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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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Within the Soul

Within the Soul

(p.62) 8 Within the Soul
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter considers Machiavelli's thoughts about God and religion. In the last chapter of The Prince, he writes that Italy “prays God to send her someone who will redeem her.” In his private letters, Machiavelli speaks of God saving the innocent from the malice of men. He scoffs at hell and makes fun of those who believe in purgatory, indulgences, and masses on behalf of the souls of the dead. The favorite targets of his scorn are the pious souls who spend hours in prayer, and are constantly bustling off to Mass or church. He also has a cyclic vision of history; unlike the Christian conception, his notion does not foresee the final triumph of good over evil. Rather, he holds that human affairs are linked to the movement of the heavens.

Keywords:   republican religion, God, Machiavelli, heaven, hell

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