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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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Sacred Laws and Sacred Republics

Sacred Laws and Sacred Republics

(p.37) 5 Sacred Laws and Sacred Republics
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers theories on sacred laws and republics. For civic humanists, laws are sacred as long as they reflect divine wisdom, and because their object is not just whatever is good but rather the divine good, which is the public good. In order to ignite and sustain loyalty within a citizenry toward laws and statutes, a republic must foster its religious system with great diligence. Furthermore, a republic must educate its citizenry to love justice and the fatherland, through both the teaching imparted by good and revered priests, and ceremonies that strike and move the multitudes' sentiments. Palmieri, for instance, believes that religion instills a sense of duty and reinforces within men's souls the will to live in accordance with justice. He emphasizes that God loves the decent life and wants to preserve it, and therefore rewards men involved in the excellent deeds of “extirpating tyrants for the good of the many” as well as “establishing good and peaceful governments.”

Keywords:   republican religion, sacred law, civic humanists, public good, divine wisdom, Palmieri

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