Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 11 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For early moderns, the scriptures offered not only a means to live well but a resource to address morally complex problems. Interpreters faced the difficulty, however, of abundant instances in which biblical characters lie, cheat, and are underhand. Techniques to mitigate or explain these moments were rooted in Augustine’s typological and figurative readings of the Old Testament. In this context, John Saltmarsh’s The Practice of Policie in a Christian Life, Taught from the Scriptures (1639), stands out as an attempt to do for the Bible what Machiavelli did for Livy, animating it as a guide to political manoeuvre, and wrenching examples from their context in order to achieve unlikely lessons in realpolitik. Yet, Killeen shows, Saltmarsh was scarcely an irreligious cynic; his approach to the Bible is based in early modern understandings which distinguished between local narrative instances and the overall purpose of the Word of God.

Keywords: John Saltmarsh, Augustine, hermeneutics, politics, interpretation, biblical characters

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.