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As If God Existed – Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy - Princeton Scholarship Online
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As If God Existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy

Maurizio Viroli


Religion and liberty are often thought to be mutual enemies: if religion has a natural ally, it is authoritarianism—not republicanism or democracy. This book challenges this conventional wisdom. It argues that political emancipation and the defense of political liberty have always required the self-sacrifice of people with religious sentiments and a religious devotion to liberty. This is particularly the case when liberty is threatened by authoritarianism: the staunchest defenders of liberty are those who feel a deeply religious commitment to it. The book makes its case by reconstructing, for ... More

Keywords: religion, liberty, authoritarianism, political liberty, political emancipation, religious spirit, republicanism, moral liberty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Maurizio Viroli, author
Princeton University