The Politics of Johannes Althusius. An abridged translation of the Third Edition of. POLITICA METHODICE DIGESTA, ATQUE EXEMPLIS SACRIS ET PROFANIS. After philosophic and legal studies in Switzerland, Althusius was a professor at the “Politica methodice digesta atque exemplis sacris et profanis illustrata”. According to Althusius, the purpose of the state is to protect and encourage social life. The family is the most natural of human associations, and all other unions.

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It may be helpful to some readers to learn that a German translation of the entire Latin text has been proceeding for several years under the sponsorship of althusiud Johannes Althusius Gesellschaft at the University of Dresden. Pastorfish added it Sep 16, Refresh and try again.

Politicz there is no explicit covenant, then an implicit one is assumed in the continuing consent of Edition: The formal cause is indeed the association brought about by contributing and communicating one with the other, in which political men institute, cultivate, maintain, and conserve the fellowship of human life through decisions about those things useful and necessary to this social life.

Project MUSE Althusiuz Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. It is meant to provide a basis for organizing all aspects of the polity and its social order, based on Scriptural law and teachings. This is a fascinating early account of Calvinist political theory which would later develop into Rutherford’s Lex, Rex.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. There may be further services required by the nature and order of the functions and activities for which the collegium was organized.

There are princes who, because of education, training, the goodness of nature, and the althussius of God, do not copy the temper and usage that might and rule customarily bring forth in some persons.

One of the advantages of the modern epoch was that it was possible to separate the public and private spheres more sharply because it was a period that fostered increased distance between them. I should observe in closing this section that further material on the relation of Althusius to some of these writers is to poltiica found in the introduction that Friedrich provided his republication of the Politica in its original language.

For they have omitted certain necessary matters that I think were carelessly overlooked by them; or else they considered these matters to belong to another science.

And it is fortunate that the Politica lends itself readily to this solution. One way out in such cases has been to vest sovereignty in the constitutional document itself in what Althusius would refer to as the jus regni. Aug 09, Leonardo Bruno rated it really liked it.

Finally, one must pooitica attention to the fact that prominent Lutherans and Arminians are scarce in the Politica. Corin Suta marked it as to-read Feb 09, This has been done by inserting everything into the text itself without the use of any footnotes and in a manner that gives the impression of great clutter. This integral relationship between necessity and volition that first finds expression in private associations carries over into public associations, and becomes one of the distinctive characteristics of the entire associational theory of Althusius.


It may be of some use to the reader to add another category of a different kind, namely, one composed of writers that Althusius for one reason or another tended to overlook. The first grand federalist design, as Althusius himself was careful to acknowledge, was that of the Bible, most particularly the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament.

If it is composed of magistrates and judges, or of persons engaged in agricultural, industrial, or commercial pursuits, it is called a secular collegium. Such an association can rightly be called primary, and all others derivative from it. He is elected by common consent of the colleagues, and is provided with administrative power over property and functions pertaining to the collegium.

The communication of right jushowever, is proper to politics in an even more basic manner. So could have the theologians John Wyclif poolitica Richard Hooker, although the former for largely differing reasons from the latter.

The statesman, however, should be well acquainted with these matters. Since the jurist receives information, instruction, and knowledge about matters from those arts to which such matters belong, and about the right and merit of fact from his own science, it is not surprising that he receives knowledge of some matters from political science.

These persons, by their coming together, now become not spouses, kinsmen, and colleagues, but citizens of the same community.

He says that these rights are proper and essential to the person of Edition: The family is the most natural of human associations, and all other unions derive from it. The chief ones were the pseudonymous author Junius Brutus of the Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants which was perhaps the best written and most widely read of the political tracts that came out of the French Wars of ReligionGeorge Buchanan a Scot and one of the great humanists of the sixteenth centuryand Lambert Daneau a French Politiva pastor, theological professor, and political writer.

Petrus Gregorius says that just as the soul presides over the other members in the human body, directs and governs them according to the proper functions assigned to each member, and foresees and procures whatever useful and necessary things are due each member—some pooitica privately and althusjus the same time to all or to the entire body, others useful publicly for the conservation of social life—so also it is atlhusius in civil society that one person rule the rest for the welfare and utility of both individuals and the whole group.

Politica – Online Library of Liberty

So the male, because the more outstanding, rules the female, who as the weaker obeys. Today there are collegia of bakers, tailors, builders, merchants, coiners of money, as well as philosophers, theologians, government officials, and others that every city needs for the proper functioning of its social life.


It remained for the Americans to invent modern federalism on the basis of individualism and thus reintroduce the idea of the state as a political association rather than a reified entity, an artifact that is assumed to have an existence independent of the people who constitute it.

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. In the nineteenth century, one party of German thinkers seeking the unification of Germany on federal principles, epitomized by Otto von Gierke, rediscovered Althusius.

Unfortunately, however, contemporary use is not always consistent. Jean Bodin, to whom Althusius was highly indebted for so many of the characteristics of his political system, attributed it to the ruler.

Online Library of Liberty

Moreover, I have attributed the rights of sovereignty, as they are called, not to the supreme magistrate, but to the commonwealth or universal association. Thank you for your feedback. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. For several centuries interest in Althusius was slight until he was poiltica early in the 20th century by Otto Friedrich von Gierke.

John marked it as to-read Mar 10, Lacking a sufficient command of the Latin text to properly explore the issue, this writer cannot say whether Althusius has an esoteric as well as an exoteric teaching, but this suggests that there may be a hidden dimension to be explored in the Politica and Althusian thought generally. Elizabeth added it Feb 08, But a tyrant who becomes such after having gained legitimate title to the supreme office can be resisted only by public authorities to whom this responsibility has lolitica entrusted, namely, by the ephors.

The purpose is to show as clearly as possible the connotations Althusius probably had in mind in using the quotations. The administrators of the commonwealth, who are the overseers of this communication, are of two kinds: Now Latin is no longer that tool—English is.

Politica by Johannes Althusius

The names of John Neville Figgis, R. At the same time, I have changed the method of referring to material in the Corpus juris civilis from the old one employed by Althusius and all other scholars of his time to the one in general use today. They are too restrictive poljtica this level because politics also includes other associations in addition to the city.

They defend the supreme magistrate from detractors althusiuus he is performing this entrusted office properly.