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Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 (Hackett Classics) [Hardcover]

Thomas Hobbes , Edwin Curley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 1994 0872201783 978-0872201781
This new edition of Hobbe's masterpiece is uniquely suited to meet the needs of both student and scholar. It offers a brilliant introduction by Edwin Curley, modernised spelling and punctuation of the text, and a key annotative feature found in no other edition: the inclusion, along with historical and interpretive notes, of the most significant variants between the English version of 1651 and the Latin version of 1668. A glossary of seventeenth century English terms and indexes of persons, subjects, and scriptural passages help make this the most thoughtfully conceived edition of Leviathan available.

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Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 (Hackett Classics) + Second Treatise of Government
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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Plainly the best edition of Leviathan. Superbly edited and indexed, with footnote passages from the Latin edition, a helpful glossary, biographical and autobiographical material, and a translation of Hobbes on the Nicene Creed, it will be an indispensable study tool. Curley's introduction is masterly.


A scholar's edition at a student price! --Harvey Mansfield, Harvard University

Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Hardcover: 584 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Pub Co (March 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872201783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872201781
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition August 11, 2006
There are lots of editions of Leviathan around, so why buy this one? The things the editor, Ed Curley, has done to make this edition accessible yet scholarly, like:

1. Updated spelling and punctuation. Although I personally miss Hobbes' original spelling (see the Penguin edition for that), as a teacher I appreciate Ed's making it easier for beginners and ESL students to read Hobbes' words.

2. Index. Most editions do not have one.

3. Glossary. Hobbes used many terms that are now archaic, and Ed's brief but clear glossary helps clarify the text.

4. Ed's Introduction. Curley is one of the most careful and knowledgeable commentators on Hobbes, and he briefly but expertly introduces some of the major themes of the book.

5. Latin variants. Hobbes wrote Leviathan in English and in Latin, and there are some interesting differences between the two versions. Ed presents many of these in the footnotes, plus he includes English translations of the Appendices of the Latin version.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Work of Philosophy in English June 10, 2005
This is one of the few books in western thought that cannot recieve enough praise. It is all at the same time a compilation of classical and medieval thought, a biting commentary and critique of 17th century Europe (England in particular), an exploration of philosophy as science, and to top it all off the first truly modern work of political philosophy. This is one of those works that anyone who truly wants to call themselves educated must read, whether their focus of studies is philosophy, politics, literature, science or even mathematics.

The fundamental nature of this work is to construct a reasoned materialistic account of human behavior starting from basic definitions and postulates (very similar to geometry). From these basic principles Hobbes constructs an account of human physchology based on human desires which then culminates in man's need to leave the natural state of the world into the constructed society, which Hobbes calls the leviathan. I cannot even attempt to give a summation of the steps of Hobbes's argument here that would do him justice, but suffice it to say that Hobbes's conclusion is that in order to be happy and safe man must give up his rights to a strong soveriegn. This is a conclusion that may not look modern or attractive at all to most readers, but Hobbes's reasonong is so clear and detailed that it forces the reader to, if not agree with all of his principles, at least take them very seriously. This is one of those books that forces one to reaxamine all of their assumptions about the world. Hobbes is also one of those misunderstood authors who are portrayed as being cold and ruthless, but are simply trying to provide their readers with an accurate and analytic account of humanities problems and hopefully providing solutions.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Hobbes's LEVIATHAN is not only the most important work of political philosophy ever written in English, it is the work - even more than the writings of Francis Bacon - that kicked off the English tradition in philosophy. Many other claims are made for it, some praiseworthy, some negative. Its materialism caused countless authors to condemn its atheism, while its cold equations reduced man to his "price", in the eyes of many kicking off the tradition that ended with von Mises, Hayek, and Gary Becker (whether fair or not). He is also one of the earliest major figures in the social contract and natural law traditions. On almost every level it remains one of the most original and important books in the history of philosophy, and might be, even today, the most important philosophical book ever written in English, whether you agree with a word he writes.

