Reflections on Religion, the Divine, and the Constitution

Reflections on Religion, the Divine, and the Constitution

by George Anastaplo

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In Part One, the uses of divine revelation in the Western world are reviewed by recalling authors that include Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Plato, Maimonides, Cervantes, Hobbes, and Milton. The challenges posed by such monstrosities as Aztec human sacrifices and the Second World War Holocaust are recalled.

In Part Two, the challenges of religion for and by Americans are examined. Documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of 1787, and Presidential Farewell Addresses are recalled. The lives and thought of eminent Americans are also recalled (including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln). Recalled as well are such movements as that of the Mormons and that of the “I Am” sect. The implications both for religious developments and for religious orthodox of modern science are investigated.

The Appendices reinforce these inquiries by providing reminders of how distinguished commentators and others have tried to deal with critical questions noticed in the Essays of this book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739173572
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 08/28/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 867 KB

About the Author

George Anastaplo is currently Lecturer in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science and of Philosophy at Dominican University.

Table of Contents


Part One
1.Euripides on the Use and Abuse of Revelation in the Service of the Political Order
2.The Divine, an Unsettling Duality, and the Conduct of One’s Life:
Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos Revisited
3.On Aristophanes’ Clouds
4.Socrates’ Dangerous Piety
5.Plato on the Divine in Human Affairs
6.Maimonides and Others on Faith, Philosophy,
and Governing Principles
7.Conscience and Citizenship
8.El Greco and His Successors
9.Miguel de Cervantes on Death, the Divine, and
the Proper Ordering of Human Affairs
10.Thomas Hobbes on Church and State
11.John Milton’s Paradise Epics and the Divinely-Ordained
Redemption of the Human Race

12.Challenges Posed by the Aztecs
13.The Holocaust and the Divine Ordering of Human Affairs

ii. Part Two
1.Nature and the Divine in the Declaration of Independence
2.Benedict Arnold, Providence, and the Fates of Citizens and of Nations
3.Benjamin Franklin and the Workings of the Divine – At Least in America
4.“In the Year of [What] Lord?”
5.Political Symbols and the Sacred in the United States
6.Thomas Jefferson and Religious Liberty
7.Abraham Lincoln and the Almighty
8.Presidential Invocations of the Divine
9.Presidential Farewell Addresses
10.Revelation, Human Understanding, and the Ordering of
the Good Life: The “Mormon” Movement
11.Revelation and the Use of the United States Postal
System: The “I Am” Movement
12.An Earth Elsewhere?
13.Yearnings for the Divine and the Natural Animation of Matter


A. The Declaration of Independence (1776) <<Appendices A, B, and C should be taken from Reflections on Slavery and the Constitution>>
B. The United States Constitution (1787)
C. The Amendments to the United States Constitution (1791–1992)
D. On the “Destiny” of the Jews in Eastern Europe (1939–1945)
D (1) God, Please Choose Somebody Else (2000)
D (2) In Eastern Europe, Anti-Semitism Is a Kind of Religion (2000)
E. Martin E. Marty, George Anastaplo on the Christian Heritage (2010)
F. George Anastaplo, On the Human Soul and Eternity (2010)
G. Christopher A. Colmo, George Anastaplo’s Appeal to Nature (2012)
H. George Anastaplo, Reflections upon Any Trial for Impiety Not Only of Socrates But Also of Us (2013)
I. George Anastaplo, Life and Death in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (2013)
J. Harry V. Jaffa, Foreword for George Anastaplo’s Further Thoughts on Abraham Lincoln: Discourse on Chance and Public Life (2013)
K. Roger H. Hildebrand, On the Use by Physicists of Life-like Words (2013)
L. John Van Doren, Silence at Delphi (2013)
M. Roster of Cases Drawn On

About the Author

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