Jean Bodin's Law of Nations
Political Theology, Volume 21 (2020)
19 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 28, 2020
This article examines Jean Bodin as a theorist of “international” law avant la lettre. By contrast with the near-contemporaries more often considered as early pioneers of the emerging law of nations, Bodin’s work depicts legal order beyond the individual polity only obliquely. However, key facets of his description of sovereign authority and the state, and especially of the natural law framework in which he situated them, had major implications for the legal relations among peoples. While Bodin did not make it a project to explicitly formulate any new doctrine of the law of nations, his thought implies the possibility and necessity of a rational legal order among sovereign states, and has inspired subsequent developments in the field.
Keywords: Bodin, sovereignty, international law, theology, natural law
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