Of a Veiled Sovereign

J. N.
21 min readMar 16, 2023


Royalty on earth is like royalty in heaven. (Berakhot 58a)

1. Arcana imperii

Twice in the Annals Tacitus uses a phrase at once opaque and seductive: arcana imperii. Variously translated as “state secrets,” “secrets of imperial policy,” etc. the notion has “enjoyed a rich history in political thought down to the present day.”¹ Agamben reminds us of two major political works of the early modern period (those of Arnold Clapmar and Christoph Besold) whose titles orient us toward a privileged conception of arcanus, suggesting that an embrace of the arcane is essential to the modern state’s ideological genesis in the seventeenth century.² Indeed: there’s a unique credibility in the idea of naming the locus of political power as something concealed, occulted (arcanus, cognate with arca: “chest”).

The value of such a principle for political theorists is in its quietism. Like the theologian, the scholar of political power understands that the essence of their object of inquiry is beyond the boundaries of what is knowable; implied in their research is thus a paradoxical acceptance and reverence for what cannot be studied. I’m reminded of the early Hasidic master Ya’akov Yosef of Korets, who wrote following a verse in Zohar that the curse of the wicked is that “even the blessed Holy One’s hiding will be concealed from them.”³ Thus, the relevant theological question for Ya’akov Yosef is not one of concealment and disclosure but of proper relationship to concealment itself. It is the nature of God to be concealed, and the task of the faithful (and the politically wise) to recognize and revere the fact of God’s concealment. Inversely, the heretic’s error is precisely in his ambition to “lift the veil” and see beyond God’s concealment; one detects here the faintest trace of the Zohar’s gnostic animus. Ya’akov Yosef’s “curse of the wicked” thus is not the concealment of God’s self-disclosure but the concealment of His concealment. “The presumption that one can see without a veil is the greatest of veils.”⁴

We would be remiss to let the poetry of this contradiction escape us: that authority which is total and omnipotent is also completely hidden. Indeed, Ya’akov Yosef seems to suggest that these qualities — absolute power and absolute concealment — exist in a paradoxical union. The sovereignty of God is by its nature veiled, and God is a veiled sovereign.

We here take the old Schmittian thesis for granted — “all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts.”⁵ Reading arcana imperii through the mysteries of my faith thus invites a kind of apophatic political theology: the rhetorical strategies we learn from the mystics to speak about God through negation apply likewise to one’s relationship with traditional political authority. Sovereignty on earth, as in heaven, functions by and through a certain negativity — an un-saying, an un-knowing. Political theory amounts in the end to a learned ignorance. We may in this sense only hope to understand the nature of temporal, terrestrial power through recognizing its hiddenness.

2. The State as Mystery Cult

Emil Cioran, at the very least, seems to agree. Collected in his 1986 Anathemas and Admirations the philosopher, by all accounts thoroughly reformed since his stint with the far-right Iron Guard (“the worst folly of my youth”), wrote a roughly forty-page analysis of the life and writings of the Revolution-era Savoyard monarchist and ultramontanist Joseph de Maistre subtitled “An Essay on Reactionary Thought.” It would be uncharitable of me to describe Cioran’s attitude toward de Maistre as one of unqualified admiration. In an opening paragraph Cioran describes de Maistre as a monster — but, he quickly adds, this monstrosity is precisely the reason why de Maistre is “one of us”; “our contemporary.”⁶ One detects a barely hidden affinity for the frankness of de Maistre’s anti-modernism in Cioran’s words, and a sympathy for the former’s almost pathetic anachronism. To be an absolute monarchist in the twenty-first century is unthinkable (read: unsayable), to have been one in the nineteenth century has an air of charming belatedness. Precisely this quality, of having been tragically “untimely,” “out of his time,” is for Cioran what makes de Maistre a contemporary in the true sense of the word.⁷

While framing his essay as a crash course in the structure of political reaction for the elucidation of fellow progressives, then, Cioran nonetheless seems to find much of genuine use in the thought of de Maistre. He is drawn specifically to the necessity of mystery for de Maistre’s political vision, the revelation of which for him constitutes the greatest sin of the revolutionary novus ordo. This line of critique — of the liberal attempt at “unveiling” that which has remained hidden for generations — will hardly appear novel to those familiar with the basic counter-Enlightenment polemic against the philosophy of science native to modernity.

