28 November 2010

Book: The Theological-Political Origins of the Modern State

Just published: Bernard Bourdin, "The Theological-Political Origins of the Modern State: The Controversy between James I of England and Cardinal Bellarmine" (trans. Susan Pickford; Catholic University of America Press, November 2010):


Publisher's description: "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."

Bernard Bourdin is Professor of Theology at the University of Metz, France.

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