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1 - Life and Intellectual Development

An Introductory Biographical Sketch

from Part I - Grotius in Context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2021

Randall Lesaffer
Affiliation:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Janne E. Nijman
Affiliation:
Universiteit van Amsterdam
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Summary

The purpose of this introductory sketch is to offer a biographical frame that helps the reader to place the articles in this companion in their historical context. The overview of Grotius’ life contains the most important chronological facts, publications and professional occupations that gave shape to his personal, political and scholarly career. Special attention is paid to his research in the fields of law, philology, ecclesiastical politics and exegesis. Much of the information gathered here is to be found in Henk Nellen, Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). A lifelong struggle for peace in Church and State (Leiden: Brill, 2014), but in order to avoid falling back into a downright summary of this biography some new material has been included. The story of Grotius’ eventful life is told along lines offered by a triptych of friendships that determined his scholarly efforts to a large extent: he successively kept close relations with Daniel Heinsius, who rivalled with him in many literary activities, Gerardus Joannes Vossius who assisted him in realizing his political-theological objectives, and Denis Pétau who advised him on his exegetical works. A succinct description of Grotius’ Nachleben serves to show that long after his death his theological works attracted an international readership and enjoyed an acclaim that is comparable to the one he attained in the fields of natural law and international law.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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