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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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Republican and Monarchical Religion

Republican and Monarchical Religion

(p.29) 3 Republican and Monarchical Religion
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on republican and monarchical religion in late medieval Europe. Republican religion spread in a late medieval Europe dominated by monarchies that, from the thirteenth century on, had endowed themselves with a sacred dimension similar to that of the church. Jurists and political philosophers transferred the concept of corpus mysticum—intended to designate the church community as a body that cannot be seen by the eyes but can only be grasped by the intellect—to the state. Applied to the state, the concept of a mystical body referred mainly, but not exclusively, to the monarchy, where the king is at the head of the mystical-political body, just as Christ or his vicar on earth is at the head of the mystical body of the church. Thus, the main difference between the royal and the republican religion is that the former celebrates an individual mystical body—the king; the latter celebrates a collective mystical body—the republic.

Keywords:   republican religion, late medieval Europe, monarchy, monarchical religion, Italian history

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