This impressive volume is the first attempt to look at the intertwined histories of natural law and the laws of nature in early modern Europe. These notions became central to jurisprudence and natural philosophy in the seventeenth century; the debates that informed developments in those fields drew heavily on theology and moral philosophy, and vice versa. Historians of science, law, philosophy, and theology from Europe and North America here come together to address these central themes and to consider the question; was the emergence of natural law both in European jurisprudence and natural philosophy merely a coincidence, or did these disciplinary traditions develop within a common conceptual matrix, in which theological, philosophical, and political arguments converged to make the analogy between legal and natural orders compelling. This book will stimulate new debate in the areas of intellectual history and the history of philosophy, as well as the natural and human sciences in general.
’The book is worth reading in its entirety; it has far more internal coherence than most edited collections. The authors have all read each others’ contributions and each essay is peppered with references to the others, allowing the reader to follow common themes throughout. This collection of essays will provide useful insights as well as a stimulus to further research for a broad range of scholars interested in the intellectual and cultural history of early modern and Enlightenment Europe.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’Lorraine Daston and Michael Stolleis have brought together sixteen scholars (including themselves) from the history of science and the history of jurisprudence, and they have compiled a collection of essays of the highest standards. Natural Law and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Europe should certainly provide the starting point for all future work in the area.’ British Journal for the History of Science