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Early International & Humanitarian Law

A Digital Exhibit

Wolff, Christian, Freiherr von. (1679-1754)


 Wolff, Christian, Freiherr von. (1679-1754)


Institutiones Juris Naturæ et Gentium. Venetiis: apud F. ex N. Pezzana, 1769.

Wolff's major contribution to international law is Jus Naturae Methodo Scientifica Perpetratum, first published in eight volumes from 1740 to 1748, and the supplementary volume entitled Jus Gentium Methodo Scientifica Perpetratum, published in 1749. Institutiones Juris Naturæ et Gentium is an abridgement of all nine volumes and first appeared in 1749. Wolff was a leading German representative of the Enlightenment, and the only prominent Enlightenment figure to substantially address the subject of international law.viii An early internationalist, Wolff advocated the creation of a global political entity.ix A notable characteristic of his works is his application of the scientific method to the law of nations.

Translation of title: Institutes of the Law of Nature and of Nations
First published: 1750
Other edition in the Riesenfeld Research Center:

Institutions du Droit de la Nature et des Gens, 1772

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