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Machiavelli's Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – August 1996

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 246 Seiten
  • Verlag: Northern Illinois Univ Pr; Auflage: New. (August 1996)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0875802133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875802138
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,3 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.565.171 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Machiavelli's ambiguous treatment of religion has fuelled a contentious and long-standing debate among scholars. Whereas some insist that Machiavelli is a Christian, others maintain he is a pagan. Sullivan mediates between these divergent views by arguing that he is neither but that he utilizes elements of both understandings arrayed in a wholly new way. She develops her argument by distinguishing among the three Romes that can be understood as existing in Machiavelli's political thought: the first is the Rome of the Christian era, dominated by the pope; the second is the republican Rome of pagan times, which Machiavelli praises; and the third is an idealized Rome that is neither entirely pagan nor entirely Christian. In part 1, Sullivan examines Machiavelli's treatment of Christian Rome to find that in his view the Church and the beliefs of Christianity have fostered grave political problems. Indeed, he contends that Christianity exercises a type of tyrannical rule over human beings. His recognition motivates his seemingly enthusiastic turn to the pagan Rome of the "Discourses".

Examining his treatment of pagan Rome in part 2, Sullivan finds that Machiavelli is critical of this apparent alternative to Christian Rome. In particular, Machiavelli demonstrates that republican Rome proved inept at handling its ambitious men who vied for power. Sullivan also shows how Machiavelli infuses his discussions of republican Rome with terms evocative of Christianity in a way that suggests Christian governance ultimately derived from pagan Rome. The ancient city is an insufficient model for the people of his times, and thus he proposes an idealized Rome that will transcend the problems both of Christian and of pagan Rome. The character of Machiavelli's new Rome provides the focus of Part 3. Sullivan argues here that Machiavelli's new Rome will embody certain elements of the two other Romes yet will overcome the failings of each. She shows Machiavelli's thought to be a highly original response to what he understood to be the crisis of his times. Sullivan draws primarily from the "Florentine Histories", "The Prince" and the "Discourses" to offer a unique study of Machiavelli's political thought.

Her examination of Machiavelli's three Romes will interest scholars of political science and political philosophy.


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Von Ein Kunde am 18. November 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A very good book, scarred (unfortunately) by a touch of ingratitude. Sullivan's work rests entirely on a foundation built by Leo Strauss forty years before. Yet she only mentions Strauss to upbraid him--for an error which he did not commit! Still, this book leaves no doubt as to Machiavelli's fundamental judgement of Christianity, and explains the point well and in detail. And, unlike Strauss, it is fairly easy to understand.
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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very focused study of Machiavelli's view on religion or How I learned to turn the weapons of Christianity upon itself. 27. Dezember 2008
Von greg taylor - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Prof. Sullivan of Tufts University has given us a tightly focused and very interesting study of Machiavelli's view on religion, especially Christianity. She feels that Machiavelli's views on religion then opens a window on his entire political theory.
Sullivan frames her study with her theory of Machiavelli's three Romes. The first is the Christian Rome of Machiavelli's own time. The second Rome is the pagan Rome of Livy's History. Prof. Sullivan feels that each of these Romes were found wanting by Machiavelli.

The Rome of the Church was his primary target. Machiavelli felt that Christianity was a disease that was sapping the strength not only of his beloved Florence and Italy itself but most of the rest of Europe as well. Christianity with its focus on the afterlife and its disdain of this world fostered an "ambitious leisure". Christians did little to gain glory for their city or state in this world. They focused instead on the great rewards of the afterlife. Prof. Sullivan also explores how Machiavelli was critical of the conduct of the Church hierarchy as well. Her presentation of Machiavelli's critique of Christianity is very powerful and should put to rest the idea that Machiavelli was some sort of closet Christian.

Prof. Sullivan then goes on to show how Machiavelli was critical of pagan Rome as well. In spite of the glorious achievements of the Roman Republic and its long life, its fundamental weaknesses can be shown in the way it allowed for the growth of Christianity and the rise of the tyranny of the Caesars. Again, her point about Machiavelli's thought is centered around the use of religion, in this case by the Roman elite. Machiavelli felt that that elite used the religion developed by Numa to manipulate the masses. This usage prepared the people of Rome to look to religion for comfort and guidance. Then when Christianity appeared with its further beneficence of a glorious and eternal afterlife, the people of Rome were corrupted into that belief. And, yes, Machiavelli did regard that as a corruption.
Prof. Sullivan also shows how Machiavelli criticized other practices of the Romans that created parties or partisans centered around various great men. The problem was that their institutions were eventually unable to handle the sort of tensions and disruptions this created.

