By Otto Friedrich von Gierke
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Extra info for Natural Law and the Theory of Society 1500 to 1800, with a Lecture on the Ideas of Natural Law and Humanity by Ernst Troeltsch, Translated with an Introduction by Ernest Barker.
Instead of pure rallO, covering the world and time with its system of rational rules, and proceeding from and returning upon the individual, there was to be ~ubstltutcd the Volksgexsl, immersed in the historical flood of its own partIcular development, and immersing the individual in the movement of its own collective life. Law, on this view, is essentially Volksrechl: it is the product, in each nation, of the national genius. C. D. 533. It rejected, as an incubus '" See AppendIX II, p. 224. Translator's Introduction Ii upon the growing life of nations, the conception of a supernational rule of right, whether that conception took the form of adhesion to Roman law as a ratto scripta for all humanity, or issued in the proclamation of a new Natural Law based on pure ratio naturalts.
Practised in some degree almost everywhere, and taught everywhere, 'it was the law of an international civihsation, and relatively universal'. Because it was thus universal, it could already be called natural; and for this reason alone we may say that 'its veneration in the Middle Ages as Natural Law was not entirely unjustified'. * But it could be regarded as natural not only because it was universal, but also because it seemed to be supremely reasonable. It was the expression of human reason in a great body ofscnpture (ratio scripta), whIch might seem to be parallel, m things earthly, to the heavenly Scripture committed to the Church.
It had (in no derogatory sense of the word) an academic quality. Its immediate life was tht:. life of Translator's Introduction xliii lectures and text-books; and it moved more in the world of thought than in the world of action. But the world of thought is an important world, and the School of Natural Law was deeply entrenched in its recesses. Its very academic quality brought it into close contact with the philosophies and the philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Grotius and Pufendorf must count among the great thinkers of their day Burlamaqui brought the principles of Cartesianism to the elucidation of Natural Law in his Pnnczpes du droit naturel, published at Geneva in 1747.