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 The Divine Right of Kings

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Caro
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PostSubject: The Divine Right of Kings   Wed 28 Jan 2015, 22:53

On another board, not particularly historical concerned, there has been discussion of royalty (wrt Tony Abbot and the Australian government knighting Prince Philip).  One person has argued that without the divine right of kings there is no right for the monarchy to exist.  I don't care about that sort of argument, having more practical reasons for preferring the monarchy.

But when did the concept of the divine right of kings originate? It surely wasn't part of the Saxon era with the witan. And why really? And can we say it disappeared with the Stuarts? I certainly don't think of the Hanoverians as ruling divinely. If there was really an acceptance of this, how do you explain the war between Stephen and Matilda?  One of them must have had God's approval and surely that shouldn't have been argued?
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Thu 29 Jan 2015, 00:32

I suspect the earliest kings needed not only a divine right, but a pretty formidable left - it was a fairly typical fascist system, where the right to rule was established by the ability to suppress anyone with a different view - this can be seen as the basis for the monarch's power in Britain as late as 1688.
"Might trumps right" is the basic law.

  Surely there is a clue to "divine right" here - 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW9Uudkx42g
After 1 Kings 1:38–40
Zadok the Priest, and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King.
And all the people rejoiced, and said:
God save the King! Long live the King!
May the King live for ever,
Amen, Allelujah.
where the anointing* of the king marked him out as appointed by God to rule


 *Ambrose Bierce defined it thus "Anoint, v.: To grease a king or other great functionary already sufficiently slippery." -


edited - mistyped 1688 as 1686, reformatted the lyrics..


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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Thu 29 Jan 2015, 04:11

The divine right of kings? I'd call it the divine right of the people.

A king can only exist as long as the people tolerate him to exist, as the French, Russians, Greeks etc showed us very well. The British monarchy is only still in Buc palace because the majority of the public either wish them to be there or tolerate them to be there.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Thu 29 Jan 2015, 21:19

Caro,

http://historum.com/european-history/81099-divine-right-kings-4.html

my message 35. I will now seek for my messages in the French Passion Histoire...
Most Agnlo-Saxon texts refer to James II, but as usual I have another opinion...

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Thu 29 Jan 2015, 21:59

Caro,

found it:
http://www.passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=36744&hilit=le+sacr%C3%A9+rois+de+france
My messages from 4 Oct, 5 Oct, 6 October 2014.
Perhaps with your rusty French...and a lot is first written in English and then translated in French..
And the best about the start of reigning by divine right (par la grâce de Dieu) is perhaps this;
http://goo.gl/W4jxQG


Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Thu 29 Jan 2015, 23:14

Caro wrote:
But when did the concept of the divine right of kings originate?

In a Christian sense with the ruler declared to be appointed by God the concept can be traced back legally to the Corpus Juris Civilis, a body of written law ordered to be compiled by Justinian I, and in particular the portion called the Codex Justinianus. This contains a description in black and white terms of the triangular division of power between God, the emperor and everyone else. The ultimate authority is God himself but it is the ruler who is burdened with ensuring this authority is respected. The emperor's laws therefore are to be considered automatically God-approved, as is his station and his inviolability.

This codex lived on in Western Europe in fits and starts. Some societies, such as England for example, were never really reliant on it having evolved a legal system of their own in which the power and role of the king was defined equally well - arguably better - by reference to locally evolved traditions and practices. Irish Brehon law was another example of such a system. Both could accommodate the Christian church at the heart of the political process but did not require its authority in the matter of deciding who earned the right to rule and how.

Germanic societies on the other hand seem to have been the ones who most kept the Justinian code as the basis of written law when such was required and in the process seem therefore also to have been most amenable to the concept of the ruler as divinely appointed. "Convert" regimes such as the Viking colony which would become Normandy also were attracted to claiming divine right to rule as a primary validation of their rulers' activities. As such Norman expansion, as well as Habsburg rise to power a little later, spread this notion even further.

In the 16th century Jean Bodin addressed the thorny issue of relative importance between kings and popes, both claiming now to be God-appointed and with the role of speaking "for" God according to Justinian principles, by declaring a distinct division between secular and spiritual authority, a king having divinely approved responsibility for the first (though secular power could well be applied to the administrative side of the church if the monarch deemed it fit to do so). His books came out in a period when the Codex Justinianus was in something of a resurgence of popularity and several states were beginning to seriously attempt to compile extensive codes of law that could be applied with some uniformity. Bodin's timely definition of a secular power with divine attributes in the person of a monarch was immediately popular with such rulers in a Europe in which the Reformation had already begun to pose some serious questions regarding just how much right a monarch had to legislate about religion at all. His definition therefore suited both the monarch who wished to portray himself as a staunch defender of the established church as well as the monarch who, like Henry VIII in England, was using the same power to reinvent the state religion on Protestant lines.

France was where Bodin's intervention was first lapped up by a monarchy which wasted no time in taking the logical step from Bodin's sense of divine responsibility inherent in the role of kingship to an explicitly expressed divine right to rule. Henry in the meantime used the very same logic to explain his own activities. However as a coded part of the machinery of kingship in Britain it would not be until the Stuarts (via French influence in Scotland) that the term became an accepted definition publicly of royal rule there also, and reverted pretty much to lip service in any case once the Stuart dynasty was eventually replaced by monarchs who knew all too well that God had had little say in how they got their hands on the crown or how long they'd be allowed hold on to it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Fri 30 Jan 2015, 09:22

Further to this ...

