Is contemporary international order truly a secular arrangement? William Bain challenges this narrative by arguing that modern theories of international order reflect ideas that originate in medieval theology.
Order and theology -- Rival conceptions of order : immanent and imposed -- Renaissance, reformation, and the road to Westphalia -- Martin Luther and the theology of the two kingdoms -- Hugo Grotius and the God of international society -- Thomas Hobbes and the divine politics of Anarchy -- Political theology I : system, anarchy, balance of power -- Political theology II : society, law, constitution -- International order beneath an empty sky.
The medieval contribution to modern international relations / William Bain -- The medieval and the international : a strange case of mutual neglect / Nicholas Rengger -- Metaphysics and the problem of international order / C.J.C Pickstock -- Secularism in question : Hugo Grotius's "impious hypothesis" again / Francis Oakley -- Between false-universalism and radical-particularism : thoughts on Thomas Hobbes and international relations / Joshua Mitchell -- The medieval Roman and canon law origins of international law / Joseph Canning -- Then and now : the medieval conception of just war versus recent portrayals of the just war idea / James Turner Johnson -- Humanitarian intervention in a world of sovereign states : the Grotian dilemma / James Muldoon -- The medieval and early modern legacy of rights : the rights to punish and to property / Camilla Boisen and David Boucher -- International relations and the "modern" Middle Ages : rival theological theorisations of international order / Adrian Pabst
Hedley Bull's 'The Anarchical Society' was published in 1977. Forty years on, it is considered one of the classic texts in International Relations. It does not, however, address many world political issues that now concern us deeply, such as terrorism, global financial crises, climate change, the impact of the internet revolution, deep-rooted racial inequalities, and violence against women. Moreover, while the development of International Relations as an academic subject has consolidated the status of the 'English School' as one of the principal approaches to the study of world politics, and 'The Anarchical Society' as its key text, significant limitations in Bull's approach have also been identified. This volume examines how far 'The Anarchical Society' continues to illuminate world politics and how well Bull's method and argument stand up today. The volume argues that although many of Bull's substantive judgements require updating, his approach remains valuable, not only for thinking about enduring problems of violence and security, but also, as a starting point, for thinking about many issues that Bull himself neglected. However, the contributors also develop important criticisms of Bull's approach and identify ways in which it could be strengthened. A key insight is that although 'The Anarchical Society' is famous for explicating the concept of 'international society', there is more to it than that
Scholars of international relations generally invoke Hobbes as the quintessential theorist of international anarchy. David Armitage challenges this characterisation, arguing that Hobbes is regarded as a foundational figure in international relations theory in spite of as much as because of what he wrote on the subject. Thus, for Armitage, Hobbes is not the theorist of anarchy that he is made out to be. This article agrees with the general thrust of Armitage's critique while maintaining that it is still possible to imagine Hobbes as a theorist of anarchy. Hobbes is a theorist of anarchy, not in a political sense, but in a metaphysical sense. This conception of anarchy is a reflection of a comprehensive theological account of reality that is grounded in an omnipotent God. Any historical inquiry into the foundations of modern international thought must take account of theology, because theology defines the ultimate coordinates of reality in terms of which the concepts of international thought are intelligible. [Copyright Elsevier Ltd.]