The Review of Politics

Research Article

Privacy's Background

Larry Peterman

The article examines the setting, in the broadest terms historically, for our contemporary sense of privacy. Given our obvious preoccupation with privacy, there is no need to recite why such an examination might pay dividends. The article has three parts, a consideration of the ancient perspective on privacy by way mostly of Plato and Aristotle, a shorter consideration of the Old Testament perspective, and a consideration of the New Testament and Christian perspective, which is taken to be the primary impulse to our present viewpoint. I conclude with a brief suggestion about a contemporary political problem inherent in this viewpoint.