De Maistre’s insight, per Cioran, is in locating the ethos and success of traditional theories of political power precisely in the fact of this mystery; in Cioran’s words: “positing that without the inviolability of mystery, order collapses, de Maistre counters the indiscretions of the critical spirit with the bans of orthodoxy, the multiplication of heresies, the rigor of a unique truth.”⁸ Precisely this reversal of order and rending of the sovereign’s veil, as it were, is for de Maistre the central error of the French Revolution, a movement whose impulse was one of “[laying] bare the basis of authority and of having revealed its secret to the uninitiated, to the mob.”

Execution de Robespierre et de ses complices, 1794

Access to political knowledge, to the secrets of authority, is here compared with access to sacred mysteries. The knowledge of power’s mechanisms, considered by de Maistre to be strictly forbidden, is precisely what the revolutionaries sought to expose to daylight. In a section of his writings on the Revolution de Maistre compares this urge to a child’s desire to break open a mechanical toy: the Jacobins, in a gesture of reckless and infantile hubris, have “wanted to see inside; they have laid bare the political principles, they have opened the mob’s eyes to objects that it had never occurred to them to examine, without realizing that there are things that are destroyed by being shown.” The precise identity of the things destroyed aside, it is clear from our perspective that de Maistre is echoing the claims of the mystics that those who are unprepared for sacred wisdom will perish before it. The revolutionaries are like Ben Azzai, that rabbi whose death in the face of mystical teachings is attested to by the Talmud. Whereof one cannot look, thereof one must avert one’s gaze.

Taking de Maistre seriously, then — if only for a moment — Cioran asks the following question: if we are to accept that the primary error of the Revolution rests in its having rent the political veil, must we then concede that the essence of stable and sustainable sovereignty is ultimately a thing concealed? “Must authority,” asked in Cioran’s own words, “rest upon some mystery, some irrational foundation?” The ideological connotations of such a question are begrudgingly acknowledged, with Cioran noting the likelihood of a conservative to answer in the affirmative and of a “man of the left,” or a liberal Jacobin for that matter, to respond in the negative. This alignment is rejected by Cioran as ultimately a facile and shallow one. The obvious truth of matter is that the veiled sovereign is a sustained and stable sovereign, and this is to be accepted regardless of any personal political sympathy or moral evaluation. “In fact,” Cioran contends,

any order that seeks to last succeeds in doing so only by surrounding itself with a certain obscurity, by flinging a veil over its motives and its actions, by generating an aura of the ‘sacred’ that renders it impenetrable to the masses.

The logic of sovereignty is for de Maistre (via Cioran) coeternal with that of the mystery cult. Like truth itself, the fact of sovereignty only achieves a sustainable existence through its occultation — a state of being which, as Cioran notes, by its nature implies a sense of the holy. Authority in this particular sense is always-already sacred authority.

3. A Note on Veils

As far as metaphors for occultation go, this one is not native to the mystical tendencies of Judaism — which generally prefers the image of kelipot, “shells,” or lavushim, “garments” — but to those of Islam. Referring to a few verses of the Sufi poet ‘Abd al-Rahman Jâmî, William C. Chittick notes that “the veil [hijab] conceals the secrets but no secrets can be grasped without the veil.” As Jâmî and many others put it, to see the veil is itself to see God’s face, displaying itself through the veil.”⁹ The image of the veil is thus used both as necessary barrier to sight (that is: to divine knowledge) and as the means by which divine reality can be displayed to mortal eyes. This is precisely the reason why Ibn al-’Arabî, probably the greatest mystic of his tradition, uses “the Veiled” as an epithet of Allah: “no eye witnesses anything other than He, and no veils are lifted from him.”¹⁰ To “see God” is thus paradoxically to see the fact of God’s concealment. No divine knowledge is available except through the recognition of this concealment; “vision is through the veil, and inescapably so.”¹¹ It is with Jâmî and al-’Arabi’s paradoxical use of the word in mind that I pursue this question.

Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault, Femmes drapées, 1918

4. Reasoning with Hegel

Something of a sufi by his own merit, Hegel was eager throughout the Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820) to distance himself from the necessity of Räsonnement (“reasoning,” or more literally “ratiocination”) in reference to that one sovereign body whom reason most eludes. He writes in the final section of Elements that “the concept of the monarch is therefore of all concepts the hardest for Räsonnement”¹² precisely because such a concept seeks its legitimacy not from human rationality but from divine ordination. Furthermore, the reasoning mind understands the fruits of its institutions (of which monarchy is undoubtedly one) as being “derived-from”; that is, as being one node in a system of self-sustaining institutional legitimacy. And yet this is precisely its failure; as Hegel notes: “the truth is, however, that to be something not derived but purely self-originating is precisely the concept of monarchy.” The monarch answers to no human authority and indeed finds no precedent in any other human office. His nature, purely of heaven, thus proves inaccessible to mortal reasoning.

Hegel does not suggest in the slightest that the system of monarchy as such precludes any philosophical inquiry; indeed, this discourse on the difficulty in reasoning about the monarch serves appropriately as a prelude for his very attempt therein. I cite this passage instead only as a testament to the peculiar place of kingship in relation to philosophy and to cognition writ large, a peculiarity highlighted by its proximity to that most “rational” of man’s institutions (government). The precarity and slipperiness of the king when placed under the scrutinizing gaze of Räsonnement should give us pause. Rather than writing off the king and his kingship as merely irrational (or even, for the time being, as “suprarational”) I propose that we dwell with Hegel in simply recognizing, from the start, the difficulty of this philosophical project. It is “hard” — we concur — to reason about the monarch.

5. Corpus Angelicum

What interests me, then, is how the question of Räsonnement should inform the question of likewise the monarch’s knowability and, by symbolic extension, visibility; is the king’s “body politic” — to borrow the now ubiquitous double-language of Ernst Kantorowicz — necessarily something that is visually accessible to the subject? In an early but often overlooked section from Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies (1957) the author answers this question in the negative: “that king is invisible.”¹³ Elaborating on this point in a note, Kantorowicz reminds us that the king’s invisibility is a characteristic that is native to the “standard definition” of this regal body, citing jurists Edmund Plowden (“the Body politic is a Body that cannot be seen or handled”) and Edward Coke (“the politic capacity is invisible and immortal”).

This second body was a corpus angelicum, an angelic body; it, “like the angels, was immortal, invisible, ubiquitous.”¹⁴ Kantorowicz later describes this conception of the body politic as an “angelomorphic” (rather than anthropomorphic) personification, sustainable precisely by virtue of its “invisibility and immortality.”¹⁵ (One is reminded here of Maimonides’ apologetics from four centuries before, wherein he had insisted with a fervor that any anthropomorphic reference to the God of Israel was to be rebuked and condemned.)

Tomb and effigy of Edward II

This resistance to material representation extends even to signifiers of the king’s sovereignty. Kantorowicz highlights, for example, the poetic motif of the “invisible crown” popular in medieval French lyric.¹⁶ Continuing this theme, even the king’s “body natural” is imagined at times to enjoy qualities of invisibility and hiddenness. We are reminded of Pseudo-Aristotle’s vision of the Persian Great King who, “like God,” would administer every minute detail of his empire from the seclusion of his palace, “invisible to all.”¹⁷

