Bodin On Sovereignty

ISBN-10: 0521349923

ISBN-13: 9780521349925

Edition: 1992

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This volume contains the essential points of Jean Bodin's theory of sovereignty, a landmark in legal theory and royalist ideology. The four chapters presented form the core of Bodin's classic work, Six Livres de la Republique. Bodin was primarily responsible for introducing the seductive but erroneous notion that sovereignty is indivisible, that the entire power of the state had to be vested in a single individual or group. This thesis, combined with the prevailing crisis of authority during the French religious wars, led Bodin to a systematically absolutist interpretation of the French and other European monarchies. This is the first complete translation of this material into English since 1606, and is accompanied by a lucid introduction, chronology, and bibliography.
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Book details

List price: $29.99
Copyright year: 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 4/24/1992
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 194
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

One of the most influential French philosophers of the sixteenth century, Jean Bodin is known today for his political thought. Born in 1530, he received training in law at the University of Toulouse and became an advocate in Paris, where he won the favor of the royal family. Bodin's first major work, Method for the Easy Comprehension of History (Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem), published in 1566, provides an overall introduction to his philosophical system. The Six Bookes of a Commonweale, which appeared in French in 1576 and later in a Latin version, is in many respects his chief claim to fame as a political philosopher. It contains a strong defense of absolute sovereignty and of monarchy as the best form of government. His Demonomania, first published in 1580, is an elaborate account of witchcraft and sorcery intended to assist in the suppression of the black arts. Theatre of Nature (Universale theatrum naturae), printed in 1596, contains his cosmology and his speculations on the nature of the human soul, angels, and the spiritual world. Colloquium of the Seven (Colloquium heptaplomeres), composed in 1588, did not appear in print until the nineteenth century. It takes the form of a dialogue among seven sages of different religions and philosophical persuasions in search of a common creed. Although he was an active and, at times, controversial writer during the period of France's most bitter religious strife, Bodin seems to have avoided sectarian conflict while maintaining his loyalty to the Catholic Church and the monarchy. Bodin died in 1596.

Julian H. Franklin is professor emeritus of political philosophy at Columbia University. His books include Jean Bodin and the Rise of Absolutist Theoryand John Locke and the Theory of Sovereignty.

Principal events in BodinG++s life
Note on the text
Notes on format
Notes on translation
Book 1, chapter 8 on sovereignty
Book 1, chapter 10 on the true marks of sovereignty
Book 2, chapter 1 on the kinds of state in general
Book 2, chapter 5 whether it is lawful to make an attempt upon the tyrantG++s life and to nullify and repeal his ordinances after he is dead
Textual notes
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