I was reminded of a comment made by Riuaidhrí Ó Chonchubhair (Rory O'Connor, High King of Ireland) when, during the preliminary rounds of the agreement that would become The Treaty Of Windsor which ceded overlordship of Ireland to the English monarch, he asked the papal legate who was acting as middle-man between the monarchs by what right did Henry II claim kingship at all? The legate replied that Henry assumed the role by God's grace and had a letter from none other than the pope himself which confirmed this divine appointment. Ruaidhrí, who had no such document but instead had negotiated and fought his way to kingship amongst his peers, replied "Then in England God is made to meddle in things that no man here who considers himself a gentleman would ever cause to concern him".
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sat 31 Jan 2015, 21:35

nordmann wrote:
In the 16th century Jean Bodin addressed the thorny issue of relative importance between kings and popes, both claiming now to be God-appointed and with the role of speaking "for" God according to Justinian principles, by declaring a distinct division between secular and spiritual authority, a king having divinely approved responsibility for the first (though secular power could well be applied to the administrative side of the church if the monarch deemed it fit to do so). His books came out in a period when the Codex Justinianus was in something of a resurgence of popularity and several states were beginning to seriously attempt to compile extensive codes of law that could be applied with some uniformity. Bodin's timely definition of a secular power with divine attributes in the person of a monarch was immediately popular with such rulers in a Europe in which the Reformation had already begun to pose some serious questions regarding just how much right a monarch had to legislate about religion at all. His definition therefore suited both the monarch who wished to portray himself as a staunch defender of the established church as well as the monarch who, like Henry VIII in England, was using the same power to reinvent the state religion on Protestant lines.




Hadn't Tyndale, with his Obedience of a Christian Man, published in 1528, beaten Bodin (who was born in 1530) to it?

The Obedience of a Christen man, and how Christen rulers ought to govern, wherein also (if thou mark diligently) thou shalt find eyes to perceive the crafty convience of all iugglers is a 1528 book by the English Protestant author William Tyndale. Its title is now commonly modernized in its spelling and abbreviated to The Obedience of a Christian Man. It was first published by Merten de Keyser in Antwerp, and is best known for advocating that the king of a country was the head of that country's church, rather than the pope, and to be the first instance, in the English language at any rate, of advocating the divine right of kings, a concept mistakenly attributed to the Catholic Church.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sat 31 Jan 2015, 22:12

The Sumerian belief was that kingship was "let down from Heaven" after the flood of Atrahasis - but of course there was a separation between the lugal and the ensi, not dissimilar from some of the Greek "sacred kings" who did not necessarily wield power. To what extent such pre-christian concepts carried over is, I suspect, a point that will be hard to clarify with any degree of certainty.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sat 31 Jan 2015, 22:34

Nordmann,

"In a Christian sense with the ruler declared to be appointed by God the concept can be traced back legally to the Corpus Juris Civilis, a body of written law ordered to be compiled by Justinian I, and in particular the portion called the Codex Justinianus. This contains a description in black and white terms of the triangular division of power between God, the emperor and everyone else. The ultimate authority is God himself but it is the ruler who is burdened with ensuring this authority is respected. The emperor's laws therefore are to be considered automatically God-approved, as is his station and his inviolability."

You can be right about the Codex Justinianus, but up to now I saw it as a cooperation between the Church and the secular authorities, a kind of a pact between the pope and Pepin the Short, because the pope needed Pepin to defend him against the Longobards and Pepin needed the pope to legitimate his kingship...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_of_the_French_monarch

"Following perhaps the Byzantine or visigothic formula, the French coronation ceremony called Sacre primarily included the anointing or unction of the king and was consequently first held in Soissons in 752 for the Carolingian king Pepin the short to legitimate his deposition of the last of the Merovingian kings, since they were only elected by an assembly of nobles inside the royal family and according to hereditary rules. A second coronation of Pepin by Pope Stephen II took place at the Basilica of St Denis in 754 which is the first recorded by a Pope. The unction served as a reminder of the baptism of king Clovis I in Rheims by archbishop Saint Remi in 496/499, where the ceremony was finally transferred in 816 and completed with the use of the Holy Ampulla found in 869 in the grave of the Saint. Since this Roman glass vial containing the balm due to be mixed with chrism, was allegedly brought by the dove of the Holy Spirit, the French monarchs claimed to receive their power by divine right."

From the English side James I supported his reigning by divine right  by his "The True Law of Free Monarchies" 1598
http://www.saburchill.com/history/chapters/chap4002.html

"In the 16th century Jean Bodin addressed the thorny issue of relative importance between kings and popes, both claiming now to be God-appointed and with the role of speaking "for" God according to Justinian principles, by declaring a distinct division between secular and spiritual authority, a king having divinely approved responsibility for the first (though secular power could well be applied to the administrative side of the church if the monarch deemed it fit to do so). His books came out in a period when the Codex Justinianus was in something of a resurgence of popularity and several states were beginning to seriously attempt to compile extensive codes of law that could be applied with some uniformity. Bodin's timely definition of a secular power with divine attributes in the person of a monarch was immediately popular with such rulers in a Europe in which the Reformation had already begun to pose some serious questions regarding just how much right a monarch had to legislate about religion at all."


And I found your Jean Bodin in the wiki article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Bodin


Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 00:44

Yes Paul, the Carolingian kings definitely promoted the old Justinian concept, which in itself was a Constantinian concept simply made into a rule of law and by which the ruler is firmly placed in a divine scheme just short of deity. Constantine may have introduced Christianity as a state religion but he also reserved the right to select the bishops in that deal, and the pope after all is simply another bishop in that order of things.

What waxed and waned throughout the Dark Ages was the relevance of written law, not whatever individual dynasties thought about their own divine right to rule. Unctions and ointments signifying divine approval were the trappings of many dynasties' coronation ceremonies but not all of them paid as much attention to codifying this relationship - and from what I have read nor were they encouraged to do so either by the church, in whose interest it was to promote its own role as intermediary between the king and God.

Temp is right when she points out that this matter of codifying the route of divine authority from heaven to earth was something that began taxing minds again at the time of the Reformation, and that it was Protestants who tackled it first at this time. Understandably too, since it was vital to excise the Catholic church from the chain while still keeping the line of divine rule intact, and the ruler was the natural recipient of all that had hitherto been shared out, not always in quite the same way within different states, between the secular and church leaders and administrations. Bodin's genius (though I suspect unintentionally so - he was addressing wider philosophical questions) was to formulate a wording acceptable to all parties, Protestant and Catholic, and in doing so helping everyone who was setting about drawing up legal codes to include the concept of a divine right to rule without too much contention.

