Regem Honorificate: Honor the King

henryVIIII am historically lazy: not reading much history nowadays. Instead, embarrassingly, I depend of movies, documentaries and wiki for that.  But hey, it is something.

My recent fourth-hand history diet has been watching The Tudors: a TV series about the reign of the horrible King Henry VIII of England and as in all such historical dramas or documentaries, while watching it on my computer I dedicate half of the screen to wikipedia where I have been reading dozens of wiki articles concerning those events and people.

The series has made me concretely understand and feel the way Christianity has been used to control people for thousands and thousands of years.  One of the strongest methods obvious to me in this show is by using the concept that people should obey their government and their King, as they would God.  Below are the Bible verses historically used to justify blindly following a King or the government.

Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.  Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.
Romans 13:1-2 (Douay-Rheims)

Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’ s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling;
1 Peter 2:13 (Douay-Rheims)

Fear God. Honour the king
1 Peter 2:17 (Douay-Rheims)
“Deum timete: regem honorificate.” (Latin Vulgate)

Servants [NIV and others use “Slaves”], obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God.
Colossians 3:22 (Douay-Rheims)

In King Henry’s time (1491-1547) the people were fed the Bible by their priests who read the Latin (the Vulgate, hand-copied since 382, or the Gutenberg printed versions starting in 1450), Luther’s German translation was in 1534 and the KJV in 1611. The above quotes are from the Douay-Reims translation (1582) probably closest to the Latin Bible used at the time of King Henry.  See my diagram of the history of Bible translations.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

4 responses to “Regem Honorificate: Honor the King

  1. I’ve heard recently of Christians setting up stalls at events, and then offering apologies for the behaviour of the church to whoever wishes to receive one. I think that’s pretty cool. There are quite a few Bible verses you could use to justify that.

  2. @Undercover
    I not sure the people burned alive or slaughtered, if they had a voice, would accept the comfortable, safe apologies. Do you. What does an apology mean in that case?

  3. Let’s not forget this classic injunction from Colossians 3:22 – “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (New International Version).
    Nietzsche claimed that Christian morality was that of slaves, I think he may have had a point!
    Thanks for another entertaining post Sabio 😉

  4. @ Scott,
    Thank you — I added it to the post. Christianity certainly has been well used to control slaves/servants/underlings — but then, I think since religion is a profession which capitalizes on the taboo of “the sacred”, it is no wonder those in power have such a ready tool.

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