ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

vrijdag 24 april 2015

BOOK: Benjamin STRAUMANN, Roman Law in the State of Nature. The Classical Foundations of Hugo Grotius' Natural Law [Ideas in Context] (Cambridge: CUP, 2015), 283 p. ISBN 9781107092907, £ 65

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Benjamin Straumann (NYU) published a new work on roman law and the early modern law of nations at Cambridge University Press.

Roman Law in the State of Nature offers a new interpretation of the foundations of Hugo Grotius' natural law theory. Surveying the significance of texts from classical antiquity, Benjamin Straumann argues that certain classical texts, namely Roman law and a specifically Ciceronian brand of Stoicism, were particularly influential for Grotius in the construction of his theory of natural law. The book asserts that Grotius, a humanist steeped in Roman law, had many reasons to employ Roman tradition and explains how Cicero's ethics and Roman law – secular and offering a doctrine of the freedom of the high seas – were ideally suited to provide the rules for Grotius' state of nature. This fascinating new study offers historians, classicists and political theorists a fresh account of the historical background of the development of natural rights, natural law and of international legal norms as they emerged in seventeenth-century early modern Europe.
Table of Contents:
1. Natural law in historical context
2. A novel doctrine of the sources of law: nature and the classics
3. Proving natural law: the influence of classical rhetoric on Grotius' method
4. Social instinct or self-preservation?
5. Justice for the state of nature: from Aristotle to the Corpus Iuris
6. Grotius' concept of the state of nature
7. Natural rights: Roman remedies in the state of nature
8. Natural rights and just wars
9. Enforcing natural law: the right to punish
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