A reversal of the usual logic of visible and invisible bodies is also cited in Kantorowicz’s description of the burial of the king’s effigy — a regal funerary rite native to the English monarchy. Only in death, in the form of the persona ficta of the effigy, do the king’s subjects find his body politic made visible; inversely, “there rested the corpse of the king, his mortal and normally visible — though now invisible — body natural.”¹⁸ Notably, the wooden effigy as displayed on top of the king’s coffin was (at least in in the case of Edward II) dressed in the coronation garments worn by the body natural. His artificial body would be regaled in the symbols of sovereignty presumably stripped of the body natural: crown, orb, scepter. Like Borges’ map and territory, we witness in the English king’s funeral effigy a case of the real’s eclipse by the virtual, flesh eclipsed by spirit.

6. The Coronation Will (Not) Be Televised

For Kantorowicz these two principal rites of monarch’s reign — coronation and funeral — were notable as transition points in the dynamics of flesh and spirit. The narrative suggested by reading these rites in tandem (or as collapsed into one form in the case of the coronated effigy) is thus one of the eventual dominance of the angelic, spiritual body over the physical one: by coronation the monarch receives his “second body” (the spiritual body politic) and by death his first, physical body is condemned to decomposition, leaving only spirit (i.e. Empire) in its wake.

The notion that this rite of anointment and incorporation of the “invisible” body should be a private affair witnessed exclusively by royalty and nobility was something taken for granted for millennia. This was understood, arguably, to be a kind of inaugural ritual in the dynamic of concealment/disclosure that would prove central to the monarchy. Such associations were first interrupted (or at least thrown into question) only with the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II, the proceedings of which were to be broadcasted on international television at the behest of ceremony’s organizer — who, as it happened, was the royal consort Prince Philip himself.

Notably, the only meaningful and documented resistance to Philip’s insistence on broadcasting one of the most important rituals in the Church of England came not from any spiritual authority but, rather, from the most temporal power. In a gesture that Kantorowicz might describe as a defense of the King against the whims of the king, Winston Churchill and other especially royalist members of the government questioned before the House of Commons whether it would be “right and proper” for the mystery of the coronation to be televised: “it would be unfitting,” he suggested, “that the whole ceremony, not only in its secular but also in its religious and spiritual aspects, should be presented as if it were a theatrical performance.”

The risk, Churchill worried, laid in representing something sacred in itself (that is: the union of body natural and body politic) as something meant in essence to be seen. He was in this sense enough of a monarchist to appreciate the damage implied in associating the Queen’s body with the characteristic of visibility — but not quite enough so, I would argue, to recognize her ultimate association with the opposite. Notably, much of the support and celebration for the possibility of the event’s broadcast was offered in the interest of the modern Empire. How special it would be, journalists in Australia noted, for the Queen’s coronation to be viewed by “her people overseas.”²⁰

In the end a compromise was reached by the coronation committee which stated that all the proceedings were to be televised with the exception of its central rite: the Act of Consecration. Precisely and only in this moment of the Queen’s disrobing and anointment — apotheosis — was the nature of the monarch’s concealment revealed, hidden from the broadcasters in 1953 as it was from the photographers in 1937. The fact of this concealment is suggested in the rite itself, which necessitates that the monarch be shielded from the gaze of the public by a golden canopy supported by four knighted noblemen. Compare to the coronation of the Japanese emperor, the climax of which sees his seated majesty veiled by a curtain while a gong is struck. His revelation as sovereign upon the curtains being lifted is understood, like Elizabeth’s, to be dependent on his concealment.

