Free Online Bible Library | Samuel Pufendorf

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Samuel Pufendorf

1632-1694. German philosopher. Born at Dorf-Chemnitz, son of a pastor, he became professor at Heidelberg (1661), at Lund (1670), historiographer to the court of Sweden (1677), and privy councillor to the elector of Brandenburg (1687). The first German professor of natural and international law, he elaborated, in a notable essay written in 1672, on the ideas of Grotius,* basing natural law on the instinctual responses of society and stressing its independence of revelation. Theology he treated as a type of mathematics, incurring the opposition of the orthodox theologians of Jena and Leipzig. In an essay on the relationship of the Christian religion to civil society (1687) he advocated the theory known as Collegialism,* asserting the voluntary nature of the church and criticizing the “territorialism”* of previous theorists. He also wrote historical accounts of the European kingdoms, of the papacy, Lutheranism, and of the Prussian royal house.