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Jean Bodin — was a French jurist and political philosophermember of the Parlement of Paris and professor of law in Toulouse.

Jean Bodin – Wikipedia

He is best known for his theory of sovereignty ; he was also an influential writer on demonology. Bodin lived during the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation and wrote against the background of religious conflict in France. He remained a nominal Catholic throughout his life but was critical of papal authority over governments, favouring the strong central control of a national monarchy as an antidote to factional strife.

Toward the end of his life he wrote, but did not publish, a dialogue among different religions, including representatives of JudaismIslam and natural theologyin which all agreed to coexist in concord. Bodin was successively a friar, academic, professional lawyer, and political adviser. An excursion as a politician having proved a failure, he lived out his life as a provincial magistrate. Bodin was born near Angerspossibly the son of a master tailor, [ citation needed ] into a modestly prosperous middle-class background.

He received a decent education, apparently in the Carmelite monastery of Angers, where he became a novice friar. Some claims made about his early life remain obscure. The records of this episode, however, are murky and may refer to another person. He obtained release from his vows in and went to Paris. Later in the s he studied Roman law at the University of Toulouseunder Arnaud du Ferrierand taught there.

His special subject at that time seems to have been comparative jurisprudence. Subsequently he worked on a Latin translation of Oppian of Apameaunder the continuing patronage of Gabriel BouveryBishop of Angers. Bodin had a plan for a school on humanist principles in Toulouse, but failed to raise local support. He left in From he was licensed as an attorney of the Parlement of Paris. His religious convictions on the outbreak of the Wars of Religion in cannot be determined, but he affirmed formally his Catholic faith, taking an oath that year along with other members of the Parlement.

He was the intelligent and ambitious youngest son of Henry IIand was in line for the throne inwith the death of his brother Charles IX. He withdrew his claim, however, in favor of his older brother Henry III who had recently returned from his abortive effort to reign as the King of Poland.

In practical politics, however, he lost the king’s favor in —7, as delegate of the Third Estate at the Estates-General at Bloisand leader in his Estate of the February moves to prevent a new war against the Huguenots. Bodin then retired from political life; he had married in February Bodin was in touch with William Wade in Paris, Lord Burghley ‘s contact, at the time of publication of the Six livres. On this visit Bodin saw the English Parliament.

The disapproving Bodin accompanied him, and was trapped in the Prince’s disastrous demonomanue on Antwerp that ended the attempt, followed shortly by the Prince’s death in In the wars that followed the death of Henry IIIthe Catholic League attempted to prevent the succession of the Protestant Xorciers of Navarre by placing another king on the throne.

Bodin initially gave support to the powerful League; he felt it inevitable that they would score a quick victory. He died, in Laon, during one of the many plague epidemics of the time. Bodin generally wrote in French, sorviers later Latin translations.

Bodin wrote in turn books on history, economics, politics, demonology, and natural philosophy; [17] and also left a later notorious work in sorciera on religion see under “Religious tolerance”.


In France, Bodin was noted as a historian for his Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem Method for the easy knowledge of history. He wrote, “Of history, that is, the true narration of things, there are three soorciers This book was one of the most significant contributions to the ars historica of the period, and distinctively put an emphasis on the role of political knowledge in interpreting historical writings.

The Methodus was a successful and influential manual on the writing of technical history. Bodin aux paradoxes de M. The background to discussion in the s was that demonomahie an increase in the money supply in Western Europe had brought general benefits.

The debates of the time laid the foundation for the ” quantity theory of money “. The Theatrum Universae Naturae is Bodin’s statement of ddes philosophy.

It contains many particular and even idiosyncratic personal views, for instance that eclipses are related to political events. Consideration of the orderly majesty of God leads to encyclopedism about the universe and an analogue of a memory system. Problems of Bodin became attached to some Renaissance editions of Aristotelian problemata in natural philosophy.

Bodin’s dse work was written in Bartholomew’s Day massacre gave the inspiration; Bodin attempted to embark on a middle path. Machiavelli would have granted the sovereign the right to act for the benefit of his state without moral consideration, and Protestant theorists advocated a popular government, or at least an elective monarchy. Bodin’s classical definition of sovereignty is: The Six livres were an immediate success and were frequently reprinted.

A revised and expanded Latin translation by the author appeared in With this work, Bodin became one of the founders of the pragmatic inter-confessional group known as the politiqueswho ultimately succeeded in ending the Wars of Dfs under King Henry IVwith the Edict of Nantes In its reasoning against all types of mixed constitution and resistance theoryit was an effective counter-attack against the monarchomach position invoking “popular sovereignty”.

The structure of the earlier books has been described as Ramist in structure. Book VI contains astrological and numerological reasoning. The Ottoman Empire is analysed as a “seigneurial monarchy”. The ideas in the Six livres on the importance of climate in the shaping of a people’s character were also influential, finding a prominent dess in the work of Giovanni Botero — and later in Baron de Montesquieu ‘s — climatic determinism.

