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Author: Mark Somos

This research note announces and briefly describes a new five-year project to prepare a census bibliography of the first ten editions of Grotus’s De iure belli ac pacis ( ibp ). The resulting book will be published in 2025, the 400th anniversary of ibp’s first appearance. The project is sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg.

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In: Grotiana
Author: Mark Somos

Abstract

This article shows that the conspicuous and consistent idiosyncrasy of Grotius's Biblical interpretation is an important part of his revolutionary effort to secularize natural law. In De iure praedae and related works, Grotius systematically deployed a range of exegetical techniques in order to demonstrate that the Bible, like all texts, is open to multiple interpretations and susceptible to hijacking by rival agendas. This strategy aimed to render the Bible inadmissible as evidence in legal disputes and political legitimacy claims. The consistent instrumentality of Grotius's use of the Bible in IPC cannot be dismissed as mere legalistic opportunism or described as an atheistic move. Rather, Grotius's exegetical strategy was motivated by pacifism and a desire to protect religion from politicization. The article positions this secularization strategy in the intellectual environment of the Leiden Circle, and shows how competing Catholic, Calvinist, and Mennonite political readings of the same key biblical passages during the Dutch-Iberian conflict provided the immediate occasion for writing IPC. In order to construct a natural law theory that was independent from, and therefore acceptable to, all religious sides, it was necessary to ensure that the Bible have no final word in law or politics, lest its invocation link disagreements to belief and thereby render them impossible to resolve.

In: Grotiana
Author: Mark Somos
This book shows how a group of early-seventeenth-century writers excluded theologically grounded argument from a wide range of disciplines, from the natural sciences to international relations. Somos uses richly contextualised portraits of Scaliger, Heinsius, Cunaeus and Grotius to develop a new model of secularisation as a contingent, cumulative, and incomplete process, with some unintended consequences. Facing severe conflict, the Leiden Circle realised that rival claims that staked their truth-content and validity on religious belief were ultimately irreconcilable. Gradually they removed such claims from acceptable discourse, contributing to the comprehensive secularisation that defines modernity. If blindness to religious claims has become definitive of modern politics, Somos concludes, recollecting its historical complexity and contingency is essential for overcoming some of its failures.
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle
In: Secularisation and the Leiden Circle