The real truth of the matter, I suspect, apart from all the rituals and trappings that grew to surround the appointment of rulers, was that all rulers were tempted to pronounce divine approval for their roles and their actions while at the same time this was immediately forgotten by their peers when a challenge to that rule was mounted, as so often happened. Political power and who wielded it, even when the church got involved, was at root always a secular matter and if God did indeed have favourites He was always prepared to take a back seat and let the mortals slog it out to see who His next favourite should be.

It would be in post-Reformation Europe that monarchs would at last assume in strictly legal terms a monopoly on holding this assumed divine favour. In Britain this was best represented by the coronation of James VI of Scotland, later to become James I of England. At this earlier coronation when James was still a baby John Knox delivered an oration stating in no uncertain terms that James was to be God's lieutenant on earth - Knox brooked no intermediaries in that chain of command (though he knew that by James being brought up in the Protestant faith he would have influence in "helping" the young king interpret divine will). However this was a much bolder claim than any monarch in Britain had previously had made on his or her behalf when being crowned before. The status of the monarch in divine terms had been elevated to something more than a mere humble servant of God as before, defenders of God's will rather than executives in the process. The Stuarts were to retain that belief in their peculiar position as divinely inviolate, to the cost of Charles I's life and James II's crown. The absolutism however died out with them and British monarchs ever since have reverted to their status of being servants of God again, with the implication that they qualify therefore for guidance to that end from the spiritual advisors to be found in the state church of which they are nominally head but to which the function of divining God's will has reverted.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 08:17

nordmann wrote:
It would be in post-Reformation Europe that monarchs would at last assume in strictly legal terms a monopoly on holding this assumed divine favour. In Britain this was best represented by the coronation of James VI of Scotland, later to become James I of England. At this earlier coronation when James was still a baby John Knox delivered an oration stating in no uncertain terms that James was to be God's lieutenant on earth - Knox brooked no intermediaries in that chain of command (though he knew that by James being brought up in the Protestant faith he would have influence in "helping" the young king interpret divine will). However this was a much bolder claim than any monarch in Britain had previously had made on his or her behalf when being crowned before. The status of the monarch in divine terms had been elevated to something more than a mere humble servant of God as before, defenders of God's will rather than executives in the process. The Stuarts were to retain that belief in their peculiar position as divinely inviolate, to the cost of Charles I's life and James II's crown. The absolutism however died out with them and British monarchs ever since have reverted to their status of being servants of God again, with the implication that they qualify therefore for guidance to that end from the spiritual advisors to be found in the state church of which they are nominally head but to which the function of divining God's will has reverted.





Tyndale's little book did indeed seem a godsend: Henry VIII didn't like Tyndale's Bible translation, but when Anne Boleyn gave him Obedience to read, he was delighted. He exclaimed: "This is a book for me and all kings to read.”

Well, yes and no. It certainly seemed to be excellent stuff, exhorting as it did subjects to obey their king in all things - telling them that they should not rebel even against a tyrannical ruler.

But there was a tiny weasel phrase in Tyndale that held the seeds of the destruction of the Divine Right. Elton says that possibly only two men in England at the time, both lawyers, picked up on its significance - Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More. It's on page 54 of the book:

"...likewise if thy rulers were always kind, thou shouldest not know whether thine obedience were pure or no: but and if thou canst patiently obey evil rulers in all things that is not to the dishonour of God: and when thou hurtest not not thy neighbours, then art thou sure, that God's spirit worketh in thee and that thy faith is no dream nor any false imagination."

"...in all things that is not to the dishonour of God" - now there's a slippery and potentially very useful phrase. It is what John Knox had in mind during that stormy interview at Holyrood when he told James VI's weeping mother (the future Regent of Scotland, Lord James Stewart, who took over when Mary was removed from power, was present at the interview) that he would tolerate her for the time being - his ominous comment, which owed little to courtly flattery and surely much to Tyndale, was that he was "to be as well content to live under your Grace as Paul was to live under Nero" - provided she did not defile her hands by dipping them in the blood of the saints of God. As Antonia Fraser points out: "He still firmly asserted the rights of subjects to rise up against an unworthy ruler, who opposed God's word."

Mmm. Divine right?

PS Hope this makes some kind of sense - I'm still half asleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 10:50

It makes perfect sense. The Protestant quandary was what to do if the god-fearing subjects found themselves under the rule of a monarch who - horror of horrors - should attempt to make them kow-tow to a strict adherence to the Catholic faith (other heresies were also considered but that was the big one). At the time Tyndale was writing England had yet to make even baby steps in the direction of reformation - none of Europe's powerful monarchies had as yet - so he was dealing with what today we would call projection theory, attempting to establish a Protestant rationale on how future monarchy would function but at a time when the views he professed were still regarded as minority and dissension, however "right" they were in his mind. As it happened his "projection" was one that appealed to a king willing to reinvent the universe if it meant securing his dynastic ambitions. It actually helped Henry that Tyndale's political philosophy had been so crudely and simplistically phrased, but that was simple coincidence and timing, we might even surmise opportunism on Henry's part. We know what Henry deduced and then went ahead to do using Tyndale's book as part validation, but we can also be pretty sure that this was not quite what Tyndale had been proposing theoretically at all.

The question proposed by Tyndale in other words was not fully answered by Henry's later actions. And nor would it be elsewhere in Europe as more rulers got in on the Protestant act, not always for reasons which could even pretend to have been spiritual. In fact this was a question to which Protestant theologians and planners would come back to again and again as church reform along Protestant lines received more and more political backing throughout Europe. As the Protestant voice grew stronger and could speak out with less prospect of being silenced, as Tyndale's had, then the issue of the relationship between the Protestant subject and their ruler became, if anything, one of the core topics to be addressed.

