Pufendorf, Samuel, baron von

Pufendorf, Samuel, baron von
born Jan. 8, 1632, Dorfchemnitz, near Thalheim, Saxony
died Oct. 13, 1694, Berlin

German jurist and historian.

The son of a pastor, he left the study of theology for jurisprudence, philosophy, and history. He taught at the Universities of Heidelberg (1661–68) and Lund (1670–77). His Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (1660) and Of the Law and Nature of Nations (1672), which were influenced by Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes, departed from the traditional approach of the medieval theologians to natural law in arguing that there is no such creature as a natural slave
that all men have a right to equality and freedom. His views were attacked by conservative Protestant theologians in Sweden and Germany, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz dismissed him as "a man not a lawyer and scarcely a philosopher at all." Nevertheless, he was protected by the Swedish government, and he became the official historiographer to Charles XI of Sweden (1677–88) and to the elector of Brandenburg (1688–94).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • von — /von/; Ger. /fawn/, unstressed /feuhn/, prep. from; of (used in German and Austrian personal names, originally to indicate place of origin and later to indicate nobility): Paul von Hindenburg. * * * (as used in expressions) Friedrich Leopold… …   Universalium

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