Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Susan Buck-Morss

Committee Members

Jack Jacobs

Carol Gould

Subject Categories

History of Philosophy | Political Science | Political Theory | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


thomas hobbes, bruno bauer, john maynard keynes, eschatology, political theology


A long-standing political-theological critique contends that liberalism lacks the capacity to address theological challenges, and qualitative political challenges more generally. This charge is prevalent in our current age of crises, when the capacity to address such challenges is essential to any political tradition’s self-legitimation. I argue that the liberal tradition, broadly conceived, has long contended with theological challenges, particularly during modern revolutionary periods. Theological discourses, especially eschatological ones, circulate widely in these moments. Modern political actors impute cosmic significance to the events of their present, with a central analogy crystallizing between revolution and apocalypse. Reading major theorists of three modern revolutions through this analogical lens—Thomas Hobbes on the English Civil Wars, Bruno Bauer on the Märzrevolution, and John Maynard Keynes on the October Revolution—this dissertation sketches how the modern liberal tradition has been shaped by the interpolation of eschatological tropes across the terrains of theology, politics, and economics.