To me it is both ironic and proof of the limits of imagination of early Protestant political philosophers that few (Calvin and Zwingli being notable exceptions *) could see beyond monarchical rule at all. For them the equation was simple - take the old Catholic church out of it and one is left with God and king as the ensurers of good government. This became known as absolutism and was a huge hit, understandably, with the monarchs themselves, even the ones who forcibly retained Catholicism. However, as it developed, Tyndale's original proviso regarding what to do with a ruler who "dishonoured God" led into directions that none of the early Reformation thinkers had apparently envisaged.

Hobbes, in England, was a committed absolutist. However he also was one of the first to actually define in nitty gritty terms what bad government was and what to do about it (replace a "bad" monarch with a "good" one). Locke would later reject absolutism and take the next logical step - if a monarch can be deemed so bad that it would be in the interest of the common good to depose him then this should be accepted as a common right, in fact a duty of the responsible citizen, and the machinery for its enactment should be enshrined in common law with adherence to that principle equalling or even exceeding in terms of duty and belief any religiously held equivalent. By the time of Paine the originally simplistic and absolutist assertion that Tyndale, amongst others, had first tentatively expressed had now reached a logical conclusion a million miles away from what Tyndale could ever have even imagined; if the king is absolutely right when he's right then it follows that he can be absolutely wrong when he's wrong, and a "wrong" king has no right to rule. In fact absolutism is an inverted admission that the real purveyor of royal power is the people themselves. Better a system therefore in place which is not contingent on risking absolute failure in the hope of absolute success through a naive belief in the absolute authority of a monarch, and which realistically strives to achieve the greater good for the most people all the time, the strength of the system being that it can absorb and survive small failures along the way. Absolute right and wrong, in other words, were no longer spiritual considerations but vested completely in the will and welfare of the citizenry and valid only in aspirational terms. Religion could inform and steer the individual's aspirations, but could play no role beyond influence in the machinery of state committed to communally achieving these ideals. The validation of such communally held ideals and the validity of the actions taken to achieve them were now to be conferred by only one means - effective political representation - and would no longer even slightly lie within the ambit of religion at all.

What the early Protestants had set in motion was a philosophy that marginalised religion within the political process, ironically by initially investing way too much responsibility for the upkeep of social morality defined according to religious principles in the person of one individual, the king. This was a flaw in the "logic" of divinity as expressed in terms of secular power that had existed long before the Reformation of course and one very often exploited, sometimes abusively, by monarchs, but it was one that had been accommodated and papered over largely through the presence of a commonly agreed power broker with spiritual dimensions acting with consensual authority in what really were secular affairs of governance - the Catholic church. Once that broker was removed then the stark political realities grew even starker and ultimately demanded solutions removed from consideration of spirituality completely.

* In Switzerland the existing political system, and in particular the state's recent history as the provider of effective mercenary armed power enforcing both sides of the crystallising religious divide in the Thirty Years War, allowed theologians to recognise and dismiss the requirement for a monarch in the matter of divine governance and examine alternatives much earlier than in the rest of Europe. Natives such as Zwingli, and refugees such as Calvin and Farel, could not only theorise about removing the king from the equation but actually help put the resultant experiment of alternative governance into practice. Not for them the thorny issue of shoe-horning man's personal relationship with God into a system in which the monarch had been elevated to prime intermediary (largely through monarchical absolutist decree and not communal assent), but rather the advocacy of devising systems of governance that accommodated the former while ensuring that secular issues were still addressed and the common good maintained, king or no king. It was this, rather than any overt religious considerations, which ultimately scared the shit out of the monarchs in Europe, so much so that it was deemed forbidden to voice opposition to Calvinism and the ilk in political terms, even in some monarchies disposed to Protestantism. The crime of heresy accompanied such discussion and was used as a very real dissuasion to contemplating reform of any description, let alone religious, except in a manner approved by the state. Catholic states went even further. In France, for example, it was enough to have even the most die-hard Catholic monarchist executed simply to say the man's name, even in derision, so seditious was its effect according to the Catholic monarch.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 14:43

That's exactly what I was going to say, nordmann, but didn't have time this morning.  Smile

Seriously - jolly interesting. Thank you.

I don't understand all the political theory stuff - Hobbes and Locke and all - wish I did. There's a book by Professor B. Pardue of the University of Tennessee which examines this (in relation to Tyndale), but I can't remember the title. No time now either, but will try and dig it out later.



EDIT: http://www.brill.com/printing-power-and-piety


Printing, Power, and Piety: Appeals to the Public during the Early Years of the English Reformation There's a bit about Tyndale, Hobbes and Locke on a Google.Books link, but unfortunately I can't copy it or the page link.



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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 14:52

Appropriate surname for one working in this area, Pardue.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 17:44

Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Appropriate surname for one working in this area, Pardue.

Gil, you got me again, I, the continental European...

Some enigmatic I don't now what...first my dictionary...then the internet...
And found this enigmatic connection...?
http://teacherweb.com/CA/MurrietaValleyHighSchool/MrsPardue/index.aspx

You started it and you have to explain it too to your continental friend...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 17:47

Nordmann,

thank you very much for your excellent review of the question in the early hours of this morning. Yes it explains it nearly all.
I learned a lot from it.

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 17:57

nordmann wrote:
It makes perfect sense. The Protestant quandary was what to do if the god-fearing subjects found themselves under the rule of a monarch who - horror of horrors - should attempt to make them kow-tow to a strict adherence to the Catholic faith (other heresies were also considered but that was the big one). At the time Tyndale was writing England had yet to make even baby steps in the direction of reformation - none of Europe's powerful monarchies had as yet - so he was dealing with what today we would call projection theory, attempting to establish a Protestant rationale on how future monarchy would function but at a time when the views he professed were still regarded as minority and dissension, however "right" they were in his mind. As it happened his "projection" was one that appealed to a king willing to reinvent the universe if it meant securing his dynastic ambitions. It actually helped Henry that Tyndale's political philosophy had been so crudely and simplistically phrased, but that was simple coincidence and timing, we might even surmise opportunism on Henry's part. We know what Henry deduced and then went ahead to do using Tyndale's book as part validation, but we can also be pretty sure that this was not quite what Tyndale had been proposing theoretically at all.

