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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is to Samuel von Pufendorf's masterful amalgamation of the spiritual and the scientific that America owes much of the strength of the foundation of liberty upon which she was erected.
Burlamaqui was familiar with the works of Pufendorf, as he was a disciple of Jean Barbeyrac, the eminent editor of Hugo Grotius and Samuel von Pufendorf. His mentor encouraged him to study the works of his contemporaries and adjust them to the world as he sought fit.
(214) William Blackstone, Hugo Grotius, Baron Samuel von Pufendorf, John Locke, and Thomas Hobbes all acknowledged similar categories of law, (215) and Jerome Frank wrote, "I do not understand how any decent man today can refuse to adopt, as the basis of modern civilization, the fundamental principles of Natural Law, relative to human conduct, as stated by Thomas Aquinas." (216)
(226.) 2 SAMUEL VON PUFENDORF, ELEMENTORUM JURISPRUDENTIAE UNIVERSALIS LIBRI DUO [ELEMENTS OF UNIVERSAL JURISPRUDENCE IN TWO BOOKS] [section] 10, at 154 (James Brown Scott ed., William Abbott Oldfather trans., Oxford 1931) (1660) (all citations to Elementorum Jurisprudentiae Universalis are from the indicated section of the "Definition XIII" (definition of a law) chapter of book I, unless otherwise indicated, and page numbers correspond to this particular English translation).
(16) Samuel von Pufendorf, Of the Law of Nature and Nations (1672), trans.
(17) Samuel von Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen, ed.
Only as the fervour of religious differences receded in the century and a half after the end of the Thirty Years War, did a new body of thought and practice -- led by such theorists as Hugo Grotius and Samuel von Pufendorf -- emerge.
Beyond the Persecuting Society not only considers practices of toleration in eastern Switzerland, 1525-1615, and in seventeenth-century Massachusetts, but also analyzes the thought of Peter Abelard, John of Salisbury, Menahem ben Solomon Ha-Ne'ira, the circle of Cardinal Pole, Jean Bodin, Samuel von Pufendorf, Pierre Bayle, Aphra Behn, and seventeenth-century religious skeptics and millenarian dogmatists.