Non-Fiction Books:

The True Law of Kingship

Concepts of Monarchy in Early-Modern Scotland



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The True Law of Kingship by J.H. Burns
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'Fear God, honour the king'. Sixteenth-century people were supposed to do both. But what was the king entitled to command? And what if he ordered one thing and God's law said another? In this fascinating and original study, James Burns examines these questions by focusing on a neglected area of study: the Scottish experience. Sixteenth-century Scots lived through intense political and religious conflict, which generated a substantial literature of political debate. This debate was of such an intensity that James VI, the first king to rule over Scotland and England, wrote his own book on the subject: The True Lawe of Free Monarchies. Some of the substantial literature of political debate has long been recognized as important in the wider history of European political thought. Knox and Buchanan as exponents of 'resistance theory', Blackwood and Barclay as defenders of 'absolute' monarchy, have had that recognition. James VI uniquely expounding 'divine right' principles from the throne, has likewise had his place. More recently, the significance of the late-scholastic theory of John Mair has been increasingly acknowledged. This book, however, is the first attempt to bring together systematically these and less familiar elements in a rich and varied body of political thought. The Scottish response to monarchical government not only provides a microcosmic view of European thinking on the subject, it also contributes substantially to our understanding of the Scottish element in the new 'British' polity which was emerging at the end of the period.
Release date Australia
January 11th, 1996
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Clarendon Press
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