The question proposed by Tyndale in other words was not fully answered by Henry's later actions. And nor would it be elsewhere in Europe as more rulers got in on the Protestant act, not always for reasons which could even pretend to have been spiritual. In fact this was a question to which Protestant theologians and planners would come back to again and again as church reform along Protestant lines received more and more political backing throughout Europe. As the Protestant voice grew stronger and could speak out with less prospect of being silenced, as Tyndale's had, then the issue of the relationship between the Protestant subject and their ruler became, if anything, one of the core topics to be addressed.

To me it is both ironic and proof of the limits of imagination of early Protestant political philosophers that few (Calvin and Zwingli being notable exceptions *) could see beyond monarchical rule at all. For them the equation was simple - take the old Catholic church out of it and one is left with God and king as the ensurers of good government. This became known as absolutism and was a huge hit, understandably, with the monarchs themselves, even the ones who forcibly retained Catholicism. However, as it developed, Tyndale's original proviso regarding what to do with a ruler who "dishonoured God" led into directions that none of the early Reformation thinkers had apparently envisaged.

Hobbes, in England, was a committed absolutist. However he also was one of the first to actually define in nitty gritty terms what bad government was and what to do about it (replace a "bad" monarch with a "good" one). Locke would later reject absolutism and take the next logical step - if a monarch can be deemed so bad that it would be in the interest of the common good to depose him then this should be accepted as a common right, in fact a duty of the responsible citizen, and the machinery for its enactment should be enshrined in common law with adherence to that principle equalling or even exceeding in terms of duty and belief any religiously held equivalent. By the time of Paine the originally simplistic and absolutist assertion that Tyndale, amongst others, had first tentatively expressed had now reached a logical conclusion a million miles away from what Tyndale could ever have even imagined; if the king is absolutely right when he's right then it follows that he can be absolutely wrong when he's wrong, and a "wrong" king has no right to rule. In fact absolutism is an inverted admission that the real purveyor of royal power is the people themselves. Better a system therefore in place which is not contingent on risking absolute failure in the hope of absolute success through a naive belief in the absolute authority of a monarch, and which realistically strives to achieve the greater good for the most people all the time, the strength of the system being that it can absorb and survive small failures along the way. Absolute right and wrong, in other words, were no longer spiritual considerations but vested completely in the will and welfare of the citizenry and valid only in aspirational terms. Religion could inform and steer the individual's aspirations, but could play no role beyond influence in the machinery of state committed to communally achieving these ideals. The validation of such communally held ideals and the validity of the actions taken to achieve them were now to be conferred by only one means - effective political representation - and would no longer even slightly lie within the ambit of religion at all.

What the early Protestants had set in motion was a philosophy that marginalised religion within the political process, ironically by initially investing way too much responsibility for the upkeep of social morality defined according to religious principles in the person of one individual, the king. This was a flaw in the "logic" of divinity as expressed in terms of secular power that had existed long before the Reformation of course and one very often exploited, sometimes abusively, by monarchs, but it was one that had been accommodated and papered over largely through the presence of a commonly agreed power broker with spiritual dimensions acting with consensual authority in what really were secular affairs of governance - the Catholic church. Once that broker was removed then the stark political realities grew even starker and ultimately demanded solutions removed from consideration of spirituality completely.

Nordmann,

another excellent message now about the Protestants. And if I understood it well it always waters down to the action to try by whatever tricks to legitimate the ruler's behaviour in the society...?
And yes splendid proza...you really master the English language...
And to prove my attention...I learned some new words and expressions today...as "baby steps", "papered" and "scared the shit out of"...

Kind regards and with great esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 18:40

PS If you google Pardue - Tyndale - Hobbes - Locke, the link comes up at the top of the page. But do it in that order.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 19:31

Thanks Temperance. I found indeed this:
http://www.brill.com/printing-power-and-piety

And some pages:
http://goo.gl/Cg5ssw

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 19:46

Oh, thank you, Paul. That second link* you kindly give is the one I wanted: it gives Pardue's comments about Hobbesian absolutism and Lockean republicanism which I have been puzzling over - mainly, I must confess, in relation to Thomas Cromwell rather than to the Divine Right of Kings.


* http://goo.gl/Cg5ssw

The notes are interesting - especially 129 and 130. Wish I could copy them, but the site won't let me.


Last edited by Temperance on Mon 02 Feb 2015, 08:49; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 21:00

Nordmann,

what are your comments to the Chinese Mandate of Heaven?
From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings
"Mandate of Heaven[edit]
Main articles: Mandate of Heaven and Son of Heaven


The Emperor of Japan rules as a divine descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu
In China and East Asia, rulers justified their rule with the philosophy of the Mandate of Heaven, which, although similar to the European concept, bore several key differences. While the divine right of kings granted unconditional legitimacy, the Mandate of Heaven was dependent on the behaviour of the ruler, the Son of Heaven. Heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, but it could be displeased with a despotic ruler and thus withdraw its mandate, transferring it to a more suitable and righteous person. This withdrawal of mandate also afforded the possibility of revolution as a means to remove the errant ruler; revolt was never legitimate under the European framework of divine right.
In China, the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler had been a part of the political philosophy ever since the Zhou dynasty, whose rulers had used this philosophy to justify their overthrow of the previous Shang dynasty. Chinese historians interpreted a successful revolt as evidence that the Mandate of Heaven had passed on to the usurper.
In Japan, the Son of Heaven title was less conditional than its Chinese equivalent. There was no divine mandate that punished the emperor for failing to rule justly. The right to rule of the Japanese emperor, descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, was absolute.[6] The Japanese emperors traditionally wielded little secular power; generally, it was the duty of the sitting emperor to perform rituals and make public appearances, while true power was held by regents, high-ranking ministers or even retired emperors depending on the time period."

