‘Luther’s Legacy’, the latest book by Robert von Friedeburg, Reader in History at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), on the nature of the Early Modern State in Germany has been selected for translation into German by the Max Planck Institute for Legal History in Frankfurt.
First published by Cambridge University Press in 2016 ‘Luther’s Legacy’ examines how the modern notion of state does not rest on the experience of a bureaucratic state-apparatus. It emerged to stabilize monarchy from dynastic insecurity and constrain it to protect the rule of law, subjects, and their lives and property.
Against this background, Lutheran and neo-Aristotelian notions on the spiritual and material welfare of subjects dominating German debate interacted with Western European arguments against ‘despotism’ to protect the lives and property of subjects. The combined result of this interaction under the impact of the Thirty Years War was Seckendorff’s Der Deutsche Fürstenstaat (1656), constraining the evil machinations of princes and organizing the detailed administration of life in the tradition of German Policey, and which founded a specifically German notion of the modern state as comprehensive provision of services to its subjects.
The original publication has been praised for its “major intervention” and “new way of thinking” and the new translation will be published on November 1.
Friedeburg has also been invited to Germany, to the University of Bielefeld, to talk about his book on October 17. Earlier invitations had been to the German Historical Institute in London and to Georgetown University.
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