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Willem Van der Muelen (1659–1739), jurist and member of the Dutch urban elite, was the author of a huge and widely read commentary on Hugo Grotius’s De iure belli ac pacis. Defined by the Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico as a simple ‘embellisher’ of Grotius, but in recent times hailed as ‘the Dutch Locke’, Van der Muelen certainly deserves more attention. The essay will focus on the justification of political resistance to the sovereign, a particularly controversial issue both in early-modern political thought and in Grotius himself. I argue that Van der Muelen, far from being a simple ‘embellisher’ of Grotius, adopts a more radical view based on a strong individualistic and utilitarian anthropology, bridging the Scholastic and monarchomach ideas of resistance – to which he is still indebted – with modern natural law jurisprudence. Thus he offers an interesting companion to Locke as well as a source of inspiration for later commentators such as Jean Barbeyrac.

In: Grotiana
In: Grotiana
In: Trust and Happiness in the History of European Political Thought
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Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623) was a Servite monk, jurist, scientist and controversialist writing in the context of the political struggle between the Holy See and the Republic of Venice at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He is most well known for his republication of Jean Gerson’s writings and the appearance of Sarpi’s famous History of the Council of Trent (1619), soon condemned by the Roman Index. Like Cusanus, Sarpi was a student in Padua, and his interest in the Cardinal of Cusa, which is confirmed by direct quotations, ranges from the defense of the free interpretation of Scripture to Copernicanism and cosmology (he was a close friend of Galileo Galilei). But the main link between Sarpi and Cusanus is conciliar theory, upheld by Sarpi against the popes in the age of the attempted secularisation and separation of politics from religion, but also of the beginning of the so-called “nation-states.” The political and intellectual debates over the Venetian Interdetto led to a European-scale dispute between Sarpi and Cardinal Bellarmine, opposing two different ways of interpreting the need for a Catholic Reformation, and demonstrating the strong ties between late medieval conciliarism and early modern constitutionalism.

In: Nicholas of Cusa and the Making of the Early Modern World
Author:

Paolo Sarpi (1552–1623) was a Servite monk, jurist, scientist and controversialist writing in the context of the political struggle between the Holy See and the Republic of Venice at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He is most well known for his republication of Jean Gerson’s writings and the appearance of Sarpi’s famous History of the Council of Trent (1619), soon condemned by the Roman Index. Like Cusanus, Sarpi was a student in Padua, and his interest in the Cardinal of Cusa, which is confirmed by direct quotations, ranges from the defense of the free interpretation of Scripture to Copernicanism and cosmology (he was a close friend of Galileo Galilei). But the main link between Sarpi and Cusanus is conciliar theory, upheld by Sarpi against the popes in the age of the attempted secularisation and separation of politics from religion, but also of the beginning of the so-called “nation-states.” The political and intellectual debates over the Venetian Interdetto led to a European-scale dispute between Sarpi and Cardinal Bellarmine, opposing two different ways of interpreting the need for a Catholic Reformation, and demonstrating the strong ties between late medieval conciliarism and early modern constitutionalism.

In: Nicholas of Cusa and the Making of the Early Modern World