Hume on Church Establishments, Secular Politics and History
Selected contents from this journal
Languages of publication
In the third volume of the History of England, David Hume considers the political ramifications of the Protestant reformation with a “Digression concerning the ecclesiastical state.” He advocates the establishment of a state church, believing it will dampen religious “enthusiasm” in the polity. Unlike later secularization theorists, Hume assumes an intractable basis for religion in the human passions. Tensions in Hume’s “cooptation” strategy are evident from Adam Smith’s famous attack upon it in section five of The Wealth of Nations, and in Hume’s own treatment of seventeenth century independency in the fifth volume of the History. Smith argues that public competition among sects facilitates political moderation. In History V Hume stresses the positive role of enthusiasm in fostering civil liberty. This article traces Hume’s indecision to his “external” mode of moral and historical analysis, arguing that a secular policy on religion cannot proceed fruitfully without engaging the theological particulars of the religions at issue.
- Bowles P. (1985), “The Origin of Property and the Development of Scottish Historical Science,” Journal of the History of Ideas 46: 197–210.
- Broadie A. (2001), The Scottish Enlightenment: The Historical Age of the Historical Nation, Birlinn, Edinburgh.
- Carrasco M.A. (2011), “Hutcheson, Smith, and Utilitarianism,” Review of Metaphysics 64 (3): 515–553.
- Chalmers T. (1827), On the Use and Abuse of Literary and Ecclesiastical Endowments, Collins and Co., Glasgow.
- Conti G. (2015), “Hume’s Low Road to Toleration,” History of Political Thought 36 (1): 165–191.
- Dees R.H. (2005), “The Paradoxical Principle and Salutary Practice: Hume on Toleration,” Hume Studies 31 (1): 145–164.
- Emerson R.L. (1997), “Hume and the Bellman, Zerobabel MacGilchrist,” Hume Studies 23 (1): 9–28.
- Forbes D. (1975), Hume’s Philosophical Politics, Cambridge University Press, New York.
- Garrett D. (2012), “What’s True about Hume’s ‘True Religion’?” Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (2): 199–220.
- Gaskin J.C.A. (1978), Hume’s Philosophy of Religion, Barnes & Noble, New York.
- Harris J.A. (2015), Hume: An Intellectual Biography, Cambridge University Press, New York.
- Herdt J. (1995), “Opposite Sentiments: Hume’s Fear of Faction and the Philosophy of Religion,” American Journal of Theology & Philosophy 16 (3): 245–259.
- Herdt J. (1997), Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, New York.
- Hume D. (1983), The History of England: From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688, Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [H]
- Hume D. (1998), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, T.L. Beauchamp (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. [EPM]
- Hume D. (1999), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, T.L. Beauchamp (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. [EHU]
- Hume D. (2008), Principal Writings on Religion, Including Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion, J.C.A. Gaskin (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford. [DNR and NHR]
- Hume D. (1987), Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, E.F. Miller (ed.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [EMPL]
- Hume D. (2000), A Treatise of Human Nature, D.F. and M.J. Norton (eds.), Oxford University Press, New York. [T]
- Kennedy G. (2013), “Adam Smith on Religion,” [in:] Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 464–484.
- Marusic J. S. (2012), “Refuting the Whole System? Hume’s Attack on Popular Religion in ‘The Natural History of Religion,’” Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249): 715–736.
- Plato (1991), The Republic, trans. A. Bloom, Basic Books.
- Pocock J.G.A. (2006), “Adam Smith and History,” [in:] The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 270–287.
- Sabl A. (2009), “The Last Artificial Virtue: Hume on Toleration and Its Lessons,” Political Theory 37 (4): 511–538.
- Sabl A. (2012), Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
- Smith A. (1981), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, R.H. Campbell, A.S. Skinner, W.B. Todd (eds.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [WN]
- Smith A. (1982), The Theory of Moral Sentiments, D.D. Raphael, A.L. Macfie (eds.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [TMS]
- Stewart M.A. (1997), “Hume’s ‘Bellmen’s Petition’: The Original Text,” Hume Studies 23 (1): 3–7.
- Trevor-Roper H.R., Robertson J. (2010), History and the Enlightenment, Yale University Press, New Haven.
- Waterman A.M.C. (1991), Revolution, Economics, and Religion: Christian Political Economy, 1798–1833, Cambridge University Press, New York.
- Whelan F.G. (2004), Hume and Machiavelli: Political Realism and Liberal Thought, Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.
- Willis A.C. (2015), “The Potential Use-Value of Hume’s ‘True Religion,’” Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (1): 1–15.
- Yandell K.E. (1990), Hume’s “Inexplicable Mystery”: His Views on Religion, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.
Publication order reference