Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The tradition of natural law goes back to antiquity (notably Marcus Tullius Cicero); it was then incorporated and further developed in Christian moral philosophy (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham) and saw its most important development as a response to the civil and religious wars during the early modern period. In the seventeenth century, natural law theory clearly was at the height of its theoretical development (Thomas Hobbes and Samuel von Pufendorf were the most important theorists), and its influence across most of Europe not only was felt in dominant political discourses but also was prominently present in the curricula of most law students. Its increasing theoretical elaboration and differentiation dominated moral and political philosophy, and on the practical side, its wideranging dissemination during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries influenced the formation of European bureaucracies and civil servants. Since the fifth century BCE, natural law has ...