Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Origin of the term, Theocracy

But I suspect that most people who use the word simply have no understanding of its meaning. Theocracy, which literally means "rule by the deity," is the name given to political regimes that claim to represent God on earth both directly and immediately. The role of the theocratic leader is to play the role of both priest and king, implementing and enforcing divine laws.

The term was first used by the Jewish historian Josephus to describe the way the Jews were under the direct government of God himself. In ancient Israel everyone was a direct subject of Jehovah, who ruled over all and communicated through the prophets. This arrangement was short-lived, though, and the Jews eventually rejected theocratic rule in favor of an earthly king. While the sovereign did not always enforce all of the laws of the former theocracy, he retained the authority given to him “by God.” During the medieval era, a version of this concept was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. The idea of the divine right of kings combined the secular government with the spiritual authority of the Christian Church to form caesaropapism.

The above appears in today’s
evangelical outpost article, "Of Theocrats and Theophobes:Carter’s Law of Political Rhetoric"



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