Coronation of Elizabeth II (1953) and Emperor Naruhito (2019)

7. Bagehot’s Anomaly

In his defense of the Queen’s veil Churchill cited a passage from the journalist Walter Bagehot’s deeply polemical and patriotic work The English Constitution (1867). Bagehot is a strange, anomalous figure to contemporary eyes. Despite being labelled posthumously as an “arch-monarchist” he seems to have bought in completely to the Enlightenment ideals of a liberal, imperial power that characterized his age. His defense of monarchy as outlined in English Constitution is, unlike de Maistre’s, one offered entirely on constitutional grounds and in complete sympathy with the absolute power of parliament and the democratic process. What results, fascinatingly, is a theory of sovereign opacity that hinges on the transparency of the constitutional authority. I quote from the section of English Constitution that Churchill read before the House of Commons, from the chapter entitled “Monarchy”:

Every power in a popular government ought to be known. The whole notion of such a government is that the political people — the governing people — rules as it thinks fit. … But it cannot judge if it is kept in ignorance; it cannot interpose if it does not know. A secret prerogative is an anomaly — perhaps the greatest of anomalies. That secrecy is, however, essential to the utility of English royalty as it now is. Above all things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it. When there is a select committee on the Queen, the charm of royalty will be gone. Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.²⁰

The decided “secrecy” and “magic” of the monarchy, this quality of not “being known,” is thus matched only by the ideal of cognoscibility on the part of the secular government. Following Churchill’s citation of this verse I would suggest that we should read this tension — the knowable alongside the hidden — as the central (and, Bagehot would argue: necessary; generative) dynamic of English constitutional monarchy.

8. In couert vele

Lingering for a moment on our English theme, I turn my attention to Elizabeth I — or, more precisely, to Edmund Spenser’s poeticization therein. Elizabeth Bellamy in her treatment of The Faerie Queene reads Spenser’s epic as a twofold exercise in failure: first, as the failure to complete the poem itself (Spenser died before finishing its seventh and final book); second, as the failure of the poem to ever successfully name its subject. The Faerie Queene has been received either as an allegory of or ode to Elizabeth, the woman to whom Spenser dedicated the poem (“To the Most Mightie and Magnificent Empresse”), and yet at no moment in its verses was the poet able to, as Bellamy puts it, successfully invoke Elizabeth “as a transcendent signified, with no ontology other than the pure Name itself.”²¹

Substitutions and circumlocutions are made; Elizabeth is represented as the Faerie Queene Gloriana, and occasionally by the personal name Belphoebe. And yet ultimately the recording of these surrogate names amounts for Bellamy to a testimony of the “unreadability” of Elizabeth herself: “even as the poet seeks to name Elizabeth, the superposition of the faerie Gloriana narrates his failure to do so.”²² Per a Derridean reading Spenser’s failure is identical to the failure of vocative subject in achieving something like a divine univocity, a unity of word and thing. For our purposes, Spenser’s vocative reluctance and distance from his subject reads instead as an apophatic reverence for the Queen’s ineffability. A kind of poet’s martyrdom: Spenser, in his refusal-to-invoke, sacrifices his own vocation for the sake of his Queen, preserving Elizabeth as unreadable.

In searching for metaphors for the task of poetry, Spenser opts for that of “unveiling”; compare to Heidegger: “the poetic word unveils … this unveiling is poetic.”²³ This image is a potent one, as one critic notes: “[making] Elizabeth into a holy presence; we cannot follow the priest-poet behind the veil that separates the deity’s altar from her outer temple.”²⁴ I quote from proem two, addressed to the Queen herself:

And thou, O fairest Princesse vnder sky, / In this faire mirrhoure maist behold thy face, And thine owne realmes in lond of Faery, / And in this antique Imag of thy great auncestry. The which O pardon me thus to enfold / In couert vele, and wrap in shadowes light, / That feeble eyes your glory may behold, / Which else could not endure those beames bright, But would be dazzled with exceeding light. (II.pr.4–5)

Like the veil of the sufis, Elizabeth’s vele is one that paradoxically reveals in its concealment. As Richard Rambuss suggests in his critique of Bellamy’s reading of this verse, “rather than seeking to ‘name’ Elizabeth, or to lift the ‘couert vele’ that always obscures her, the poem’s investment, I suggest, lies precisely in maintaining that veil, in keeping her (as its) secret.”²⁵ Spenser’s refusal to invoke, and his implied sense of propriety in ultimately not rending Elizabeth’s veil (with all its virginal associations), is thus declared as the poem’s revised mission — unveiling the fact of the Queen’s veil, disclosing the fact of her hiddenness. Spenser’s poeticization is in this sense native to that of the Psalmist: an act of expression that seeks a generative obscurity, placing the reader in relation with the poetic object’s (God; monarch) unnameability.

