Power and Grace

Power and Grace

Jan Assmann

Worldly monarchs empowered by the Lord's grace, the Pope acting as God's representative in the world: it is not only ancient hierarchies who have legitimized themselves as earthly reflections of a heavenly rank. The preamble to the German Constitution, for example, provides a religious basis for political action – "conscious of its responsibility before God". One of the classic answers to the fundamental question of whether political and moral values were drawn from religion or whether religious concepts derive from civic laws and regulations is that politics were born from the spirit of religion. Jan Assmann's theory is radically different. Going back far beyond Western-Christian tradition, to ancient Egypt and Israel, he claims that the central principles of power, justice, responsibility, solidarity, law and jurisdiction were, first and foremost, political concepts, only later to be transformed into religious or theological ideas. The birth of religion from the spirit of politics is the subject explored here, brilliantly outlined in a major work on political philosophy and religious history.

Foreign Sales

Italy (Einaudi), Hungary (Atlantisz)

Power and Grace

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