Based on the assumption that a country’s climate shapes the character of its population, and hence to a large extent the most suitable form of government, Bodin postulated that a hereditary monarchy would be the ideal regime for a temperate nation such as France.

This power should be “sovereign”, i.

Above all, the monarch is “responsible only to God”, that is, must stand above confessional factions. The work soon became widely known. Gaspar de Anastro made a Spanish translation in It appeared under the title The Six Bookes of a Common-weale. Bodin’s major work on sorcery and the witchcraft persecutions was first issued inten editions being published by The book relates histories of sorcerers, [47] but does not mention Faust and his pact.

He wrote in extreme terms about procedures in sorcery trials, opposing the normal safeguards of justice. Bodin’s attitude has been called a populationist strategy typical of mercantilism.

One surviving copy of the text, located in the University of Southern California’s Special Collections Library, is a rare presentation copy signed by Bodin himself, and is one of only two known surviving texts that feature such an inscription by the author.

Varroni, thought to be a legal colleague of Bodin’s. Bodin became well known for his analysis of sovereignty, which he took to be indivisible, and to involve full legislative powers though with qualifications and caveats. He hedged the absolutist nature of his theory of sovereignty, which was an analytical concept; if later his ideas were used in a different, normative fashion, that was not overtly the reason in Bodin.

He was a politique in theory, which was the moderate position of the period in French politics; but drew the conclusion that only passive resistance to authority deomnomanie justified.

Bodin’s work on political theory saw the introduction of the modern concept of “state” but was in the fact on the cusp of usage with that of Corasiuswith the older meaning of a monarch “maintaining his state” not having dropped away. Bodin studied the balance of liberty and authority.


His doctrine was one of balance as harmony, with numerous qualifications; as such it could be used in different manners, and was. The key was that the central point of power should be above faction. Sirciers Aristotle argued for six types of state, Bodin allowed only monarchy demonoamnie, aristocracy and democracy. He advocated, however, distinguishing the form of state constitution from the form of government administration. Families were the basic unit and model for the state; [74] on the other hand John Milton found in Bodin an ally on the topic of divorce.

In matters of law and politics, Bodin saw religion as a social prop, encouraging respect for law and governance. He praised printing as outshining any achievement of the ancients. In physics, he is credited as the first modern writer to use the concept of physical laws to define change, [82] but his idea of nature included the action of spirits. In politics, he adhered to the ideas of his time in considering a political revolution demonomanif the nature of an astronomical cycle: In Bodin was engaged in French politics, demonmanie then argued against the use of compulsion in matters of religion, if unsuccessfully.

Wars, he demonommanie, should be subject to statecraft, and matters of religion socriers not touch the state. It was attacked by Pedro de Rivadeneira and Juan de Marianafrom the conventional opposing position of a state obligation to root out religious dissent.

In Bodin completed in manuscript a Latin work Colloquium heptaplomeres de rerum sublimium arcanis sorcierw Colloquium of the Seven. It is a conversation about the nature of truth between seven educated men, each with a distinct religious or philosophical orientation – a natural philosopher, a Calvinist, a Muslim, a Roman Catholic, a Lutheran, a Jew, and a skeptic.

Jean Bodin

Truth, in Bodin’s view, commanded universal agreement; and the Abrahamic religions agreed on the Old Testament Tanakh. The “Colloquium of the Seven regarding the hidden secrets of the sublime things” offers a peaceful discussion with seven representatives of various religions and worldviews, who in the end agree on the fundamental underlying similarity of their beliefs.

Bodin’s theory, as based in considerations of harmony, resembles that of Sebastian Castellio. The Colloquium was one of the major and most popular manuscripts in clandestine circulation in the early modern period, with more than copies catalogued.

Gottfried Leibnizwho criticized the Colloquium to Jacob Thomasius and Hermann Conringsome years later did editorial work on the manuscript. Henry Oldenburg wanted to copy it, for transmission to John Milton and possibly John Dury[] or for some other connection in Bodin was influenced by philosophic Judaism to believe in the annihilation of the wicked ‘post exacta supplicia’. Bodin was a polymath, concerned with universal history which he approached as a jurist. The genre thus founded, drawing social conclusions, identified itself as “civil history”, and was influenced particularly by Polybius.

While Bodin’s common ground with Machiavelli is not so large, and indeed Bodin opposed the Godless vision of the world in Machiavelli, [] they are often enough paired, for example by A. Crombie as philosophical historians with contemporary concerns; Crombie also links Bodin with Francis Baconas rational and critical historians.

He showed little interest, however, in the New World. This was within a scheme of Vaticinium Eliae or three periods of years for universal history, to which he had little commitment, though indicating its connection with the three climate regions and their predominance. The “south-eastern” theory depended for its explanation on Bodin’s climate theory and astrology: