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After Secular Law$
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Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Robert A. Yelle, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775366

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775366.001.0001

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Assenting to the Law

Assenting to the Law

Sacrifice and Punishment at the Dawn of Secularism

(p.62) Chapter Three Assenting to the Law
After Secular Law

Jonathan Sheehan

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines two texts from mid-seventeenth-century England with a view to understanding the political work done by the language of sacrifice. It challenges the ideas that that moment in history represented either the achievement of a political domain independent from theology, or the persistence of theological motifs in an ostensibly secular political order. John Milton responded to the publication of the Eikon Basilike, which had presented Charles II's martyrdom as a sacrificial judgment on the law, by insisting that Charles, like any other, was subject to the legal order. The second text shows how Thomas Hobbes also invoked sacrifice to embody and dramatize assent to the law as a basis for a contract theory of the state.

Keywords:   secular political order, Eikon Basilike, Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, sacrifice

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