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Natural law and religion in the thought of Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694)

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Natural law and religion in the thought of Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694)

Gerhart von., Kap-herr (1991) Natural law and religion in the thought of Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1694). PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The emergence of natural law in seventeenth-century Europe was a response to decades of continuous "Warre" inspired by religious differences. The natural jurists of the seventeenth century (Grotius, Hobbes, and Pufendorf) all sought a remedy for the condition of war in independent sovereign states. Pufendorf's concept of a state derived from an assumed natural state of mankind, regulated by a law of nature, a law which obliges all men to be sociable, and agree upon the means of achieving sociability, namely contractual submission to sovereign power. Pufendorf developed his major work, De Jure Naturae et Gentium, as a synthesis of Grotian and Hobbesian thought, making sociability the foundation of his natural law system. This earned him the criticism, that he had effected a heretical separation of natural law from theology. Pufendorf responded to this accusation with a work on church-state relations and in De habitu religionis christianae ad vitam civilem, he reinforced his view concerning the role of the church as a necessary institution for the moral education of the citizen, but under the jurisdiction and protection of the civil authority. Late in his life, Pufendorf admitted that natural law could only provide the mere necessities of sociability, but that for the fulfillment of mankind the observation of religious dictates of a moral theology was necessary. And to know these, in addition to common sense, faith in theology, as revealed in Holy Scriptures is needed. His last work, Jus Feciale Divinum sive de Consensu et Dissensu Protestantium, was concerned with the fundamental articles of faith necessary for Salvation, and the common ground for a Christian morality, as a possible means of uniting all religious denominations. His legitimate notion of individual state sovereignty, so necessary for his time in defence against the imperialist forces of secular as well as ecclesiastical domination, has now become the very obstacle to the necessary reunification of nations under the dictate of pressing global concerns. However, his theological jurisprudence, inspired by Christian belief, can contribute to the unification of all religious denominations into a single source of humanism. To this end, Pufendorf had made a valiant contribution, hitherto unrecognized, which this thesis attempts to correct.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gerhart von., Kap-herr
Pagination:iv, 452 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Humanities Programme
Date:1991
Thesis Supervisor(s):Moore, James
ID Code:24
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:09
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:12
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