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Title: Christian Thomasius' theory of natural law in its religious and natural philosophical context
Author: Ahnert, T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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The subject of my PhD thesis is the natural law theory of the German Enlightenment jurist and philosopher Christian Thomasius (1655-1728) in its religious and natural philosophical context. In the intellectual history of Germany Thomasius is held to be a crucial figure in the transition from the Baroque to the Enlightenment. Although the interpretations of his work differ in detail, the consensus is that his work reflects the emancipation from antiquated, scholastic and religiously determined modes of thought to a more recognizably modern, even secular outlook in German intellectual life. Thomasius' thought is perceived as an advance towards the later development of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. Central to my interpretation of Thomasius' thought, however, is the emphasis on his religiously rather than on any elements of modern rationalism, which have been seen to be present in his thought. The aim of my thesis is thereby to reverse the dominant perspective on Thomasius' thought and set him in his specific historical context of seventeenth-century intellectual traditions, in which religion is of central importance. The research I have accomplished shows that Thomasius' thought represents part of a strand of spiritualist Christianity which was a prominent feature of seventeenth-century German religious culture. This has received too little attention in secondary literature, although it is critical to understanding his thought as a whole. Thomasius' concern with religious questions was a response to political and religious controversies between Calvinists and Lutherans and between different factions of the Lutheran church in Saxony, Brandenbury and the duchy of Magdeburg between about 1688 and 1700, especially over the nature of ecclesiastical discipline. Thomasius' religiosity ties together what appear at first to be widely disparate, unrelated interests in natural jurisprudence and moral philosophy, the nature of faith and the Christian church, ecclesiastical history, natural science and Roman Law.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available