Killeen 2011

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Killeen, Kevin. "Hanging up Kings: The Political Bible in Early Modern England." Journal of the History of Ideas 72.4 (October 2011): 549-570.

"This essay contends that one such language of seventeenth-century thought—the biblical—once fully formed, vibrant and bitterly partisan, has been largely forgotten and, along with it, a swathe of political opinion has shifted, effectively, beyond our audible range." (550)

"The scriptures pro- vided both a sledgehammer and a scalpel for political analysis, amenable to subtle as well as crude deployment. In making such an argument, this essay has in its sights firstly, the historiography of seventeenth-century politics. At stake more broadly, however, beyond the specifics of the early modern constitutional crises, is the nature of political languages that decay or, as is the case with the Bible, a language whose discursive arena migrates." (551)

historians "have not sufficiently taken stock of the way in which biblical exegesis was seen as an analytical lens for political affairs." (551)

"the claim that emerges in this paper is that the English political imagination in the seventeenth century registered the events of the reigns of Jehu, Rehoboam or Jehoshaphat with as immedi- ate a presence and relevance as that of William or Edward the Confessor, and with a far greater immediacy than the affairs of classical Rome." (552)

good review of political history literature on 17c and bible

"The suspicion of the Bible as a medium of thought runs deep, no doubt with good reason, but not, I would argue, with good historiographical rea- son. Unlike republicanism, which can still stir the blood, the scripturalism I describe here is of no use at all. It does not translate into the modern, except in objectionable fashion. It has no respectable heritage, as does English republicanism as precursor to the French, American or Russian rev- olutions. However, history which claims to be alert to context and the intel- lectual tools through which an era perceived itself should, surely, put aside the essential uselessness of the Bible as a tool of modern political theory." (554)

regicide was thinkable in biblical context

"Writing in 1651, the lawyer and legal theorist, John Cooke, produced a thorough-going evisceration of the office of king, a defense of the regicide whose indictment he had himself drafted. The detailed attack on the mon- archy does not draw on any of the ‘‘classical republican’’ arguments that are so often used to characterize the political thinking of radicals. It does, however, engage in extensive detail on the relationship of kings and people, the rights and excesses of monarchs and models of exemplary rebellion." (564)

"The scriptural in the seventeenth century was a primary mode of reading the nation and Catholicism, and indeed, although I do not engage with it here, the wider politics of Europe." (570)