Publisher: Matheson Trust
Publication Date: June 24, 2011
From the Pharaoh to the Most Christian KingThis is an in-depth study of the sacred origin and nature of royalty and monarchic regimes across ages and world cultures, written by an internationally acclaimed French authority on symbolism and religious studies.
Jean Hani (1917-2012), former professor emeritus at the University of Amiens, was the founder of the Centre de Recherche sur l'Antiquité Classique and a frequent contributor to the journal Connaissance des Religions. After writing his PhD thesis on the influence of Egyptian thought upon Plutarch, he produced annotated translations of the latter's writings for the well-known Collection Budé. Later he became known for his mastery of traditional hermeneutics and exegesis, and his broad knowledge in the field of comparative religion. Hani's writing is sensitive to the predicament of those moderns who seek a firm foundation in traditional Christian values, while striving also to integrate into that foundation whatever of value can be salvaged from the contemporary world. His findings were presented in four important works now available from Angelico Press in translation: the present volume, along with Divine Craftsmanship (Preliminaries to a Spirituality of Work), The Symbolism of the Christian Temple, and The Black Virgin (A Marian Mystery).
Like with all of his works, Hani uses his background as a scholar of religion to illustrate the universal (catholic) truths of a topic, in this case "sacred authority." Starting with basic principles common to all traditions and then moving to the Hebrew and Christian traditions in particular, Hani shows that a concept of rule deriving from divine authority is not only normative for humanity, but essential to the proper functioning of a healthy society.
Republics and monarchies reflect two very different world views. The latter, which Hani explores in depth, has a sacral view of power where the ruler is invested with authority from above. In a republic, authority comes from the people (whose choice God can then “ratify” if you will) but the spell is broken. Hani lets us see this better world where the king was revered as God’s representative instead of a constitution, a piece of paper that in reality has absolutely failed to protect true liberty