Divine Right of Kings


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Divine Right of Kings

The authority of a monarch to rule a realm by virtue of birth.

The concept of the divine right of kings, as postulated by the patriarchal theory of government, was based upon the laws of God and nature. The king's power to rule was derived from his ancestors who, as monarchs, were appointed to serve by God. Regardless of mis-conduct, a king or his heir could not be forced to forfeit the right to the obedience of subjects or the right to succeed to the throne. This concept was formulated to dispel any possibility of papal and ecclesiastical claims to supremacy in secular as well as spiritual matters.

References in periodicals archive ?
After the Reformation, the application of political theology in the form of the divine right of kings begins to follow the patterns described by Schmitt.
In a time of the divine right of kings, there rose a monarch who did not allow absolute power to corrupt him.
An inchoate sociopolitical theory discernable in Pascal is discussed by Helene Bouchilloux in "Pascal and the social world." While it may be wrong to consider Pascal a supporter of the divine right of kings, still it certainly looks as if Pascal's just commonwealth would be a theocracy, restraining both the will to dominate found in subjects and the ambition of the king.
"Few doubted the morality of the death penalty in the age that believed in the divine right of kings," the justice intoned, as if that were relevant to a republic whose Founders deliberately omitted any mention of God from the Constitution and instead ceded civic authority to "We the People."
Theism was thereby perpetuated, along with other aspects of the supernatural, making way as time went on for the often brutal institutional authority of the church, the doctrine of the divine right of kings, male dominance, and the exploitation of Earth's resources.
Appealingly, Rylance's Richard crucially retains his humor in his humiliation; he practically plays the court jester at times, making his points about the divine right of kings with a wit that commands attention now that he can no longer command respect.
(5) Figgis wrote further: "It is notable that, although deciding in chapter 2 that monarchy is the best form of government, Mariana would yet surround his king with all sorts of limitations, so that he really leaves the sovereignty with the people." John Neville Figgis, The Divine Right of Kings, 2d ed.
Think of Samuel Rutherford, a century after Calvin: a leader at the Westminster Assembly, author of Lex Rex (denying the divine right of kings), imprisoned in Aberdeen for defending Presbyterianism.
The divine right of kings fell with Charles I's head in 1649 and since then we have developed a constitutional monarchy that is largely ornamental.
"James I and the Divine Right of Kings: English Politics and Continental Theory." In Peck, 55-70.
In the sixteenth-century absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings influenced the church.
It is the law of the land -- much as the divine right of kings was once the law of the land.