On Law and Power: Sources in Early Modern Economics, Ethics, and Law (Althusius)

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Christian's Library Press

The Dicaeologicae was an immense Latin work that sought to construct a single comprehensive juridical system by collating the Decalogue, Jewish law, Roman law, and various streams of European customary law. The translated sections comprising On Law and Power address such topics as common law, natural law, private or individual (civil) law, the nature of sovereign public authority, and limitations on public power.


Table of Contents:

"Althusius in Context: A Biographical and Historical Introduction," by Stephen J. Grabill

"A Demonstrative Theory of Natural Law: Johannes Althusius and the Rise of Calvinist Jurisprudence," by John Witte, Jr.


  1. On Common Law (Book 1, Chapter 13)
  2. On the Individual, Principal Law (Book 1, Chapter 14)
  3. On Public Power in General (Book 1, Chapter 32)
  4. On Limited Public Power (Book 1, Chapter 33)



Johannes Althusius (1557-1638) served as syndic of the city of Emden in Friesland from 1604 until his death, as well as elder in the Emden church. In these two offices he exercised significant influence on the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of the city. Althusius' published work stands as a major contribution to the development of political and legal thought in the modern West.