The New International Encyclopædia/Pufendorf, Samuel, Baron

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The New International Encyclopædia
Pufendorf, Samuel, Baron
Edition of 1905. See also Samuel von Pufendorf on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

PUFENDORF, pụf'en-dōrf, Samuel, Baron (1632-94). A celebrated German publicist, born at Chemnitz, in Saxony. He began the study of theology at Leipzig, but speedily turned to the subject of public law, which he pursued at Jena till 1657. In 1658 he became tutor in the family of Coyet, Swedish Minister at Copenhagen, and in 1660 went with his patron to The Hague, where he published his Elementa Jurisprudentiæ Universalis (1660). This led to his being summoned to the University of Heidelberg, where the chair of the law of nature and of nations was created for him. In 1667 he published, under the pseudonym of Severinus de Mozambano, De Statu Imperii Germanici, a merciless analysis of the anachronisms and absurdities of the Imperial Constitution. This work aroused great attention and brought the author much fame and many enemies. In 1670 Pufendorf followed a call to the Swedish University of Lund. There he wrote De Jure Naturæ et Gentium (1672) and De Officio Hominis et Civis (1673). In the former of these he makes an elaborate study of the origin of law, finding its threefold source in reason, the civil law, and revelation. He also did much to free the study of jurisprudence from the fantastic speculations of the theologians, and as a result was precipitated into bitter controversies with the representatives of the old order. In 1677 he became Councilor of State and royal historiographer to the King of Sweden. There followed a number of important works, Einleitung zur Historie der vornehmsten Reiche und Staaten (1682), De Rebus Suecicis (1686), and De Rebus a Carolo Gustavo Gestis (1688). In De Habitu Christianæ Religionis ad Vitam Civilem (1687) he upheld the right of the State as against the Church. He went to Berlin in 1686, summoned by the Great Elector, and after the latter's death in 1688 was made by his successor Privy Councilor. He died in Berlin October 26, 1694. The De Rebus Gestis Friderici Wilhelmi Magni and De Rebus Gestis Friderici III. appeared the year after his death. Consult: Treitschke, “Samuel von Pufendorf,” in the Preussische Jahrbücher (Berlin, 1875); Droysen, “Zur Kritik Pufendorfs,” in Abhandlungen zur neueren Geschichte (Berlin, 1876).