Outline Althusius Politica

Thesis 1: The rights of sovereignty are proper to the realm, not the magistrate (7).

  1. The general elements of politics
    1. Polity
      1. Politics is the art of associating men for the purpose of establishing, cultivating, and conserving social life. Althusius calls this phenomenon “symbiotics.”
      2. A polity consists of:
        1. A communication of right (jus)
        2. The manner of administering the commonwealth
        3. The form of the commonwealth
    2. Mutual communication (a sharing; a making common)
      1. Things
      2. Services
      3. Common rights
    3. God willed that each need the service and aid of others in order that friendship would bind all together and no one would consider another to be valueless (23).
  2. The Family
  3. The kinship association
  4. The collegium: civil association
    1. Three of more men of the same trade/guild uniting together
    2. A communication among colleagues (see 1.2.1-3).
  5. The City
    1. Althusius holds to the idea of a Corporate Person: the community is called a representational person, as it is a coming together of men to speak collectively (40).
    2. A city may be free, municipal, mixed, or metropolitan
      1. Free city: its immediate superior is the magistrate and is free from external control, save perhaps the Emperor.
      2. Municipal: subject to a territorial lord
      3. Mixed: combination of 1 and 2.
      4. Metropolis: mother of other cities.
    3. “The rights of the city…are also communicated by the citizens” (48).
  6. The province
    1. The members of the province are its orders and estates, as they are called, or larger collegia (54).
    2. Althusius doesn’t fully develop this point, but this will be the point on which Rutherford argues for resisting tyrants: it is never the individual who resists the king.  It is the collegia and estates. In fact, this isn’t really a theological argument at all, so the claim that “Jesus and the Apostles didn’t do this” is irrelevant.
  7. Political Sovereignty and Ecclesiastical Communication
    1. Ownership of a realm belongs to the estates and administration of it belongs to the king (66).
      1. The members of the realm are the collegia, not individuals.
      2. The bond of the realm: tacit or expressed promise to communicate things, mutual services, aid, counsel, and common laws to the extent that the utility of social life shall require (67).
    2. Sovereignty: supreme right of universal jurisdiction
    3. Right of the realm: twofold
      1. Welfare of the soul
      2. Care of the body
  8. Secular Communication
  9. The Ephors and their Duties
    1. An Ephor is something a little stronger than a Senator, but not quite a hereditary prince.
      1. They are the representatives of the commonwealth, by whom kings are constituted.
      2. They are the “protectors of the covenant.”
  10. The Constituting of the Supreme Magistrate
    1. He exercises as much authority as has been conceded to him.
    2. The people are prior in time to the magistrate and more worthy in nature.
    3. Since no one can renounce the right of defense against violence and injury, so the people have the power to resist an erring kng.
    4. Fundamental law of a realm: certain covenants by which many cities and pacts come together and agree to defend and establish the same commonwealth (128).
  11. Political Prudence in the Administration of the Commonwealth
    1. The rule of living, obeying, administering is the will of God alone
      1. This law is twofold: common or proper
        1. Common: naturally implanted by God in all men
        2. More on common law: also called the moral law (139).
      2. Knowledge and inclination: different degrees of this knowledge and inclination.
    2. Althusius then gives a short commentary on the Decalogue (141).
    3. Natural law and biblical law:
      1. Positive law today can’t simply repeat the Decalouge, not can it constitute a new specie.
      2. It must agree with common law/decalogue in thos ematters common to each law.  
        1. It differs from its accommodation to particular and special circumstances.
        2. Common law commands in general; proper law in particular.
  12. Ecclesiastical Administration
  13. Concluding thoughts
    1. Althusius discusses to what degree a magistrate can harass heretics.
    2. Allows that Jews may live in the commonwealth (remarkably progressive view at the time)
    3. Under which circumstances one may resist tyrants
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Author: Ephraim's Arrow

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, charismatic gifts

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