Unknown, The Coronation Portrait (Queen Elizabeth I), 1559

9. Against Politics

The question of sovereignty is thus ultimately one of invocation, of the tension between speaking and silence. A final example: in an essay devoted to outlining the belief structure of the Russian counter- revolution’s “White Movement” Peter Kenez proposes something unusual by the standards we usually rely on to think in retrospect about the twentieth-century’s wars of ideology. His claim is as follows: the White troops and those Russians allied with them (Kenez calls these people “conservatives”) did not take as their enemy the Bolsheviks themselves but instead the threat of “politics” writ large, of which communism was merely an especially loud example. The threat to the existing order as they recognized it was understood not in terms of a specifically communist or even anti-Tsarist political discourse but in the fact of political discourse itself.

Politics was known by its signs: “They imagined it to be nothing more than participating in party activities, elections and giving speeches in the Duma. They saw those who chose a political career as troublemakers and enemies of the Tsar.”²⁶ Inversely, the White officers saw themselves and their struggle not merely as a defense of an alternative political ideology but as the defense of pre-political and pre-discursive absolutism against the threat of “politics”; the defense, thus, of the silence and occultation of the sovereign’s power against those that would seek to breach it with language.

10. King Asleep in the Mountain

We grow weary with talk of dead royalty. I close, then, with a word on our own moment — one defined, like so many aspects of modernity, by an inversion of the traditional formula outlined above. Far from being remote gods our leaders are instead valued above all for their accessibility and personality (we may as well substitute in “personhood,” “corporeality”); the real activity of politics itself, by contrast, has the feeling always of being conducted under the utmost secrecy.

Conspiracy theories — perhaps the definitive poetic mode of our era — seek pathetically some means of rending this veil. This is an excercise in opacity, a deeply populist mission that usually adopts the language of “exposing” the covert actions of the elite class and thus to provide us as political subjects with a shred of existential insight. But implied in such efforts, I would argue, is the tenacious belief that those leaders who are most visible (elected politicians, for instance) could not possibly be the ones actually orchestrating world events, and that those possessing true power must be out of sight entirely and, essentially, nameless. It is in the manner that the fidelity to the veiled sovereign can be said to have survived.

I have no further evaluation, no polemic, no meaningful critique of the existing order of things. Ultimately, I can only offer you a myth.

It is said by some that Arthur, like many kings, never died. According to certain variations of the legend he instead is said to have survived and taken refuge after his battle with the traitorous Mordred in the depths of a hollow mountain, perhaps Etna. He is described as slumbering here for centuries, his wounds occasionally “breaking out fresh,” awaiting the omen that will determine it is time for him to reclaim his kingdom and people.²⁷

Arthur’s hiding and the inevitability of his return is catalogued by scholars of myth as an example of the “king asleep in the mountain” motif (Stith Thompson D 1960.2), a messianic theme relying on the hope for salvation from modern ills by an ancient hero. The king’s immortality and concealment here — be it in or under a mountain or within a hollow oak — is thus understood to be an aspect of his enduring sovereignty. Only in being removed from sight and discourse does the king (alive still today!) maintain his power. The veiled sovereign endures still — if, for now, in hiding.

Malory, in his version of the legend, reports that they had written the following verse on the king’s tomb: “Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondum rexque futurus [Here lies Arthur, the once and future king].” We answer in our liturgy: “The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord will be King forever.”

