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Grant number like: FA-53302-07

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J. Judd Owen
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2007 – 7/31/2008

Enlightenment Political Philosophy and the Bible: Liberal Interpretations in Illiberal Times

By offering a liberal interpretation of the Bible, Hobbes, Bayle, Spinoza, and Locke did something that contemporary liberal theory would never dream of doing. For John Rawls's "political liberalism," for example, attempting such interpretation would in itself violate the principles of liberal theory. Yet the early liberals confronted a society in which Scripture was the authoritative guide for the conduct of human affairs. This made engagement with the Bible by proponents of the new politics of the Enlightenment imperative. I seek support for a book-length study of the Enlightenment's political engagement with the Bible with a view to advancing our understanding of the liberalization of religion they hoped to effect.