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Machiavelli, The Prince: Chapter 6, 7 & 8

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Political Science
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Clifford Orwin

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thPOL200Y1 Visions of the JustGood Society January 25 2012Machiavelli The Prince Chapter 6 78 Chapter 6 y As I remarked in the day section of our course Id describe this chapter as world breaking and world makingA world is a dangerous thing to break and an equally dangerous one to makeIts in this chapter that Machiavelli reaches his point of no return y The theme of the chapter is the loftiest political examplesAmong these Machiavelli includes Moses the greatest of the Hebrew prophets bringer of Gods law to the Israelites on the authenticity of whose prophecy Christianity and Islam also relyYet no sooner does Machiavelli mention Moses than he must apologize for his presence in this chapter Moses just doesnt belong in this chapter or in this bookYet even having admitted this Machiavelli goes on to treat him anyway once again offering egregious evidence of his incompetence as a writerUnlessYou do the mathMachiavelli certainly isnt going to do it for youthe greatest political examples And they are new princes in new y Themeprincipalities y Machiavellis examples are not wannabes but inventorstheir ideasinfluence has lasted much longer than themselves Moses Romulus Cyrus Theseus Why is Moses incongruous with the others listed He was ordered by God and had the gracesWas he too good for the rest of the company or not good enoughy At hindsight he seems not good enough Whereas others succeeded through their own virtue Moses depended on the virtue and guidance of someone else y But it just so happens that he was dependent on God which to any pious person means he was greater To any Christian etc Moses is Way better y Evidently theres a conflation between two kinds of virtue politicalhuman virtue and supernaturalgodlike virtue goodnessSo whether he is too good or not good enough depends on your perspective y So why is Moses included y Machiavelli says later on that Cyrus Romulus etc were successful because they did the same things as Moses who had so great a teacher there was nothing that Moses did that Cyrus Romulus etc did without even using gods instruction y If Cyrus Theseus etc did the same thing without the help of God then Moses could have also accomplish this wo the existence of Gody This is planting a nasty seed about Moses Moses does belong in this chapter because he was not a servant of God He was an imposter Remember even Cyrus etc were held by the pagans to be sons of gods preferred by the oracles
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