Article ID: CBB029014718

Libertas Philosophandi and Natural Law in Early Eighteenth-Century Denmark-Norway (2020)


This article examines the controversy surrounding Andreas Hojer, the future professor of natural law, and his youthful work on the non-prohibition of incestuous marriages by divine law that took place in 1719–1720 in Copenhagen. The article discusses manuscript sources from the theological faculty and central government to show how the controversy concerned not just Hojer's allegedly dangerous arguments but also embodied a heated debate about the liberty to discuss such matters in print. The controversy moreover reveals the significant presence of followers of Christian Thomasius in influential positions in Denmark in the decades around 1700. These Thomasians combined natural law with a strong criticism of the authority of orthodox theologians and, arguably the earliest and most radical, arguments for a wide-ranging liberty of thought, libertas philosophandi, in early modern Denmark. This was in turn met by proponents of a more conservative natural law supporting the theological authorities. The article concludes by discussing how Hojer and the controversy surrounding him illustrate the wider significance of Thomasian natural law for the intellectual culture, for freedom of thought, and for religious and legal reform in early eighteenth-century Denmark.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Overskaug, Kristian; Steffensen, Morten; (2014)
Communicating Science for 253 Years: The History of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters and Its Museum (/isis/citation/CBB001421592/) unapi

Article Brenna, Brita; (2012)
Natures, Contexts, and Natural History (/isis/citation/CBB001250231/) unapi

Article Hilde Norrgrén; (2019)
Hans Egede (1686–1758) and the Alchemical Tradition in Denmark-Norway (/isis/citation/CBB293570302/) unapi

Article Alm, Torbjørn; Elvevåg, Brita; (2013)
Ergotism in Norway. Part 2: The Symptoms and Their Interpretation from the Eighteenth Century Onwards (/isis/citation/CBB001320326/) unapi

Article Sundberg, Adam; (2015)
Claiming the Past: History, Memory, and Innovation Following the Christmas Flood of 1717 (/isis/citation/CBB001422335/) unapi

Article Martin Hugh Fitzpatrick; (2016)
From Natural Law to Natural Rights? Protestant Dissent and Toleration in the Late Eighteenth Century (/isis/citation/CBB233484914/) unapi

Article Ann Thomson; (2016)
French Eighteenth-Century Materialists and Natural Law (/isis/citation/CBB914272593/) unapi

Book Kapel, Finn O.; (2005)
Otto Fabricius and the Seals of Greenland (/isis/citation/CBB000600304/) unapi

Chapter Christensen, Dan C.; (2001)
English Instrument Makers Observed by Predatory Danes (/isis/citation/CBB000650828/) unapi

Article Whitmer, Kelly Joan; (2013)
What's in a Name? Place, Peoples and Plants in the Danish-Halle Mission, c. 1710--1740 (/isis/citation/CBB001320282/) unapi

Article Kruse, Poul R.; (2002)
Medicine Supply at the Kongsberg Silver Mine in Norway before 1805 (/isis/citation/CBB000300538/) unapi

Article Rolv Petter Amdam; Robert Fredona; Sophus A. Reinert; (Summer 2019)
Breaking Even: Political Economy and Private Enterprise in the Norwegian Glass Industry, 1739–1803 (/isis/citation/CBB139620027/) unapi

Article Jacobsen, Anja Skaar; (2000)
A. W. Hauch's role in the introduction of antiphlogistic chemistry into Denmark (/isis/citation/CBB000111593/) unapi

Chapter Sørensen, Henrik Kragh; (2005)
Eksakte videnskaber---mere eller mindre: De matematiske videnskaber (/isis/citation/CBB001031660/) unapi

Article Baack, L. J.; (2013)
A Naturalist of the Northern Enlightenment: Peter Forsskål after 250 Years (/isis/citation/CBB001252590/) unapi

Essay Review Wilson, Andrew D.; (2014)
Ørsted Triumphator? (/isis/citation/CBB001566504/) unapi

Article Aspaas, PerPippin; Hansen, TrulsLynne; (2007)
Geomagnetism by the North Pole, anno 1769: The Magnetic Observations of Maximilian Hell during his Venus Transit Expedition (/isis/citation/CBB000772433/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Brenna, Brita
Jacobsen, Anja Skaar
Kruse, Poul R.
Kapel, Finn O.
Christensen, Dan Ch.
Aspaas, Per Pippin
History of European Ideas
Science in Context
Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry
Pharmacy in History
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Science, Technology and Human Values
Danish Polar Center
Natural history
Science and religion
Scientific expeditions
Natural law theory
Hauch, Adam Wilhelm
Fabricius, Otto
Hell, Maximilian
Forsskål, Peter
Gunnerus, Johan Ernst
Oersted, Hans Christian
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
20th century
Early modern
Arabian peninsula
Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (1760-)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment