The King's Two Bodies

A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology

Recommended by Helen Castor, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #24 in Jurisprudence

In 1957 Ernst Kantorowicz published a book that would be the guide for generations of scholars through the arcane mysteries of medieval political theology. In The King's Two Bodies, Kantorowicz traces the historical problem posed by the King's two bodies--the body politic and the body natural--back to the Middle Ages and demonstrates, by placing the concept in its proper setting of medieval thought and political theory, how the early-modern Western monarchies gradually began to develop a political theology.?

The king's natural body has physical attributes, suffers, and dies,...

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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)

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