The uses of natural law in early modern Germany: Christian Thomasius's reshaping of the legal persona
Hunter, Ian (2014). The uses of natural law in early modern Germany: Christian Thomasius's reshaping of the legal persona. In Christian Thorsten Callisen (Ed.), Reading and Writing History from Bruni to Windschuttle: Essays in Honour of Gary Ianziti (pp. 125-140) Farnham, England: Ashgate.
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In his comprehensive and illuminating reconstruction of the historical writing of Leonardo Bruni, Gary Ianziti has argued that Bruni should be regarded neither as a late-medieval chronicler nor as a modern critical historian. In excavating the models and methods of history writing employed by Bruni, and the political context and purposes for which he employed them, Ianziti offers a masterclass in avoiding anachronistic misreading. He thus provides a richly nuanced account of Bruni as an historian who placed classical models of history writing at the service of the political elite of an emerging territorial state, while simultaneously transforming these models through the use of philological methods and the introduction of secular conceptions of historical time and causation. In what follows I shall attempt to follow Ianziti’s example by discussing what it would mean to provide a non-anachronistic account of the natural law of Christian Thomasius (1655–1728), although my account will be quite modest in comparison.