Jean Barbeyrac

International Workshop, University of Lausanne

Time: July 4-5, 2024
Venue: University of Lausanne, building “Anthropole”, Room 5021, metro station (M1) “UNIL-Chamberonne”:
Organisation: Béla Kapossy, Simone Zurbuchen
Support: Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Lausanne


Thursday, July 4

Session 1: Life and Work, Networks and Correspondence
Chair: Simone Zurbuchen

09h00 – 09h15            Welcome

09h15 – 10h00           Béla Kapossy (University of Lausanne): Barbeyrac and the Swiss Enlightenment

10h00 – 10h45           Ann Thomson (European University Institute): Barbeyrac as part of Des Maizeaux’s intellectual and publishing network

            - Coffee break -

11h15 – 12h00            Kristoffer Schmidt (Copenhagen): Barbeyrac’s Library


Session 2: Natural Law and the Law of Nations
Chair: Mads Langballe Jensen

12h00 – 12h45           Knud Haakonssen (University of Copenhagen/University of St. Andrews): The core of Barbeyrac’s criticism of Pufendorf

            - Lunch break -

14h15 – 15h00           Edward Jones Corredera (University of Cambridge): Barbeyrac’s vision of debt: between political economy and the law of nations

15h00 – 15h45           Gabriella Silvestrini (Università del Piemonte orientale): Barbeyrac and Rousseau

            - Coffee break -

16h00 – 16h45           Frank Grunert (IZEA, Halle): “Not just working”. Games as a social model in Barbeyrac’s Traité du jeu


Friday, July 5

Session 3: Political, Religious, and Philosophical Controversies
Chair: Béla Kapossy

09h15 – 10h00           Denis Tappy (University of Lausanne): Les théories de Barbeyrac sur le droit de résistance à l’épreuve des faits en Suisse romande / Barbeyrac’s theories of toleration in the Suisse romande context

10h00 – 10h45           Fiammetta Palladini (Berlin): Jean Barbeyrac et ses adversaires orthodoxes à Berlin / Jean Barbeyrac and his orthodox opponents in Berlin

            - Coffee break -

11h15 – 12h00           Simone Zurbuchen (University of Lausanne): Moral obligation: from Barbeyrac to Burlamaqui

12h00 – 12h45           Radek Szymanski (University of Lausanne): Moral obligation: Vattel’s critique of Barbeyrac




Participation: the workshop is open for anyone interested. For practical reasons please register before June 15, 2024:

For further information please contact or

Natural Law and Enlightenment Universities in East-Central Europe

Natural Law and Enlightenment Universities in East-Central Europe

Prague, 19-20 September 2024, Academy of Sciences, Národní 1009/3, 110 00 Praha 1

Organisation: Ivo Cerman (University of South Bohemia), Jan Květina (History Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences)

Accommodation: Novoměstský hotel, Řeznická 1890/4, 11000 Praha 1

Lunch: U Medvídků, Na Perštýně 7, 100 01 Praha 1

The Outline:

Following up on the workshop on Eastern Europe that the Network organised in 2019 in Erfurt, the  present conference will focus on the era of Enlightenment reforms in the 18th century. It was during this era that the reforming monarchies and the Rzeczpospolita institutionalized natural law at universities and then utilized this discipline in a wide range of legislative measures. Also in East-Central Europe, we can observe this process from an academic discipline to practical legislation. As Knud Haakonssen recently put it:  ‘In sum, early modern natural law was first of all an academic discipline institutionalized for political reasons to discharge social, juridical and political functions.’ (Knud Haakonssen, Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Jurisprudence, p. 79). The workshop will focus on the institutionalization of natural law and related disciplines at institutions of higher education in East-Central Europe; it will explore the role of natural law in the drafting of the first systematic legal codes; and finally it will analyse the way natural law arguments were used in the discourse justifying the Enlightenment reforms. We will concentrate on the Habsburg monarchy, the Rzeczpospolita and the present-day Ukraine.

