Sociology Index


Theocracy is a form of government by God or a god through a priestly order. Theocracy is a system of government or a State governed by a sacerdotal order, claiming a divine commission. Theocrat is person who rules in a theocracy as the representative of God or a god. In theocracy, the theocrat is a divine or deified ruler. A theocracy, as its name suggests, has to do with the rule of God over a people. But there is more to a theocracy than the bare fact that God is exercising control over his children. In theocracy, the country and its people are ruled by a group that believes to be guided by God. Theocracy is not without sins.

Theocracy also tends to curtail basic human rights in the name of religion. Aristotle used the term Theocracy as a synonym for rule by the wealthy, but Oligarchy is not always a rule by wealthy people, for which the appropriate term is Plutocracy as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group.

Theocracy and Democracy
Theocracy and democracy as forms of governments cannot really be compared. Whereas theocracy is religious, democracy is rational. Countries where theocracy is prevalent the rights to women have been curtailed. Women are deprived of basic rights such as education and welfare and are subject to a lot of domestic violence. Theocracy, compared to democracy is not a very progressive.

In Monarchy, Monarchs were often absolute in their power. A true theocracy exists when God’s dominion is coupled with a domain, when his rule is connected to a realm, an actual piece of real estate within the borders of which God rules his people in a special and unique way. Israel’s situation in the Promised Land is perhaps the most obvious example of a theocracy in the Bible.

In many of the islamic countries, it is basically theocracy, though they have elected representatives and parliament. The term theocracy was initially coined by Flavius Josephus in the first century A.D. to describe the characteristic government of the Jews. The common, generic use of the term theocracy, as defined above in terms of rule by a church or analogous religious leadership, can be more accurately described as an ecclesiocracy.

The Israeli Legal System: A Barrier to Theocracy - Abrutyn, Seth.
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Abstract: Sociologists see the role or function of the legal system from various angles; some view it as a form of integration in a modern pluralist society (David Emile Durkheim 1893/1984), other’s view it as a requisite institution for the development of rational capitalism and bureaucracy (Max Weber 1978). In light of the recent invasion of Iraq and the subsequent foray into statecraft, the legal system becomes a vital institution ensuring the separation of mosque and state, while promoting the “rule of law” to ensure the success of the other nascent institutions.

Beyond Theocracy and Secularism (Part I): Toward a New Paradigm for Law and Religion
Mark C. Modak-Truran, Mississippi College - School of Law, Mississippi College Law Review, Vol. 27, p. 159, 2007-2008. The secularization of law, that the law is or should be independent of any religious foundation or values constitutes the most widely-held assumption of the modern paradigm of law and religion.

Being Pious under a Theocracy: Religiosity in Post-Khomeini Iran, Tezcur, Gunes Murat
The question of how Islamic religion interacts with sociopolitical modernity has been at the forefront of public and academic debates. At the level of public value systems and attitudes, the focus has been on whether Islamic beliefs foster anti-secular political worldviews. The findings suggest that both religiosity and positive political attitudes towards the state make people more supportive of the Islamic rule. Religious citizens refrain from participating in Friday prayers as a reaction to their abuse by regime hardliners for political propaganda and are highly critical of the current political governance.

Lucas Swaine, Critical Review, Volume 19, Issue 4 October 2007 , pages 565 - 575
Abstract: Liberal theory has failed to provide theocrats who are aggrieved by the sinful practices widespread in liberal societies good reasons to tolerate these sins. Moreover, liberal theory has faltered in identifying grounds on which to impose regulations that violate theocrats' religious doctrines. These challenges must be met if liberalism is to temper religious discord and to maintain its own relevance in a world replete with theocratic conceptions of the good.

Globalisation, theocracy and the new fascism: the US Right’s rise to power
Carl Davidson, Jerry Harris, Global Studies Association of North America - Race & Class, Vol. 47, No. 3, 47-67 (2006)
The Christian Right is an increasingly powerful phenomenon in US politics. Extremely influential in the current administration, it has been building a mass base across the nation. This analysis of a movement that has been growing over the past four decades reveals the complex interrelationships between its different strands, their reach into the mass media, their war of attrition against socially liberal legislation and the opportunistic links with elements of the pro-Israel lobby. Also examined are the contradictions and potential contradictions within its different facets.

Serving God in a Largely Theocratic Society: Rivalry and Cooperation between Church and King - Pierre Salmon (LEG - CNRS UMR 5118 - Université de Bourgogne)
Abstract: A “largely theocratic society” (LTS) is defined as one in which the main purpose of government is religious and some coercion is used to serve it. Such societies exist at least in the imagination and discourse of some people. The focus is on LTS in which the major religious roles are assigned on the basis of theological interpretations to priesthood, kingship and community.