(Postscript: On descending from Sinai with the tablets a second time it is revealed that Moses’ face, unbeknownst to him, is radiant with light — the trace of his proximity to God. The radiance was such that, as though he were an angel, the people Israel fled from Moses in terror. To remedy this Moses placed a masveh, a veil, over his face, only removing it in order to speak with God or to teach the nation Torah. The ambiguity of this system in the verse from Exodus is resolved in the commentary of the Netziv: Moses’ veil had three positions, not two; thus, when emerging from God’s presence he would wear the veil but rolled up, covering only half of his face. This partial disclosure or “half- revelation” of the veiled prophet “generates a desire for dibbur, for language”²⁸; the people desire the divine Word only through the indeterminate almost-hiddenness of Moses’ face. Thus, the oscillating dynamic of disclosure and concealment native to God’s relationship with Israel finds a living metaphor in Torah’s messenger. We learn finally in a discourse from the Lubavitcher Rebbe that Moses’ concealed radiance was in fact the light of his angelic spirit unbound from the “veiling” of his flesh. Compare with the seraphim of Isaiah, said to cover their face with their wings.)

  1. See Matthew Taylor’s “Arcana imperii Reconsidered: Tacitus and the Ethics of State Secrecy.”
  2. Agamben, Giorgio. Stasis. Stanford University Press, 2015: 45.
  3. Toledot Ya’akov Yosef, Bereshit, 1a. As cited in Mayse, Ariel Evan, and Sam Berrin Shonkoff. Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World. Brandeis University Press, 2020: 6–7.
  4. Wolfson’s paraphrase of “a well-known Sufi sentiment”. See Wolfson, Elliot R. Open Secret. Columbia University Press, 2009.
  5. Schmitt, Carl. Political theology: Four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. University of Chicago Press, 2005: 36.
  6. Cioran, Emile M. Anathemas and admirations. Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2012: 27.
  7. Barthes: “to be contemporary is to be untimely.” See Agamben’s essay, “What is the Contemporary?” collected in Nudities. Stanford University Press, 2010: 10–19.
  8. Refer to Cioran: 42–43.
  9. See “The Paradox of the Veil in Sufism,” collected in Wolfson, Elliot R. Rending the Veil: Concealment and Secrecy in the History of Religions. Seven Bridges Press, 1999: 60.
  10. Ibid: 83.
  11. Wolfson, Language Eros Being: 232.
  12. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Outlines of the Philosophy of Right. OUP Oxford, 2008: 268.
  13. Kantorowicz, Ernst. The King’s Two Bodies. Princeton University Press, 2016: 5. n. 5–6.
  14. Ibid: 271.
  15. Ibid: 304.
  16. Ibid: 338, 342.
  17. Ibid: 263.
  18. Ibid: 421.
  19. See Nicholas, H. S. “The Coronation And The Monarchy.” The Australian Quarterly 25, no. 1 (1953): 12.
  20. Bagehot, Walter. The English Constitution. Oxford World Classics, 1891: 54.
  21. Bellamy, Elizabeth J. “The Vocative and the Vocational: The Unreadability of Elizabeth in the Faerie Queene.” ELH 54, no. 1 (1987): 4.
  22. Ibid: 5
  23. Heidegger, Martin. Hölderlin’s Hymn” The Ister”. Indiana University Press, 1996: 19.
  24. Stephens, Dorothy. The Limits of Eroticism in Post-Petrarchan Narrative: Conditional Pleasure from Spenser to Marvell. Vol. 29. Cambridge University Press, 1998: 121.
  25. Rambuss, Richard. Spenser’s Secret Career. Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press, 1993: 76.
  26. Kenez, Peter. “The Ideology of the White Movement.” Soviet Studies 32, no. 1 (1980): 61–62.
  27. See Jackson, Kenneth H., and Roger Sherman Loomis. “Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages.” (1959): 69.
  28. Zornberg, Avivah Gottlieb. Moses: A human life. Yale University Press, 2016: 157.



J. N.

Theology, Hermeneutics, Jewish Mysticism | UChicago Divinity 2025