The problem with Amazon is that it often clumps editions under a single roof. And editorial comments might have nothing to do with the version one is about to purchase. I own five editions of Hobbes's masterpiece, yet I don't own the best edition, the one edited by Noel Malcolm and which is referred to in the editorial reviews section: Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes). I would love to own this, but I simply don't have $300 to drop on a book, even in three volumes. But if Malcolm's intro is anything up to the level of what he did with Hobbes's CORRESPONDENCE, it qualifies as something that any serious student of Hobbes should read.

The five editions I own are the ones edited by Curley (Hackett), Tuck (Cambridge), Macpherson (Penguin), Shapiro (Yale), and Martinich (Broadview).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nasty, Brutish, and Short November 16, 2010
In the State of Nature that is. Hobbes was an educator for the elite his entire adult life and produced this masterpiece while he was into his sixties. It is nothing short of superior in terms of style, clarity, and depth. The other reviewers have already said much, but I would like to discuss the impact of the State of Nature conception. Through his experiences in enduring the reprehensible atrocities of the English Civil War between Cromwell and the Elites(Royalists), Hobbes asserts that without civilization as master, human beings are in constant competition (often violent) for "what is available". Thus life is nasty, brutish, and short. Contrast this with the romantic conceptions of Rousseau (I tend to think more in the favor of Hobbes here). This conclusion conceived in 1651 is obviously a tremendous leap forward for knowledge and a great influence on scholarly thinking continuing through this day. It is a concept that is continuously revisited by hard and social science alike.

Hobbes appears contradictory in today's views. On one hand he finds that human beings are virtually equal where no one man is so superior to the rest of the herd that he may be immortal. However, Hobbes is absolutely defiant in his reasoning that civilization must divest full power to one individual. This way, the competitive nature of humans will be quashed under the interest of serving the leader. Everyone must have full faith in the authority of the ruler.

It is worthwhile to seriously consider these arguments and to observe how they have evolved in the modern state which you occupy today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hobbes, Thomas
my favorite interpretation ( I don't read Latin ) of Hobbes , Hackett 1994. a much better one than the one studied in school. very pleased I purchased it.
Published 4 days ago by RAD
3.0 out of 5 stars Needed For University Class
This is not what you would call pleasure reading by any means but what necessary for my kids university class
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy students
I enjoy this book very much. It is such a classic. I got it for my Philosophy class, and I recommend it to others.
Published 8 months ago by Michael Bowen
5.0 out of 5 stars Hackett edition is an Excellent, Modernized version.
So, you are thinking about buying an edition of Hobbes' Leviathan. But the question is, which version do you want? Read more
Published 9 months ago by What's in a name?
3.0 out of 5 stars later than i expected
perhaps, i misread it, but it got here quite a deal slower than i expected. i gave myself a fairly conservative amount of time for the book to came in, yet was two days later than... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Devin Jude Porche
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant -- Required Reading
Hobbes is one of the greatest thinkers in history. The educated man or woman should read and study "Leviathan." It is particularly relevant in these perilous times.
Published 18 months ago by Everyman
4.0 out of 5 stars Adequate Edition-Good Value
With such a book, any comments must not be about Hobbes, since a criticism of the philosopher's position is rather out of place given the present context-that is, a review to... Read more
Published on June 13, 2012 by mp
3.0 out of 5 stars Hugely important and hugely boring
t's not hard to see why this is considered so important. He goes one step beyond Machiavelli and just totally blows apart the last remaining shreds of virtue-derived political... Read more
Published on March 4, 2012 by jafrank
3.0 out of 5 stars (White) Man against (White) man in Nature
The Leviatian is one of Thomas Hobbes' most famous political tracts. It is an important part of the (white) Western tradition of political science and political philosophy. Read more
Published on June 25, 2011 by Herbert L Calhoun
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Hackett edition (with some comparisons)
Hobbes wrote in English, so when it comes to English editions, translation is not an issue. For that reason, there are several good English editions of Leviathan out there. Read more
Published on April 8, 2010 by John Buridan
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