The last part of Prof. Sullivan's book is devoted to the third Rome -the Rome that Machiavelli thought he knew how to create. This Rome would have no state religion and especially no state use of religion (Machiavelli knew that he would not be able to eliminate superstition entirely). This would be a state or city much like ancient Rome but totally focused on the rewards and realities of this world. According to Prof. Sullivan, Machiavelli's intention was to create a state where the only necessity would be that created by the state itself. There would be no chasing after the imaginary rewards of the Christians, no attempt to foster the best in humanity (as was the case in many of the ancient philosophers) but a relentless attempt to foster the common good at the cost of its neighbors and to endlessly encourage the great deeds of the young and the glory-seeking. The idea was to foster so many such youths and men that they would control each other and keep any one or some of their number from grabbing for power.

There is much I have left out from my description of Prof. Sullivan's work that is worth studying and thinking about if you are a student of Machiavelli. For one thing, you will learn how Machiavelli saw himself as turning the weapons of Christianity upon itself.
As the reviewer below implies, she is very much of a Straussian, at least, in her interpretation of Machiavelli. Like all the best of the Straussians (Mansfield, the Zuckerts, the Pangles, Rahe, ad infinitum). She differs from Strauss in her interpretation of Machiavelli in that Strauss believed that Machiavelli wanted the elite in his suggested state to use religion to placate the masses and to prevent the sort of internal discords that would occur without that use of religion. Both Sullivan and Mansfield have argued that Machiavelli wanted dissensions for the energies they brought to the state. I believe that Sullivan is correct in correcting Strauss on this issue. I think her interpretation of Machiavelli on this point is a step beyond Strauss in the right direction. Thoughts on Machiavelli is one of the best studies ever written on Machiavelli. But Strauss saw it as just a start toward understanding Machiavelli's intention. Prof. Sullivan's book is an important step forward in understanding Friend Niccolo.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Quite Good 30. April 2000
Von Nicholas Antongiavanni - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A very good book, marred (unfortunately) by a touch of ingratitude. Sullivan's work rests entirely on a foundation built by Leo Strauss forty years before. Yet she only mentions Strauss to upbraid him--for an error which he did not commit!
Still, this book leaves no doubt as to Machiavelli's fundamental judgement of Christianity, and explains the point well and in detail. And, unlike Strauss, it is fairly easy to understand.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Machiavelli or Sullivan? 26. März 2013
Von P. Schultz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a book well worth reading and is, generally speaking, well written - although like most academics, Sullivan frequently uses more words than are necessary. Her argument on Machiavelli does seem to reflect ground already covered elsewhere, e.g., in the work of Leo Strauss and Harvey Mansfield. But she stakes out ground on Machiavelli's treatment of Christianity that Strauss rejected and her reliance on Mansfield is limited to a few key items, such as Machiavelli's alleged "perpetual republic." It seems though that Sullivan does not quite take Machiavelli at his word that his "new modes and orders" are comprehensively new. By arguing that Machiavelli adopts some modes and orders used in pagan Rome and some used in Christian Rome, Sullivan dismisses the possibility that some of the practices that Machiavelli approves of in those modes and orders would be prove to be unnecessary in his "new modes and orders." So, for example, she seems to take seriously that Machiavelli recommends and would have his "new princes" model themselves on Manlius, who of course murdered his son, as well as recommending murdering the most ambitious and appealing youths and having "show trials" and splendid executions every now and again. While such practices may have been necessary in pagan Rome, one should at least wonder whether they would be necessary - a favorite Machiavelli standard - in the promised "new modes and orders." To contend that the "conundrum" of handling those most talented, ambitious, and appealing youths is to be solved by killing them before they become clear and present dangers leaves much to be desired. And given that Machiavelli argued that killing them only after they have "exposed" themselves would be futile, it would seem that this phenomenon begs for a solution less bloody and more far-sighted, something akin to building those "dams and dikes" Machiavelli mentions in the Prince. If so, then the question becomes: What steps did Machiavelli take in order to "guide" or "control" these potentially dangerous ambitious few? But this is a question that Sullivan does not take up, perhaps because she has been temporarily blinded to Machiavelli's most radical agenda by his "shock and awe rhetoric."
3 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Quite good 18. November 1999
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A very good book, scarred (unfortunately) by a touch of ingratitude. Sullivan's work rests entirely on a foundation built by Leo Strauss forty years before. Yet she only mentions Strauss to upbraid him--for an error which he did not commit! Still, this book leaves no doubt as to Machiavelli's fundamental judgement of Christianity, and explains the point well and in detail. And, unlike Strauss, it is fairly easy to understand.
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