Political Theology?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by JoeLaughon, May 9, 2018.

  1. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Does anyone have any recommendations for political/civil theology? I've been interested in Catholic Scoial Teaching but I am curious to see if anyone has anything else from any other recommendations.
     
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  2. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Given what people have said about the Divine Right of Kings and other subjects, would you say that Anglicanism is generally anti-american/anti-democracy? Was the founding of the US a travesty in the eyes of traditional Anglicans?
     
  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I remember in my studies having found that most of the pivotal figures behind America were Anglicans..
    -John Locke, the philosopher
    -George Washington
    -James Madison

    I would say that Anglican political theory is divided between two possible alternatives: constitutional monarchy, and representative republic... Someone like John Adams would have argued that a constitutional monarchy is a form of a republic, where the king is simply the President acting for a lifetime, bringing the two forms very close to one another

    I would argue that socialism is diametrically opposed to the core Anglican doctrines, especially in the explicit rejection of socialism in the Articles of Religion and other formularies

    Anarchy would likewise be utterly repudiated

    If there was a unifying principle behind Anglican politics, I would say that it's a irrevocable belief in 1) the rule of law, and 2) the dignity of the individual, rejecting both opposites which violate law and liberty: such as anarchy and socialism/marxism
     
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  4. peter

    peter Active Member

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    I'm not American and do not share the American republican values. I am a monarchist and believe in the Divine Right of Kings. I do not have an especially high regard for modern systems of democracy, this is based largely on the results. Beyond that, my political views are complex, but essentially I am socially conservative but lean to the left as regards economics. I have a collectivist lean, and I believe strongly that the first and foremost duty of the state is (as the BCP puts it) "the punishment of wickedness and vice".
     
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  5. Cameron

    Cameron Active Member

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    Might I suggest giving Aristotle a read? He is the basis of modern government. Another good one would be Pascal, or St Thomas Aquinas.
     
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  6. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Lex Rex by Samuel Rutherford is a very influential book which argues that the king receives his power through the consent of the people and not God directly. Many would consider it a foundational text that helped form our democracy today

    http://www.portagepub.com/dl/caa/sr-lexrex17.pdf?
     
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  7. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    What would your response be to the notion that the divine right of kings/absolutism is largely a modern creation and that monarchies of antiquity/middle ages were more 'republican' than we give them credit for?
     
  8. peter

    peter Active Member

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    That is a general statement backed up by no evidence so its hard to respond to.

    But this quote is from 1610, King James I addressing Parliament

    "The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. There be three principal [comparisons] that illustrate the state of monarchy: one taken out of the word of God, and the two other out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families; for a king is truly parens patriae [parent of the country], the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man."
     
  9. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    It's been God's will then that kings be abolished. There are almost no true monarchies left in the current day and age.
     
  10. Cameron

    Cameron Active Member

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    I read that in my first year, and because of the professor I had, I found it very unconvincing. However, his points are valid and do deserve due consideration. He's a brilliant author.
     
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  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    One of the foundational works of Anglican political and social theory is Book I of Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. Its coverage of the social contract and Natural Law has been so influential that John Locke had subsequently sought to make it his foundation in the Two Treatises of Government, and it has often been republished on its own, without the other six Books.

    Its influence had far reaches into the 18th century, especially with William Blackstone, who was perhaps the most important English and Anglican author on the civil and common law in the 18th and 19th centuries.
     
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  12. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    It is fairly the consensus of scholarship on the topic. For instance the James quotation is fairly telling as he is an early modern monarch, not really a medieval one. Medieval monarchies were usually limited in fact and in law/custom.

    "Let us use medieval monarchies as a model. Rich and titled great families were dominant minorities in medieval feudal kingdoms. The royal family was the greatest among them. All these families had clients and client families for whom they had done favors and who were expected to do favors in return. Kings in fact did not have absolute power....The king was like a spider in the center of a network of patron-client relations....With some notable exceptions, most medieval kings were not particularly honorable, just or kind. But they were, compared with later rulers, quite weak. There were no absolute monarchies or enlightened despots in medieval Europe."-- Dr. Mary Kilbourne Matossian, in Shaping World History

    "Yet what a king could actually do, the extent to which he could govern alone were entirely debatable; and much debated in words and blood A king was not necessary a monarch in the (Aristotelian) sense of one who rules by himself for the public good: few saw him as an absolute ruler who could dispense with law and the advice of his council. The idea of the king as princeps in the Roman-law sense, entitled to make laws without consent, was stoutly resisted by most. The view of the Middle Ages as more authoritarian than later times needs to be carefully restated. The theocratic notion, that the king derived his authority from God, did not mean that royal power was unlimited; unless one also added, as only few did, that the king's power was actually comparable to God's. In the event medieval monarchies evolved either absolute or into constitutional monarchies. But there was no absolute secular monarchy in this period...Kings derived their authority from God...And kings were at the same time said to derive their authority from the people - the political community, however structured."-- Dr Antony Black, Medieval Political Thought, 1250-1450

    "At coronation, the crowned king acknowledged that he had obligations and responsibilities....In any case the Norman and Angevin kings were not absolute monarchs or despots. As Magna Carta made clear, the king was under the law. Later in the thirteenth century, the king was described as a debtor to do justice to his people."-- Dr Roger Wilson, Kings & Bishops in Medieval England, 1066-1216

    "For the secular state, the common voice likewise favored monarchy....But the monarchy is no absolute right existing for the ruler's benefit, rather it is an office to be righteously exercised for the good of the community. The monarch's power is limited, and if his command outrages law or right, it is a nullity; his subjects need not obey, and the principle applies, that it is better to obey God than man. Even when, as in the days of the Hohenstaufen, the civil jurists claimed for the emperor the plenitudo potestatis of a Roman Caesar, the opposite doctrine held strong, which gave him only a limited power, in its nature conditioned on its rightful exercise. Moreover, the rights of the community were not unrecognized, and indeed were supported by elaborate theories as the Middle Ages advanced to their climacteric. The thought of a contract people ruler and people frequently appears, and reference to the contract made at Hebron between David and the people of Israel. The civil jurist also looked back to the principle of jus gentium giving to every free people the right to choose a ruler; also to that famous text of the Digesti, where, through the lex regia the people were said to have conferred their powers upon the princeps."--Henry Osborn Taylor, The Medieval Mind


     

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