Vignette from Pufendorf: De officio hominis et civis, Utrecht 1752.

The project is focussed on natural law as an academic institution in the period from ca. 1625 to ca. 1850. The ambition is to combine traditional approaches to natural law as a set of ideas with a comprehensive history of academic reception, transmission, and uses that takes into account institutional, political, and legal contexts. This ambition can only be realised by supplementing the published record of natural law – its textbooks and treatises – with a much wider range of sources. Accordingly we pay much attention to a wide variety of more ephemeral publications, manuscript materials, bibliographic and collecting practices, political, juridical and administrative usage, etc.

As here understood, natural law was a concatenation of subjects and practices, and it must accordingly be approached in a variety of ways. We are a multi-disciplinary network representing a variety of methodological preferences.

In practical terms, we operate in several ways: (1) The present website is available for members to indicate their projects and publications in the field. (2) Conferences and workshops. We have held 15 so far (see ‘Archive’), and more are being planned. (3) The natural law database (see ‘Database’) is an open-ended, collaborative biographical and bibliographical resource that is continuously being populated with new profiles written (mainly) by members. (4) A dedicated publication series with Brill (see ‘Book series’) in which five titles have appeared and more are being prepared. (5) Fostering new individual projects (see ‘Projects’) and supporting funding applications.

The Network is being directed by Frank Grunert, Knud Haakonssen, and Louis Pahlow, with Mikkel Munthe Jensen as the contact person. Membership is open for scholars who work on natural law within the framework indicated above. For details, please ask Mikkel Munthe Jensen or one of the Directors.

Interested in becoming a member of the project?

Please, write for details of the conditions of a membership to Professor Knud Haakonssen.