Thursday 19 September


Ivo Cerman – Jan Květina, Welcome Address

I General lectures

Daniel Kroupa (J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem), On the role of natural law in restoring the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Liberties in 1991

Knud Haakonssen (Copenhagen/St Andrews), The Study of Natural Law: History or Philosophy?

     - (Discussion) (Break) -

II Reforms of Higher Education: the institutionalization of natural law

Paweł Fiktus (University of Law in Wrocław) and and Marta Baranowska (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń), Between the Universalism of the Laws of Nature and the Particular National Culture. Hugo Kołłątaj’s Reform of the University of Cracow

Gábor Gángó (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, University of Erfurt), Catholic Natural Law in Poland, with Focus on Feliks Słotwinski

     - (Discussion)(Lunch) -

Volodymyr Kyrychenko (Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs), Opposition of Tsarism to the Spread of Ideas of Natural Law in the Universities of the Empire at the Beginning of the 19th Century

Volodymyr Kakhnych (Faculty of Law, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv), Natural Law at the University of Lviv

     - (Discussion) -

Ivo Cerman (Faculty of Arts, University of South Bohemia), Were Human Rights in Martini´s Natural Law Real?

Erika Juríková (Faculty of Pedagogy, University of Trnava), The Introduction of Natural Law at the University of Trnava and its Latin Terminology

     - (Discussion)(Break) -

Ivana Horbec (Croatian Institute of History): Nikola Škrlec Lomnički and the Political and Cameral Science at Colleges in Habsburg Croatia

Petrasovszky Anna Maria (Faculty of Law, University of Miskolc): Metamorphosis of Legal Philosophy: The Evolution of Natural Law Conception in 19th Century Hungary

     - (Discussion) -


Friday 20 September

III Western Influences

Thérence Carvalho (Faculté de droits et des sciences politiques de l´Université de Nantes), The Teaching of Physiocracy in Poland-Lithuania: Between the Renewal of Natural Law and the Encouragement of Enlightened Reforms

Volodymyr O. Abaschnik, (Kharkiv National Medical University), Johann Baptist Schad´s "Institutiones juris naturae", Charkoviae, 1814

Frank Grunert (Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung, Universität Halle), Natural Law and its Application. Ludwig Heinrich von Jakob (1759-1827) in Kharkiv and St Petersburg

     - (Discussion)(Break) -

IV The Impact on Systematic Codifications:

Ondřej Horák (Faculty of Law, University of Olomouc), Natural Law and the Codification of Civil Law in the Habsburg Monarchy

Christian Neschwara (Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität Wien), Natural Law and the Codification of Criminal Law in the Habsburg Monarchy

     - (Lunch) -

Eszter Cs. Herger (Faculty of Law, University of Pecs), The Influence of Natural Law on the Teaching of Family Law in Hungary

Paweł Fiktus (University of Law in Wrocław) and Marta Baranowska (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń), Codification of Law in the 18th Century in Poland on the Example of Andrzej Zamoyski's Code

     - (Discussion) -

IV Justifying Enlightenment Reforms

Olena Sokalska (Scientific-Research Institute of the Criminal-Executive Service and Probation, Kyiv Ukraine), The Influence of Natural Law on the Cossack Tradition of Early Modern Constitutionalism

Adam Perlakowski (Faculty of History, Jagiellonski University of Cracow), Golden Liberty as a Natural Law in the Polish Political Thought

Jan Květina (History Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences), Instrumentalization of Polish-Lithuanian Early Modern Republicans in the Discourse of the Enlightenment: The Case of Modrzewski

     - (Discussion) -


CFP: Wolffian natural law: A contested identity?


