Cornelius van Bynkershoek: His Role in the History of International Law


Author: Kinji Akashi
In offering a critical analysis of the writings of Cornelius van Bynkershoek (1673-1743) - the eminent Dutch jurist known traditionally as a `positivist', in the history of international law - this work goes beyond an analysis of the `classics' per se to clarify some basic questions concerning the history of international law, such as the relationship between legal doctrine and state practice and the reconsideration of methodological differences among historical figures like Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel. It also covers some fundamental problems of international law generally, such as the meaning of positivism and positive law and the function of reason.
The work comprises three main parts: - the construction of Van Bynkershoek's general theory of the law of nations, - an overview and analysis of the contemporary practice relevant to his theories on the laws of neutral commerce, and - the 'genealogy' of Van Bynkershoek's works, namely his relation to Grotius and to his later generations of publicists. Scholars and others interested in the past and future direction of international law as a whole will not want to miss this highly original offering.

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' This book is highly recommended for those seeking a better understanding of the intellectual development of international law and particularly of this notable classicist.' International Journal of Legal Information, 28:2 (2000).
Introduction: The Purpose of this Study and Some Remarks on Method and Terms. Preliminary Consideration: Bynkershoek's Generally Accepted Position in the History of International Law. Part 1: Theory Per Se: Bynkershoek's Theory of Jus gentium. I. The Definition of Jus gentium. II. The Source of Jus gentium: Bynkershoek's Concept of Usus, Consuetudo and Mores. III. The Source of Jus gentium: Bynkershoek's Concept of `Agreement'. IV. The Subjects of Jus gentium. V. Ratio as Used by Bynkershoek. Part 2: Method: Bynkershoek's Opinion and the Dutch Practice. I. Dutch Policy on Neutral Commerce in the 17th Century: A Review of Bynkershoek's Theory. II. Dutch Policy on Contraband in the 17th Century: Treatment of Naval Stores and Bynkershoek's Theory. Part 3: Genealogy: Bynkershoek's Works in the Stream of Legal Thoughts of the Law of Nations. I. Bynkershoek and Grotius. II. Bynkershoek and Vattel. III. Bynkershoek and Anglo-American Jurisprudence. Conclusion. Bibliography.