The Theological-Political Origins of the Modern State
The Controversy between James I of England and Cardinal Bellarmine, translated by Susan Pickford
Contemporary understanding of the modern state is so bound up with the development of liberal democracy that it may appear anachronistic to identify the origins of the modern state in a theological-political configuration of events. Yet in European history, the sovereignty of the people arose from the divine delegation of royal sovereignty to the temporal and spiritual orders — a theory that the Holy See could not countenance. The controversy that erupted between James I of England and Cardinal Bellarmine following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is a striking illustration of this political and ecclesiological dispute over who ultimately holds absolute sovereignty by divine right — the king or the pope?
In this work, Bernard Bourdin clearly sets forth the political thought and theology of James I as an early intellectual foundation for the modern state. He offers a comprehensive examination of James's intense dispute with Bellarmine, a controversy that sent shock waves throughout Europe and had a lasting impact on the rise of the modern state.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND TRANSLATOR:
Bernard Bourdin holds a Ph.D. in theology and the history of religion. Professor at the University of Metz, France, Bourdin has written numerous articles on James I and the divine right of kings and recently published a critical translation of The Trew Law of Free Monarchies. Susan Pickford is associate professor of translation at the University of Paris 13.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"Bourdin has provided the key elements of a highly significant controversy regarding the birth of the modern sovereign state. . . . Each position is presented both in its full rhetorical force and in detail. . . . The work clearly demonstrates the far-reaching impact of the advent of Protestantism. . . . The significance of the debate justifies an equally significant study of the controversy." — Archives de Philosophie
About the Authors
Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / General
Other Titles in European history