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2 Human Rights: Origins And Definitions

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Chapter Summary

To understand something of the relationship between human rights and religion, this chapter explores both concepts on their own terms. The concept of human rights is neither very old the term only came into common currency during the twentieth century nor is it universal. The major monotheistic world religions have often sought to establish a comprehensive moral code, parts of which have been based on a revealed divine law. The growth of human rights is inevitably linked to the development of the modern world, the changes in international relations, and of course the continuing evolution of international law. In seventeenth century England, the whole issue of a citizens subjection to the government became one of paramount importance. The reorganisation of the European states accepted the colonisation of non-European territories as part of the new world order.

Keywords: divine law; human rights; monotheistic world religions; seventeenth century England

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