New Books Network)
Daniel Lee, author of a new monograph on Jean Bodin, gave an interview to the New Books Network on 24 November 2021.
Sovereignty is the vital organizing principle of modern international law. Daniel Lee's book The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations (Oxford UP, 2021) examines the origins of that principle in the legal and political thought of its most influential theorist, Jean Bodin (1529/30-1596). As the author argues in this study, Bodin's most lasting theoretical contribution was his thesis that sovereignty must be conceptualized as an indivisible bundle of legal rights constitutive of statehood. While these uniform 'rights of sovereignty' licensed all states to exercise numerous exclusive powers, including the absolute power to 'absolve' and release its citizens from legal duties, they were ultimately derived from, and therefore limited by, the law of nations. The book explores Bodin's creative synthesis of classical sources in philosophy, history, and the medieval legal science of Roman and canon law in crafting the rules governing state-centric politics.
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