Pufendorf: The Duty of Man and Citizen According to the Natural Law (1673)


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“Pufendorf’s overriding concern was to harmonize the insights of early Enlightenment political thinking with Christian theology. Pufendorf’s primary contribution was his emphasis on the “sociality” of humankind as the foundation of the natural law. Sociability, however, is threatened by the fallen character of the human condition. Hence God, the divine lawgiver, established laws to order human social life. As Pufendorf writes, “Just as the life of men would without society be similar to the life of the beasts, so the law of nature is chiefly based on the principle that social life is to be preserved among men.” Religion and Liberty, Acton Institute (January and February 2002 Issue), Vol. 12 No. 1.

De Officio Hominis et Civis Juxta Legem Naturalem Libri Duo. Translation of the Dedication and Preface by Herbert F. Wright, translation of the text by Frank Gardner Moore (1927), based on the 1682 edition. Footnotes have been omitted in this version, and spelling has been modernized. Books 1-2, 116 pages, 35 chapters, with chapter bookmarks. Available in .pdf file format for reading on your PC, e-reader, tablet or smart phone. This is a fully digital edition of this work – it is not a hard copy publication or facsimile edition. This electronic edition © Copyright 2003, 2005 Lonang Institute.  Click here to view this book in its entirety.

“What is the character of the natural law, what its necessity, and of what precepts it consists in the present state of mankind, are most clearly seen, after one has thoroughly examined the nature and disposition of man. For, just as for an accurate knowledge of civil laws, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the condition of the state, and of the habits and interests of its citizens, so if we have examined the common disposition of men and their condition, it will be readily apparent upon what laws their welfare depends.”    S. von Pufendorf, from On The Duty of Man and Citizen According to the Natural Law.

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