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El Leviatán de Hobbes: La destrucción del Estado, Cristo y el vientre del cocodrilo
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2013 (Spanish)In: Foro Interno : Anuario de Teoría Política, ISSN 1578-4576, E-ISSN 1988-2920, Vol. 13, 119-138 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, the author addresses the question why Thomas Hobbes named his philosophical magnum opus for the Biblical monster Leviathan (1651). It is argued that Hobbes was acutely aware of the political power of images. Moreover, the author claims that the image of Leviathan as the state alludes to a contemporaneous interpretation of Leviathan as a crocodile. By reconstructing the history of the crocodile in European thought, from Aristotle via Diodoros Siculus to influential Christian animal allegories, we can discover the kind of images conjured up by Hobbes’s use of the Leviathan. More specifically, it is shown that the crocodile was interpreted as an image of the Devil. According to influential ancient authors, the crocodile can be defeated by a little animal, the ichneumōn, that is devoured by the crocodile yet defeats it from within. Ancient and mediaeval bestiaries allegorically interpreted the animal as an image of the Christ. Furthermore, Hobbes, by many considered an atheist or deist, constructs metaphors and similes likening the Christian religion to something that is swallowed. By having the crocodile represent the state, Hobbes thus esoterically indicates his disagreements with Christianity and his belief that the Christian doctrine is destructive to the state and inferior to the pagan empires with regard to its capability of inducing law-abiding behaviour on the part of citizens.

Abstract [es]

En este artículo se aborda la cuestión de por qué Thomas Hobbes, consciente del poder político de las imágenes, tituló su opus magnum con el nombre del monstruo bíblico Leviathan (1651). El autor asegura que la imagen del Leviatán como el Estado alude a una interpretación contemporánea del monstruo como un cocodrilo. Más específicamente, se muestra cómo el cocodrilo fue interpretado como una imagen del diablo. Por otra parte, Hobbes, considerado por muchos un ateo o deísta, construye metáforas y símiles comparando la religión cristiana con algo que es tragado. Siendo conscientes de que el cocodrilo representa el Estado, Hobbes apunta esotéricamente sus desacuerdos con el cristianismo y su creencia de que la doctrina cristiana es destructiva para el Estado e inferior a los imperios paganos en su capacidad de inducir la obediencia de la ley por parte de los ciudadanos.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 13, 119-138 p.
Keyword [es]
Thomas Hobbes, cocodrilo, alegoría, Leviatán, Cristianidad, religión pagana
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-216402DOI: 10.5209/rev_FOIN.2013.v13.43087OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-216402DiVA: diva2:689652
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-01-23Bibliographically approved

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Tralau, Johan
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