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sun 01 Feb 2015, 22:05

PaulRyckier wrote:
Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Appropriate surname for one working in this area, Pardue.

Gil, you got me again, I, the continental European...

Some enigmatic I don't now what...first my dictionary...then the internet...
And found this enigmatic connection...?
http://teacherweb.com/CA/MurrietaValleyHighSchool/MrsPardue/index.aspx

You started it and you have to explain it too to your continental friend...

Kind regards, Paul.
Paul :
Pardue as a surname derives from the French "par Dieu" - for or by God.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Mon 02 Feb 2015, 09:56

Paul wrote:
what are your comments to the Chinese Mandate of Heaven?

I was restricting myself to comments on the christian version but since you ask  Smile

As Gil has already pointed out the notion of divinity and kingship is as old as kingship itself, probably even older since it is generally assumed as understood that superstition preceded civilised organisation in human development and that therefore all previous stages in the development of rulers eventually styled as emperors or kings etc must have incorporated versions of the concept.

To me the Oriental traditions generally parallel quite closely the old Roman and Greek models, not in the organisation and characteristics of the ruling elite but in the relationship between the ruling class and the divine, however the details in the description of both might differ. Moreover I think this was the standard model of that relationship until the advent of monotheism (one of the earliest examples of which we know about, Akhenaten in 18th Dynasty Egypt, was interestingly invented it seems by a king/pharaoh in order to consolidate his own power and prestige).

In pantheistic societies however the role of the gods was largely one defined by a general aloofness towards the affairs of mortals which could be tempered or moved to action through properly conducted consultation or entreaty. The "officials" of the relevant organised religions were the ones who did the big-time consulting and entreating and the ruler was normally positioned at the top of this hierarchy in addition to his more secular role where he inhabited the same hierarchical status. Minor exceptions occurred, such as during the Roman Republic when the notion of a permanent ruler had been ditched in favour of consulship, which then necessitated the creation of a rather more permanent Pontifex Maximus to assume this function (though as Julius Caesar exemplified this quickly became simply a transient political stepping stone itself for high achievers, a good indication of the general Roman attitude towards the relative relevance of religion and politics in matters of power and prestige).

Judaeo-Christian monotheism, with its one god who was anything but aloof and more than willing to delegate power to mortals (fortunately for those mortals in high office) changed this relationship between top dog and god fundamentally for those states which adopted it as their state religion. This change was reflected also within the emerging Islamic cultures later. In the new model, be it Christian or Muslim, the ruler could be believed to be in a one-to-one discourse with his deity at all times and was the principal divine delegatee in real power terms on that basis. In practical terms however this quickly became pretty unworkable in matters of foreign affairs and diplomacy when several rulers all had an inside line to the same one deity, for example in the aftermath of Rome's collapse and when rival states quickly emerged all claiming this unique relationship with the one true god but pursuing policies of self-interest on that basis which rapidly brought them into conflict. This was resolved in the Christian case by mutually agreeing to retain a Pontifex Maximus role for an individual who sat slightly outside of normal politics but with an arbitrational role validated by his own comparable direct line to the one god, a facility that allowed the perpetuation of belief in a monotheistic deity while allowing some leeway for rulers to jockey for supremacy in terms of prestige, power and conquest. It wasn't a perfect solution either theologically or in terms of sustainably negotiated peace but it fudged the issue sufficiently to satisfy most parties concerned.

In the Orient however the rather more ancient pantheistic standards carried on in both China and in Japan relatively unchanged right up to more recent times, and one can include Hinduism in this bracket too. In these societies with a less clearly defined chief deity or no chief god at all there was also no resultant invention of a direct-line role for a ruler in which his actions could be portrayed as demands unilaterally placed upon him by the deity. His role was primarily that of supplicant, though a powerful supplicant commensurate with his politically powerful position, just as the emperor in Rome had assumed for himself in post-republican times (for which he received the reward of joining that pantheon upon death). Sometimes particular political developments in particular situations could cause the Oriental ruler to relinquish secular power (rarely voluntarily) and assume more the role of chief supplicant, which in political terms would normally therefore be described as prestigious but symbolic of power rather than actually wielding it (as happened in Japan). But this could also go the opposite way (as in India where various dynasties had the ruler defer to Hindu/Sikh religious leaders when it came to the consultancy role) and the pendulum of religious influence bordering on supreme domestic political power could swing to the priestly classes, the ruler normally reigning on the basis of his military and administrative clout alone. In the latter the matter of "divine appointment" meant less to the emperor than to the priests/gurus etc whose power was contingent on that illusion being maintained. However in both cases it would still have been the norm therefore to at least claim it.

I'd just like to add that at times in the Orient certain societies sometimes did successfully divorce the ruler from the necessity for divine approval for his appointment completely. Just as in Europe with the Roman Republic, Brehon Law, the Witan in England etc, this could occur when the machinery of appointment was more transparently elective but just as effective. During the Edo period in Japan for instance the Shogunate assumed the role of appointing a dynastic leader through clan elections who, though he retained the trappings of divinity in how he was forced to conduct his behaviour and office, he fooled no one with regard to how his position had been given and on whose authority he retained it politically. The Japanese refer to this time as "the peaceful period". It was a period with practially no priests at all.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Mon 02 Feb 2015, 21:31

Shakespeare takes a long, hard look at the Divine Right of kings in his Richard II: he presents Richard as "an exquisite poet" (Walter Pater's description) and as a consummate performer. This is a monarch who spouts (in front of his exasperated nobles) lovely lines such as:

Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord.


Beautifully expressed, but words which are - when push comes to shove and when dealing with aristocratic thugs such as Bolingbroke and Northumberland - pretty meaningless.

