Samuel von Pufendorf

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pufendorf, Samuel von


Born Jan. 8, 1632, in Dorf-chemnitz; died Oct. 2, 1694, in Berlin. Representative of the 17th-century Enlightenment in Germany.

Pufendorf taught at a number of Western European universities and occupied the first chair of natural law in Europe, which was established at the University of Heidelberg. He lived in Sweden for many years, where he taught at the University of Lund.

Pufendorf accepted the concepts of natural law elaborated by H. Grotius and T. Hobbes, but he interpreted these concepts from the point of view of the German bourgeoisie, which was incapable of waging a decisive struggle against feudalism. He spoke out against theological scholasticism and against intervention by the church in affairs of state, and he criticized the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” At the same time, however, he justified the existence of absolutism and considered slavery and serfdom to be legitimate phenomena. Pufendorf is the author of many works on jurisprudence and history. Most of them were written in Latin and later translated into various European languages.


Elementorum jurisprudence universalis libri duo. The Hague, 1660.
De jure naturae et gentium, libri octo. Lund, 1672.
In Russian translation:
Vvedenie v istoriiu evropeiskuiu. … St. Petersburg, 1718 (reissued, St. Petersburg, 1723).
O dolzhnosti cheloveka i grazhdanina po zakonu estestvennomu …. St. Petersburg, 1726.


Istoriia politicheskikh uchenii. Moscow, 1960. Pages238–42.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Gr|ningius (1669-1747) does not figure among the well known thinkers of the 17th century, indeed is known mainly for writing a number of works on numismatics, say Maxwell-Stuart, Murdock and M'ller, but he also wrote the thesis Navigatio libera (Unimpeded Sailing), which itself is known mainly through Samuel Pufendorf's critical account of it.
BEYOND THESE INTRODUCTORY LEGAL texts, there were scores of other books that explicated the law of nature specifically, including the works of Hugo Grotius, Samuel Pufendorf, John Locke, and the others whom Hamilton had commended to Bishop Seabury on the eve of the American Revolution.
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1) And he soon indicates the essence of the original case for the right to bear arms--the case made by Enlightenment thinkers such as Samuel Pufendorf, John Locke, and America's founders.
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(16) Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen according to Natural Law, ed.