Roman civil religion and the question of Jewish politics in Arendt

Miguel E. Vatter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses the question of how Arendt's mature "neo-Roman" republican political theory relates to her early Jewish Writings. It argues that her early reflections on the problem of Jewish politics in modernity already adopt one of the main pillars of her later republican political theory, i.e., the substitution of federalism for sovereignty. The article puts forth the hypothesis that Arendt's republicanism takes up the idea that Romans and Jews, during their republican periods, both held a "civil" conception of religion. Arendt's conception of civil religion is analyzed in light of her readings of Virgil. The article concludes that Arendt's mature political thought is neither "non-religious" nor contains a "political theology" but that it does put forward a civil-religious interpretation of natality and plurality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-606
Number of pages34
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Arendt
  • Jewish politics
  • political theory
  • Natality
  • Virgil
  • Judaism
  • Republicanism
  • Secularism
  • Civil religion


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