situations this traditional knowledge. He argues that political emancipation and the safety of political liberty have regularly required the self-sacrifice of individuals with non secular sentiments and a spiritual devotion to liberty. this is often quite the case whilst liberty is threatened through authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those that consider a deeply non secular dedication to it.
Viroli makes his case by way of reconstructing, for the 1st time, the background of the Italian "religion of liberty," overlaying its whole span yet concentrating on 3 key examples of political emancipation: the loose republics of the past due heart a long time, the Risorgimento of the 19th century, and the antifascist Resistenza of the 20 th century. In each one instance, Viroli indicates, a spiritual spirit that seemed ethical and political liberty because the maximum items of human existence was once basic to developing and keeping liberty. He additionally indicates that after this non secular sentiment has been corrupted or suffocated, Italians have misplaced their liberty.
This booklet makes a strong and provocative contribution to latest debates in regards to the compatibility of faith and republicanism.
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Additional info for As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy
Both Florentine and Venetian ones recognized the sacredness of secular authorities, and endeavored to bestow a sacred character on their republics. 16 The Florentines, deprived as they were of a central sacred symbol, had to seek alternatives: adolescents’ confraternities, miraculous images, and charismatic priests. The Medici were able to satisfy the Florentines’ need for a ritual and symbolic center, but only after they had buried the republican government. The Venetians instead succeeded in making religion serve the republic.
4 Kings acquired quasi-priestly character through anointing, without ever properly becoming priests. Inasmuch as he has not taken holy orders, the king obviously cannot be a clergyman. 5 This logical argument was little appreciated by kings, even though they were eager to expand their power so as to undertake priestly functions. 6 The concept of a royal religion (religion royal) emerges with particular clarity in the Traité du sacre, written in 1372 by the Carmelite friar Jean Golein. 7 From the point of view of a more rigorous theology, like that established at the Council of Trent, such a doctrine would have been scandalous.
The exercise of sovereign power, however, can be bad: “They have set up kings, / but without my consent, / and appointed princes, / but without my knowledge. / With their silver and gold, / they have made themselves idols, / but only to be destroyed” (Hosea 8:4). Leaving aside the tricky question of the obligation to obey corrupt sovereigns, da Viterbo strongly reaffirms that the podestà must always have God and justice before his eyes. A widely distributed encyclopedia in the Middle Ages, the Livres dou Tresor (ca.
As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy by Maurizio Viroli