Political Theory

“Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God”: Religion, Resistance, and Rebellion


This conference examined the foundations and implications of “resistance theory”—the people’s right to resist the demands of a tyrant—in the writings of John Calvin, John Knox, Algernon Sidney, and other early Reformed and Congregational thinkers. All readings were from primary sources.


Conference Readings

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960.

Cotton, John. The Keyes Of the Kingdom of Heaven, and Power thereof, according to the Word of God. Boston: S. K. Whiple & Co., 1852.

Cotton, John Sr.. "Sermon upon A Day of Publique thanksgiving (1651)." The William and Mary Quarterly (January 1980): 110-124.

Goodman, Christopher. How Superior Powers Ought To Be Obeyed By Their Subjects and Wherein They May Be Lawfully By God's Word Be Disobeyed and Resisted. New York: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2004.

Knox, John. On Rebellion. Edited by Roger A. Mason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Languet, Hubert. A Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants. New York: Burt Franklin, 1972.

Milton, John. Areopagitica and Other Political Writings of John Milton. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999.

Rutherford, Samuel. Lex Rex, the Law and the Prince. Penn Laird: Sprinkle Publications, 1982.

Sidney, Algernon. Discourses Concerning Government. Edited by Thomas G. West. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1996.