Corey Robin errs badly when he calls the divine right of kings "a recent innovation" promulgated by James I ("recent" in 1650). Divine right is all over Shakespeare. In Richard II, written about ten years before James became James I, a king is:
...the figure of God's majesty,His captain, steward, deputy elect,Anointed...
Indeed the concept of divine right goes back at least to Homer: kings like Agamemnon have a right to rule because Zeus has chosen them. The king of the gods even provides his earthly counterparts with a royal staff to prove their provenance: "the sceptre-bearing king, whose powerful authority comes from Zeus" (Iliad, Book One).
San Francisco, CA
Oct 26 2009 - 8:55pm