11.4.08

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet September 27, 1627 - April 12, 1704

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet was a theologian in the court of the Louis XIV, Le Roi Soleil. Bossuet was and remains one of histories best defender of absolute monarchy. Bossuet ennunciated the that only God stands above the king, therefore the king's authority cannot be be questioned by any other human being.

Bossuet's wrote the treatise, "On the Nature and Properties of Royal Authority," in which he described the greatest crime is to attack the person of the king; The king is not a mere man, but he is representative of God on Earth, that life individuals must guard above their own. Kings are responsible to God for using their power to advance the public good. Bussuet argues this is absolute authority for kings, since no man is able to to deminish the king's ability to pass judgment on matters of good and evil. The king is accountable only to God for this judgment.

Bossuet also compares a king to a father for his subjects, and thus grounds the belief in absolute authority in the Ten Commandments, which include obedience to one's parents. He justifies a king's immense material power as a gift from God so that the king's attention will not need to be occupied with the pursuit or desire of further material gains, he is therefore able to direct for the kingdoms good those things that he was intended to by God. While he declared the absolute authority of the king he emphasized that kings must use their power only for the public good and that the king is not above the law, “for if he sins, he destroys the laws by his example.”

Vive le Roy.
Brantigny

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