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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2022
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Law: General Interest, Law, Sociology of Religion, Sociology, Jurisprudence

Book description

In the same intellectual league as Grotius, Hobbes and Locke, but today less well known, Samuel Pufendorf was an early modern master of political, juridical, historical and theological thought. Trained in an erudite humanism, he brought his copious command of ancient and modern literature to bear on precisely honed arguments designed to engage directly with contemporary political and religious problems. Through his fundamental reconstruction of the discipline of natural law, Pufendorf offered a new rationale for the sovereign territorial state, providing it with non-religious foundations in order to fit it for governance of multi-religious societies and to protect his own Protestant faith. He also drew on his humanist learning to write important political histories, a significant lay theology, and vivid polemics against his many opponents. This volume makes the full scope of his thought and writing accessible to English readers for the first time.


‘This exciting volume brings leading scholars together to offer an authoritative view of one of the most important figures in early modern European thought. Haakonssen and Hunter's expert curation allows us to appreciate Pufendorf's cosmopolitan enterprise at the cutting edge of European intellectual culture, bridging disciplines, institutions and countries in a way that is reflected by the contributors themselves.'

Annabel Brett - Professor of Political Thought and History, University of Cambridge

‘Samuel Pufendorf’s fame has lagged behind other pivotal early modern natural law theorists, but this pioneering collection confirms he was fully in their league and demands the attention that he has begun to acquire in our understanding of discourses of duties, rights, sovereignty, and international order. This volume is precious for the specialist and student of political thought alike.’

Samuel Moyn - Yale University

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