- Grotius' imago Dei anthropology: Grounding Ius naturae et gentium
- Amsterdam Law School Legal Studies research paper
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam
- Document type
- Working paper
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL)
The standard account has it that Hugo Grotius secularised international law by grounding it on human nature. This chapter argues we should not stop at the standard account, but rather should dig deeper and examine the theological anthropology grounding Grotius’ ideas on the law of nature and nations. With some attention for the influence of both (neo-)scepticism and (neo)stoicism in analyses of Grotius’ understanding of human nature and natural law, this chapter examines Grotius’ ideas through the lens of the Christian theological notion of imago Dei – the idea that human beings are different from other animals in that they are created in ‘the image and likeness of God’.
The chapter relates the concept of the imago Dei briefly to the early seventeenth-century theological and political debates in the Dutch Republic and discusses the Arminian interpretation of the imago Dei along the lines of three dimensions generally set apart: ontological, teleological (the telos being to reach God, also through others in society), and functional (linked to the function of dominium). This chapter argues that the Arminian imago Dei anthropology is foundational to Grotius’ theory of the law of nature and nations in (at least) three ways along the lines of these three dimensions. The chapter concludes with a few remarks on how a post-skeptical reading of Grotius, through the lens of his imago Dei anthropology, is relevant for the future of international law thinking.
- September 25, 2015. - Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2015-16
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