The natural jurisprudence of Jean Barbeyrac: translation as an art of political adjustment

Saunders, David (2003) The natural jurisprudence of Jean Barbeyrac: translation as an art of political adjustment. Eighteenth Century Studies, 36 4: 473-490. doi:10.1353/ecs.2003.0053

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Author Saunders, David
Title The natural jurisprudence of Jean Barbeyrac: translation as an art of political adjustment
Journal name Eighteenth Century Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0013-2586
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1353/ecs.2003.0053
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 36
Issue 4
Start page 473
End page 490
Total pages 18
Editor B. Fort
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher University of Pennsylvania Press
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Abstract The article makes the case for redescribing Jean Barbeyrac [1674-1744], the great French translator and influential glossator of seventeenth-century Latin natural-law texts, as something quite other than a neutral mediator of Samuel Pufendorf. To consider the specific religious and political charge of his strategies as translator is to recognize the independence of Barbeyrac's Huguenot stance on natura; jurisprudence. This stance is provoked by the profound challenge that Pufendorf's radical post-Wespthalian secularizing of civil authority posed for a Huguenot: how to grant that the state had legitimate authority to regulate all external conduct, but at the same time preserve an inviolable moral space for the exercise of individual conscience. The argument--pointing to Barbeyrac's construction of a 'Lockeanized' Pufendorf--rests both on his famous presentation of Leibniz's critique of Pufendorf's De officio hominis et civis and on more neglected elements of Barbeyrac's corpus.
Formatted abstract
Abstract from Literature Online: Saunders discusses the strategic art and political adjustment behind the translations of Jean Barbeyrac. What principally made his reputation were his ever more profusely glossed translations of the German natural jurist, Samuel Pufendorf, notably the De jure naturae et gentium of 1672 (On the Law of Nature and Nations) and Pufendorf's own 1673 abridgment of the De jure, the De officio hominis et civis juxta legem naturalem (On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law). Historically speaking, natural law was a preeminent presence in early modern intellectual life as it lay at the epicenter of profound disputes over the right boundaries to be drawn between church and state. Given these diverse religious-political trajectories, early modern natural law was not a unified phenomenon of culture. Its doctrines were adjusted and readjusted, manifested in vernacular translations of Latin natural-law writings by Barbeyrac.
Keyword Humanities, Multidisciplinary
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 02:34:33 EST