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Saturday, June 30 • 2:00pm - 3:10pm
Machiavelli, Exodus and Spirituality

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Machiavelli is usually thought of as an amoral realist political thinker who advised the Prince to lie and cheat in order to achieve his objectives.  There is no question that Machiavelli was a radical realist political thinker.  Yet, underlying his views was a belief in self-government that rested on individual autonomy and dignity.  His political theory was in part designed to show how ordinary people could be transformed into moral agents and collectively form a republican form of government, rather than remain slavish followers of autocratic leaders.
The account of Moses and Exodus was an important influence on Machiavelli's thought.  Exodus recounts the story of deliverance from bondage to freedom from slavery to liberation and redemption.  Machiavelli argued that modern self-government has to flow from a similar path. Republican government, he maintained, required citizens to be spiritually engaged and to possess a sense of autonomy and agency, freedom and dignity.  Absent these conditions, subjects might be well-treated, but would remain as slaves in Egypt, and not free citizens.  This session examines the lessons of freedom inherent in the account of Exodus, explores relevant passages in Machiavelli’s writings, and relates both to modern republican theories of government.

avatar for Rivka Amado

Rivka Amado

Rivka Amado received her B.A. and M.A. at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her PhD at the University of Toronto. She taught at Bar-Ilan University in Israel for many years before moving to the United States. In the U.S., she has taught political theory at Stanford, Princeton and... Read More →

Saturday June 30, 2018 2:00pm - 3:10pm PDT
Sonoma Valley