Conference of the Natural Law 1625-1850. An International Research Project in collaboration with Interdisziplinäre Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung, University of Halle-Wittenberg,

Venue: IZEA, MLU Halle-Wittenberg
Time: February 2025
Organisers: Mads Langballe Jensen, Martin Kühnel, Mikkel Munthe Jensen


“Wolffianism” is commonly recognised as the dominant school of philosophy in much of the eighteenth century, and hence as a significant episode in the general history of philosophy. “Wolffianism” was not least a phenomenon in the history of natural law. Christian Wolff produced an extensive body of works on the law of nature and nations in the 1740s and 1750s as part of his philosophical system and intended to replace the works of Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf as the standard literature in the discipline. For the Wolffians themselves, and other contemporary and later observers, Wolff’s works constituted a new and distinct form of natural law.[1]

“Wolffian natural law”, however, predated Christian Wolff’s own works by several decades. The natural law presented in his early German Ethics and German Politics was at best rudimentary, although he did set out a fuller conception of natural law already in his lectures in Marburg. So – as later with Kant – his followers started developing philosophical insights from these and his metaphysical works and applied them in their own works of natural law. Already in 1736, for instance, the decidedly non-Wolffian Danish professor of natural law, Andreas Hojer, listed works of natural law by scholars explicitly identified as “followers of Wolff”, including the Jena professor Heinrich Koehler. Hojer identified the doctrine of moral goodness and obligation independent of the divine as characteristic of Wolff, but he noted also that not all “the doctors or lovers of Wolffian philosophy” subscribe to this.[2]

Neither was Wolff himself perhaps the greatest populariser of Wolffian natural law. Several of his students’ works on natural law seem to have been just as great, or greater, vehicles for the transmission of “Wolffian natural law”, including Wolff’s protégé Ludwig Philipp Thümmig’s Institutiones Philosophiae Wolffianae (1725-1726) and Joachim Georg Darjes’ Observationes iuris naturalis socialis et gentium (1751-1754). Such works informed independent lectures on natural law or became the subject of detailed lectures themselves.

This leads to the key question of what principles and attitudes might be taken to define “Wolffian natural law”: an invocation of Wolff’s works and authority; perfection as the fundamental principle of natural law; a mathematical method and the primacy of the discipline and method of philosophy over other disciplines; the principle of sufficient reason; optimism about the human will and intellect; a distinct idea of the civic or educational role of Wolffianism (also for women); or something else entirely? All or only some of these? Such ideas are open to differing interpretations, and thinkers might adopt one or more of these ideas. But what was significant for natural lawyers in the eighteenth century to see themselves or others as Wolffians? And what is significant for modern scholarship to classify a natural lawyer as “Wolffian”?

Such considerations indicate that also in the domain of natural law, “Wolffianism” in the eighteenth century was a less unitary phenomenon, and that its relationship to other intellectual currents, such as “Pietism” or other, rival forms of natural law was less clear cut.[3]

To what extent, then, can there be said to have been a coherent school of “Wolffian natural law” in the eighteenth century and how was it distinguished from and how did it interact with other “schools” of natural law and the law of nations? Can distinct centres of teaching and modes of propagation be identified? What was the significance of Wolffianism for the disciplinary and institutional history of natural law? This conference invites contributions that address such questions by looking at the teaching of natural law at specific times and locales across eighteenth-century Europe (and beyond).


Please send topic proposals with an abstract (approx. 250 words) by 01.03.2024 to the following email address:


[1] Ompteda, Litteratur des gesammten sowohl natürlichen als positiven Völkerrechts (Regensburg, 1785), I, 320.

[2] Andreas Hojer, Ideae Icti Danici partem 1. (Copenhagen, 1736), 25, footnote C.

[3] Simon Grote, “Wolffianism and Pietism in eighteenth-century German philosophy”, Intellectual History Review 33, nr. 4 (2. October 2023): 673–701.


CFP: GROTIUS-CONFERENCE 2025: Teaching Hugo Grotius. The reception of De Iure Belli ac Pacis in European academia between 1625 and 1850.


