Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(2,649 words)

A. Notions and Forms

Absolutism means the rule of one individual legitimated solely by descent (hereditary monarchy), his power being essentially indivisible, allowing of no relatively autonomous intermediate authorities, and limited as to competence only by his own judgment. Forms of absolute sovereignty first appeared in the advanced civilizations of antiquity. The main basis of authority was the ruler’s connection with a god: he might b…

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Oskar Köhler, “Absolutism”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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