Evolution of the Righteous Ruling Concept in Early Cultures (Эволюция концепции «праведного правления» в древних культурах)

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The article discusses the origin and the evolution of the "righteous ruling" concept going back to the works of Malinowski, Taylor and Geertz who maintained that the social-political regulators stemmed from the religious prohibitions and primitive norms in the archaic society. The doctrine of ideal kingship is further discussed bringing in the data from Mesopotamia, Ancient India, and Classical Greece with a view to indicate the shift from politics to polity in the early religious systems. The division between the spiritual authority and political power is analysed, with an emphasis on such rituals as the royal inauguration which as a cultural religious ritual legitimised the transformation of a representative of a warrior class into the king endowed with divine power. Magical attributes of power play an important role in the process of legitimising and are later substituted by ethical and legal norms of the "rationalised" (in the terminology of Max Weber) religions of Christianity and Buddhism where the 'duty to rule' concept is substituted by 'love to rule', the rightfulness of earlier vision of power is taken over by righteousness. Phenomenological and culturally typological analyses of the concept introduce the textual data from the Irish and Indian traditions that present the teaching on the righteous ruling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-196
JournalHistory and theory of culture (История и теория культуры. Альманах)
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 May 2016


  • righteous ruling
  • early Christian Ireland
  • India
  • Ashoka
  • Greek maxims
  • theory of ideal ruling
  • ideal kingship
  • medieval Europe
  • Buddhist theory of the world ruler (Chakkavattin)


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