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Secularization In De Iure Praedae : From Bible Criticism To International Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that the conspicuous and consistent idiosyncrasy of Hugo Grotius's Biblical interpretation is an important part of his revolutionary effort to secularize natural law. In De iure praedae (IPC) and related works, Grotius systematically deployed a range of exegetical techniques in order to demonstrate that the Bible, like all texts, is open to multiple interpretations and susceptible to hijacking by rival agendas. This strategy aimed to render the Bible inadmissible as evidence in legal disputes and political legitimacy claims. Grotius's exegetical strategy was motivated by pacifism and a desire to protect religion from politicization. The chapter positions this secularization strategy in the intellectual environment of the Leiden Circle, and shows how competing Catholic, Calvinist, and Mennonite political readings of the same key biblical passages during the Dutch-Iberian conflict provided the immediate occasion for writing IPC.

Keywords: Bible; De iure praedae (IPC); Dutch; Hugo Grotius; international law

10.1163/ej.9789004175136.i-422.54
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004175136.i-422.54
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