Senior Fellow: January–June 2018
Research Project: Jewish Scepticism and Jewish Political Tradition within the Christian Debate on the King during the Seventeenth Century
This project intends to explore Jewish scepticism as a methodology of investigation within the Jewish political tradition, and, in particular, within the Jewish reflection on monarchy. Within Judaism, in fact, we can find a broad and articulate discussion on the issue of authority in all its aspects, including the political one. The debate on monarchy, amongst other topics, particularly reveals the articulation of this tradition, which, in proposing a multiplicity of different interpretations (for and against the institution of a king) according to the sceptical method, actually serves to threaten its authority. This Jewish political tradition (and its texts), however, did not remain confined to the Jewish world, but it was widely spread within Christian political thought in the Early Modern period. We can identify the sixteenth century as the age when the interest in Jewish political history grew exponentially. Scholars today agree that Calvinism played a central role in the development and spread of the Jewish political tradition within the Christian world. It would be interesting to reconsider the contribution that Jewish thought made to the Christian world, analysing within these works the role played by the Jewish sceptical method in investigating political authority. The main purpose is to show how the Jewish debate about kingship contributes to re-enforcing the desacralisation of the figure of the king, which began with the English revolution.
Guido Bartolucci is assistant professor of early modern history at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Calabria.