Ranked #24 in Jurisprudence
The king's natural body has physical attributes, suffers, and dies,... more
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.
Bringing together liturgical works, images, and polemical material, The King's Two Bodies explores the long Christian past behind this political theology. It provides a subtle history of how commonwealths developed symbolic means for establishing their sovereignty and, with such means, began to establish early forms of the nation-state.
Kantorowicz fled Nazi Germany in 1938, after refusing to sign a Nazi loyalty oath, and settled in the United States. While teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, he once again refused to sign an oath of allegiance, this one designed to identify Communist Party sympathizers. He was dismissed as a result of the controversy and moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he remained for the rest of his life, and where he wrote The King's Two Bodies. less
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Helen Castor The whole idea of The King’s Two Bodies is that of the divide between the king’s natural body and his representation of the body politic, a more abstract political authority. Those two things come together and have to be worked out in law and authority and language – but it’s always a male body. The physical being of the king is part of that relationship, and the fact is that the very different connotations of the female body make the relationship between a queen and the body politic much harder. (Source)