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Savigny Verlagsgesellschaft

Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Kanonistische Abteilung

Ed. by Becker, Hans-Jürgen / Thier, Andreas / Wall, Heinrich de

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Volume 102, Issue 1


Zur Bedeutung der Reformation

Mathias Schmoeckel
Published Online: 2016-09-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.26498/zrgka-2016-0113


The Importance of the Protestant Reformation: It might be difficult for some lawyers to accept the influence of theology on law, but in a Europe forged by the Christian faith its basic assumptions necessarily had an influence on law. The most important contribution of the Protestant Reformation may be its epistemology, which modernised European science and also its jurisprudence. With the end of the Church as the single institution establishing justice and truth, every single person had the opportunity to define what was just and equitable. This paper concentrates on the impact of the Protestant Reformation on international public law, which was conceived at Wittenberg in the 1530s as a device to impose rules between kings and states regardless of their confession. The hope of ameliorating international relations or even of establishing perpetual peace through law is an assumption, which we already find in Melanchthon’s writings. This relies on the optimistic premise that good rules explain how to behave correctly and that people can learn from the law. In the 20th century, children themselves became holders of the right to education, which demonstrates this confidence of the Protestant Reformation in our time.

Keywords: Law and religion; Reformation and Law; Law of Nations; Education; Epistemology; Reformation and Human Rights; Melanchthon; Calvin

About the article

Published Online: 2016-09-30

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Kanonistische Abteilung, Volume 102, Issue 1, Pages 317–358, ISSN (Online) 2304-4896, ISSN (Print) 0323-4142, DOI: https://doi.org/10.26498/zrgka-2016-0113.

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