Conference of the Natural Law 1625-1850. An International Research Project in collaboration with Interdisziplinäre Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung, University of Halle-Wittenberg,

Venue: IZEA, MLU Halle-Wittenberg
Time:    01.10. – 04.10.2025
Organisers: Knud Haakonssen, Frank Grunert, Laura Beck Varela


There is no doubt that Hugo Grotius’s De Iure Belli ac Pacis, first published in Paris in 1625, is one of the most influential books ever written. By 1645, six editions had already appeared during Grotius' lifetime and the number of editions and translations that were subsequently published worldwide is almost impossible to keep track of. Although the text initially – seven years into the Thirty Years' War – advertised itself as a fundamental work on the law of nations that aimed to define the legal framework of armed conflicts, it was more than that. Already the subtitle announces that it is primarily intended to explain the "Jus Naturae et Gentium" and the "Jus Publicum". In fact De Iure Belli ac Pacis is a general legal doctrine that takes a stance on almost all legal matters of public and private law from the perspective of possible violations. Even after one and a half century’s intensive reception of the work, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel appreciated this: Although the The Rights of War and Peace might "now" no longer be read by anyone, it had "been of the greatest effectiveness", not least due to the fact that Grotius's legal thought had "addressed everything".

Although the surviving evidence of the reception of De Iure Belli ac Pacis, beginning soon after its publication, is extensive and varied, the history of the book's reception is only known in outline. The 400th anniversary of the publication offers a welcome opportunity to reconstruct this history in detail at a conference planned for autumn 2025.

Even at first glance, different phases can be roughly distinguished. Initially – i.e. in the second half of the 17th century –  a commentary literature dominated that aimed at factual exposition of the work or at partisan support of a favoured doctrine. But the effect of Samuel Pufendorf was to turn exposition into detailed analysis and partisanship into a steppingstone for the author’s own theory. The renowned teachers of natural law of the late 17th and 18th centuries combined the two. Thomasius, Heineccius and Wolff are only the most prominent examples of creative readings of The Rights of War and Peace and only in the German context.

However, a reconstruction of the historically concrete reception of The Rights of War and Peace cannot be a matter of uncovering traces of Grotian thought in the juridical treatises of his successors. The main focus must be on the media and textual genres typical for the productive reception of De Iure Belli ac Pacis. Since the Grotius discussion – not only, but mainly – took place in academic teaching, or at least was closely connected to it, the corresponding texts and, where possible, their practical usage must be in the foreground: In addition to textbooks and dissertations, these include lecture notes, lecture announcements and lecture catalogues; works that made De Iure Belli ac Pacis teachable and accessible, such as commentaries and tables, including, not least, items that made Grotius's work visible as an object of examination. In other words, the creative adaptations of the work made by translators, editors, lecturers, et al. The surrounding literature is also important for this reception story: journals, encyclopaedias, histories of scholarship and fictional literature (Grotius was also literally staged). Last but not least, the records of how Grotius was used in legal procedures.

A complete review of the dissemination of De Iure Belli ac Pacis is obviously not possible, but a wide-ranging conference with its division of labour and the concrete targets indicated here will make a difference. The organisers invite interested historians of law, philosophy and politics to address aspects of this reception for the period from 1625 to 1850 and in any part of the world by considering the groups of sources mentioned. Contributions should provide information on how exactly De Iure Belli ac Pacis was dealt with: what was particularly appreciated about the work at what time? Which aspects were further developed in the sense of a productive reception and application? What lines of reception can be traced; and when and why did Grotius' De Iure Belli ac Pacis eventually become primarily a subject of historical research?

Contributions are welcome especially in the following areas:

I. Editions and translations of DIBP, demonstrably adapted for teaching

II. Commentaries on DIBP provided for teaching

III. Lectures on Grotius' doctrine of natural law

IV. Dissertations on DIBP

V. Grotius discussions in natural law textbooks

VI. The rendering of Grotius in encyclopaedias and reference works

VII. The Grotian persona, e.g., in poetry

The conference will be organised by the International Research Network Natural 1625-1850 and the Forschungsstelle frühneuzeitliches Naturrecht (Erfurt/Gotha) and will take place in autumn 2025 at the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the European Enlightenment at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg under the direction of Knud Haakonssen, Frank Grunert, and Laura Beck Varela. Travel and accommodation costs for the speakers will be covered by the conference.

Please send topic proposals with an abstract (approx. 250 words) by 01.03.2024 to the following email address:

For previous conferences and workshops, see the Archive