Sacred Polities, Natural Law and the Law of Nations in the 16th-17th Centuries


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Often considered a secularizing force in the rise of the nation state, natural law was also invoked in defence of confessional states. The fourteen chapters in this volume show how religious and secularizing approaches to natural and biblical law interacted and combined as early modern states navigated the fallout from the Reformation. From this new perspective, the volume revisits questions of political legitimacy, civic and ecclesiastical authority, societal stability, conceptions of the common good, liberalism’s value pluralism (and its pretence), toleration and the lingering humanist project of determining “who are we” – issues that were as important then as they are now.

Contributors are: Dominique Bauer, Thomas Behme, Hans Blom, Jiří Chotaš, Alberto Clerici, Stefanie Ertz, Arthur Eyffinger, Heikki Haara, Mads Langballe Jensen, Adriana Luna-Fabritius, Denis Ramelet, József Simon, and Markus M. Totzeck.

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Hans W. Blom, Ph.D. (1995), Utrecht University, taught history of political thought at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and publishes books and articles on Dutch political thought in the seventeenth century. He is editor-in-chief of Grotiana.
"Unlike many volumes of essays that emerge from conferences, this collection is notable not just for the sum of its distinguished parts, but also for the care with which the contributors illuminate different facets of the main theme – the continuously fraught but also continuously creative relationship between natural law and religious practice and discourse in the post-Reformation era." Tim Hochstrasser, in Grotiana, Volume 43 Issue 2 (Dec 2022).

"The title of the book does not refer to societies that exist or existed, but to certain theological-political theories which preoccupied theologians and political thinker in the early Reformation era.""

Thomas Mautner, in: Lychnos (Annual of the Swedish History of Science Society) (2022) pp. 329-331

Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
  Hans W. Blom

part 1
Humanist Inroads into Natural Law
2 Natural Law and National Polity The Leiden Discourse on State and Church (1575–1625)
  Arthur Eyffinger

3 ‘Without prophetic and apostolic voices’ Niels Hemmingsen’s On the law of Nature According to a Demonstrative Method
  Mads Langballe Jensen

4 Between Scripture and Stoicism The Duty of Intervention in the Calvinist Monarchomachs
  Alberto Clerici

5 Separating the Universal and Natural from the Particular in the Mosaic Legislation The Humanist and Calvinist Context of Franciscus Junius’s De politiae Mosis observatione (1593)
  Markus M. Totzeck

6 Challenges of Universalism Theologico-Philosophical Considerations of Natural Law by Transylvanian Antitrinitarians in the Late Sixteenth Century (Jacobus Palaeologus and Christian Francken)
  József Simon

7 Natural Law, Contingency and History in the Legal Thought of Francisco Suárez
  Dominique Bauer

part 2
Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf
8 Grotius on Natural Law
  Arthur Eyffinger

9 Erastianism and Natural Law in Hugo Grotius’s De imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra
  Stefanie Ertz

10 Grotius on the Foundation of Natural Law
  Jiří Chotaš

11 Pufendorf’s Lutheranism
  Thomas Behme

12 Pufendorf Coercion, Religious Beliefs and Toleration
  Heikki Haara

13 Moral Entities, Divine Will and Natural Law According to Pufendorf
  Denis Ramelet

14 Providence and Uses of Grotian Strategies in Neapolitan Political Thought, 1650–1750
  Adriana Luna-Fabritius


Research institutes in history, politics, theology, scholars of early-modern religious and political history, students of intellectual history.
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