Richard II was a spoiled young man, who displayed that unfortunate combination of arrogance and weakness which invariably proved disastrous in anyone, divinely appointed or not, whose job it was to govern the English.

Richard - like Edward II before him and Charles Stuart after him - ended up with no rights, divine or otherwise. He admitted as much, expressing the dismal reality of things beautifully:

...for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable; and, humoured thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence; throw away respect,
Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty;
For you have mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends - subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Mon 02 Feb 2015, 23:14

Compare that with Shakespear's lines on kingship from Henry V on the night before Azincourt :
Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,

Our debts, our careful wives,

Our children and our sins lay on the king!

We must bear all. O hard condition,

Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath

Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel

But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease

Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!

And what have kings, that privates have not too,

Save ceremony, save general ceremony?

And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?

What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more

Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?

What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?

O ceremony, show me but thy worth!

What is thy soul of adoration?

Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,

Creating awe and fear in other men?

Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd

Than they in fearing.

What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,

But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,

And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!

Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out

With titles blown from adulation?

Will it give place to flexure and low bending?

Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,

Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,

That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;

I am a king that find thee, and I know

'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,

The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,

The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,

The farced title running 'fore the king,

The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp

That beats upon the high shore of this world,

No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,

Not all these, laid in bed majestical,

Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,

Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind

Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;

Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,

But, like a lackey, from the rise to set

Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night

Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,

Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,

And follows so the ever-running year,

With profitable labour, to his grave:

And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,

Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,

Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.

The slave, a member of the country's peace,

Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots

What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,

Whose hours the peasant best advantages.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 07:59

Then there's Macbeth, of course...


In England and Scotland, the notion of a king's divine right to rule gained leverage during the reign of King James I. In James’s The True Law of Free Monarchies, first published in 1598, he describes his philosophy concerning monarchy, suggesting that kings are higher beings who owe their kingship to the will of God. The nature of kingship in William Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth reflects James’s theories through the unnatural events that occur following Macbeth’s unlawful rise to the throne. These events are a physical manifestation of the corruption that the couple enacts, a retribution for their murder of the divinely-appointed King Duncan and their subsequent usurpation of the throne.



Is the theory of the "king's two bodies" relevant to this thread?


http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sovereignty/


In his classic, The King's Two Bodies (1957), medievalist Ernst Kantorowicz describes a profound transformation in the concept of political authority over the course of the Middle Ages. The change began when the concept of the body of Christ evolved into a notion of two bodies — one, the corpus naturale, the consecrated host on the altar, the other, the corpus mysticum, the social body of the church with its attendant administrative structure. This latter notion — of a collective social organization having an enduring, mystical essence — would come to be transferred to political entities, the body politic. Kantorowicz then describes the emergence, in the late Middle Ages, of the concept of the king's two bodies, vivified in Shakespeare's Richard II and applicable to the early modern body politic. Whereas the king's natural, mortal body would pass away with his death, he was also thought to have an enduring, supernatural one that could not be destroyed, even by assassination, for it represented the mystical dignity and justice of the body politic. The modern polity that emerged dominant in early modern Europe manifested the qualities of the collectivity that Kantorowicz described — a single, unified one, confined within territorial borders, possessing a single set of interests, ruled by an authority that was bundled into a single entity and held supremacy in advancing the interests of the polity. Though in early modern times, kings would hold this authority, later practitioners of it would include the people ruling through a constitution, nations, the Communist Party, dictators, juntas, and theocracies. The modern polity is known as the state, and the fundamental characteristic of authority within it, sovereignty.



http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6168.html


In 1957 Ernst Kantorowicz published a book that would be the guide for generations of scholars through the arcane mysteries of medieval political theology. In The King's Two Bodies, Kantorowicz traces the historical problem posed by the "King's two bodies"--the body politic and the body natural--back to the Middle Ages and demonstrates, by placing the concept in its proper setting of medieval thought and political theory, how the early-modern Western monarchies gradually began to develop a "political theology."


The king's natural body has physical attributes, suffers, and dies, naturally, as do all humans; but the king's other body, the spiritual body, transcends the earthly and serves as a symbol of his office as majesty with the divine right to rule. The notion of the two bodies allowed for the continuity of monarchy even when the monarch died, as summed up in the formulation "The king is dead. Long live the king."



Too many great chunks of quotes - apologies - but will leave.


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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 10:59

Temperance - me - wrote:

Is the theory of the "king's two bodies" relevant to this thread?


Obviously not. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 16:40

Well, it is relevant, isn't it? At least in so far as it is an application of all that mystical divine stuff to that frequently thorny subject and huge vulnerability which often crops up in monarchy, the issue of succession. In that sense it's just the same as the "divine right to rule" scam, in that it is an overt attempt to employ any logic, even dodgy divine logic, in support of the incumbent's position and dynastic ambitions. However its efficacy is rather less when judged historically than what its use aspires to achieve.

Whether it is true or not does not detract from the humour of one renowned example of how much this has always been regarded with some scepticism by subjects of the crown. When news of Charles II's death was announced formally at a meeting of the Royal Society with the speaker declaring loudly "The King is dead. Long live the King!" the Society's president, a certain Mr Samuel Pepys, audibly retorted before he had time to stop himself "Oh God, I hope not!" much to his fellow members' mirth. (He attempted to rescue himself by saying he was replying to the first bit, but no one believed him).
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 18:24

Of course, Sam was well acquainted with James as Duke of York over naval matters, so he probably had better reason than most to deplore him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 19:25

Yes, Pepys' biggest challenge as Secretary of the Admiralty had always been securing a budget from a miserly monarch (who had prorogued parliament and so retained for himself the role of chancellor), and his second biggest challenge had then been to prevent the monarch's brother, his nominal "boss", from blowing the whole budget on a private whim. The news of James' accession horrified many who saw in him a return to state Catholicism, but for Pepys the horror probably arose from the prospect of never seeing a penny of the naval budget again, James now holding both the purse and the vainglorious plans on which to spend it. Ironically his long "relationship" with James meant that he was seen as the king's man and was forced to resign come the "Glorious Revolution" (and equally ironically a naval budget the likes of which poor Pepys could only ever have dreamt about).
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 21:43

Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
PaulRyckier wrote:
Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Appropriate surname for one working in this area, Pardue.

Gil, you got me again, I, the continental European...

Some enigmatic I don't now what...first my dictionary...then the internet...
And found this enigmatic connection...?
http://teacherweb.com/CA/MurrietaValleyHighSchool/MrsPardue/index.aspx

You started it and you have to explain it too to your continental friend...

Kind regards, Paul.
Paul :
Pardue as a surname derives from the French "par Dieu" - for or by God.

 Ah, yes now I see, Gil.

In that range we in our Flemish dialect (I mean Flemish from the province of East and West Flanders, the true Flemings Wink , the others are Brabanders and Limburgers... Wink )
For instance "Sacre Dieu" (Did some rapid research and it seems not to existe anymore in French...Meles Meles?) Holy God but more used as a swearword in our dialect...of course we made "sakkrdjee" of it, or "sakkrdju", but the pronouncement of the "u" as in Dutch and French seems not to exist in English (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dutchstudies/an/SP_LINKS_UCL_POPUP/SPs_english/linguistics/sound_phonetics.html )

 Of course we have stronger as "godverdomme" " god be doomed) French "damné", German "verdammt" (verdammt nochmal), American "damned" all Latin origin... and also "nondedju" from "nom de Dieu"

Thinking about it, for such a strong Catholic country as ours, we seem nevertheless when angry not have that much respect for our God...even in the old fashioned café with the picture
http://www.dumpert.nl/mediabase/455291/eb88d637/god_ziet_u.html
above the dish...

But how I come now here...in the Charlie thread...or it has to be about the freedom to use swearwords in a strong Catholic country...at least till the Thirties of last century...

And yes that deviating, I have it from my father and his family...Temperance is a silent grave in comparison to that family...not my mother, who was many time complaining about that endless talk...from one subject to another...to another...She called it "talk for the joy of talking" (in her dialect "klappen om te klappen")
http://www.vlaamsetaal.be/artikel/24/algemene-vlaamse-woorden


But from the other side her mother was more like the father's family...I think my mother had it from her father, who I have never known...
But my personal view is that my father's aptitude was a form of socializing...and making the atmosphere "comforting"... Wink

And so on...regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 21:45

Temperance wrote:
Temperance - me - wrote:

Is the theory of the "king's two bodies" relevant to this thread?


Obviously not. Smile


Yes, I had it on the French thread I mentioned...

Kind regars and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 21:49

Nordmann,

thank you very much for your take on the oriental attitudes in this question.
As usual to the point and I learned a lot from it.

Thanks again and with great esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Tue 03 Feb 2015, 22:51

Paul :
"Talk the hind leg off a donkey" is the local phrase for one who talks too much.

London seem to refer to it as "rabbiting"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOSseI1hao8

(ironically, when this was released, Sainsburys did not sell rabbit, but started to when they got complaints apparently inspired by the song)
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Wed 04 Feb 2015, 08:40

Not only is this issue complicated by constantly changing notions of divinity between cultures and over time but also by the huge number of variations regarding the role and expectations of what a ruler such as a king or emperor represents. Like the discussion going on at the moment in the "Bring Up The Bodies" thread any worthwhile analysis is rendered almost futile due to the past being "a foreign country" and our modern interpretations of the terms required to discuss the theme sometimes hopelessly out of kilter with what pertained at any particular time in the past.

I was talking about this subject - the "divine rights" attributed to rulers - to someone yesterday who knows a thing or two about medieval history and she told me that she reckoned the closest parallel in modern times to how the medieval mind could accommodate the apparently contradictory notions of an eminently disposable or replaceable king who nevertheless possessed or displayed an absolute divinity as great as any pope might be the Dalai Lama. To Tibetan Buddhists, who see the Dalai Lama as both a spiritual and political leader and as close as one can get to a god walking on earth, there is absolutely no contradiction between this huge divine attribution and the transparently human and pragmatic method by which as a child he was chosen to fulfil that role. Nor is there any crisis in faith on his followers' part due to the rather perfunctory method by which he was dethroned and exiled by the Chinese military despite having access to infinite wisdom and celestial spirituality "the equal to all the world's armies" as one prayer to him expressly claims.

Cognitive dissonance is a fundamental attribute of the religious mind, almost an absolute requirement before one can pursue belief in any faith-based theology. When it is employed not just in the service of one's faith but in one's self-assessment as a subject of a powerful ruler it allows accommodation of these divine claims on behalf of secular leadership completely and without demur. In recent times the freedom to demur is what has entered the relationship between subject and monarch. In the past this has rarely been the case. However in the past by the same token the very same cognitive dissonance allowed the accommodation without demur of a divinely appointed ruler being forcibly replaced by another divinely appointed ruler without a basic belief in the political system of "divine" monarchy being brought into question. Swings and roundabouts.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sat 07 Feb 2015, 23:13

Nearly forgot to add this succinct analysis of Charles Stuart and the doctrine of divine right:

"Charles explained that there was a doctrine called the Divine Right of Kings, which said that:
(a) He was King, and that was right.
(b) Kings were divine and that was right.
(c) Kings were right, and that was right.
(d) Everything was all right."

(Sellar & Yeatman, 1066 and all that).
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PostSubject: Re: The Divine Right of Kings   Sat 09 Jul 2016, 13:33

Temperance wrote:
Is the theory of the "king's two bodies" relevant to this thread?

As nordmann has said, Temp it is actually very relevant. There was an excellent discussion on the issue of sovereignty (including Jean Bodin's ideas and also the concept of the body politic and the body natural) on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time program broadcast last week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07hhvxx

(Apologies to those outside GB & NI who may be unable to access this.)
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