Jean Bodin

Jean Bodin

Jean Bodin (1529/1530–1596)was born in Angers, France, and became a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement (not to be confused with the English "Parliament") of Paris and professor of Law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty.

Bodin lived during the Reformation, writing against the background of religious and civil conflict—particularly that, in his native France, between the (Calvinist) Huguenots and the state-supported Catholic Church. He choose to convert to Judaism which was a very risky option at that time.

His books divided opinion: some French writers were full of praise, while the later Scottish philosopher, Francis Hutchinson was his detractor, criticising his methodology.

"De la République"

Jean Bodin's most famous work was written in 1576. The ideas in the "Six Books on the State" (or "Les Six livres de la République") on the importance of climate in the shaping of a people's character was also quite influential, finding a prominent place in the work of contemporary Italian thinker Giovanni Botero (1544-1617) and later in French philosopher the Baron de Montesquieu's (1689-1755) climatic determinism.His Classical definition of sovereignty is: “la puissance absolue et perpetuelle d’une Republique” (Sovereignty is that absolute and perpetual power vested in a commonwealth). His main ideas about sovereignty are found in chapter VIII and X of Book I.


In France, Bodin was most noted as a historian in his "Method for the Easy Understanding of History." He writes, "Of history, that is, the true narration of things, there are three kinds: human, natural and divine." As a historic politician, Bodin contributed to the restoration of France as a strong nation-state.

Finally, Bodin was among the first to recognize the interrelationship between the amount of goods and the amount of money in circulation. The boatloads of silver arriving in Spain from the Bolivian (then Peruvian) mine of Potosí were wreaking inflationary havoc at the time. Bodin laid the foundation for the "quantity theory of money."

"On Witchcraft" (La Démonomanie des Sorciers)

Bodin recommended torture, even in cases of the disabled and children, to try to confirm guilt of witchcraft. He asserted that not even one witch could be erroneously condemned if the correct procedures were followed, suspicion being enough to torment the accused because rumours concerning witches were almost always true. Some scholars have attributed Bodin's attitude towards so-called witches as part of a populationist strategy typical for mercantilism. [Heinsohn, Gunnar and Otto Steiger. "Birth Control: The Political-Economic Rationale behind Jean Bodin's Démonomanie." History of Political Economy - Volume 31, Number 3, Fall 1999, pp. 423-448 [] ]


* Julian H. Franklin (ed.), "Jean Bodin". Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006 (International Library of Essays in the History of Social and Political Thought), 472 pp.

External links

*sep entry|bodin|Jean Bodin|Mario Turchetti|2006-12-12
* [ Six Books of the Commonwealth] - English translation of "Six Books of the Commonwealth"
* [ "Encyclopædia Britannica" 11th ed. article]

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  • Jean Bodin — (* 1529 oder 1530 in Angers; † 1596 in Laon), latinisiert auch Joannes Bodinus Andegavensis, gilt als der erste französische Staatstheoretiker von Rang. Er gilt als Begründer des modernen Souveränitätsbegriffes und mit seiner staatstheoretischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jean Bodin — Jean Bodin. Juan Bodino (francés: Jean Bodin) (Angers, 1529/30 † Laon, 1596) fue un destacado intelectual francés que desarrolló sus ideas en los campos de la filosofía, el derecho, la ciencia política y la economía. Sus aportes a la teoría del… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jean Bodin —     Jean Bodin     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Jean Bodin     Born at Angers, 1520, probably of Jewish origin: died at Laon, 1596. He studied and taught law at Toulouse, where in 1559 he pronounced his Oratio de instituenda in republica juventute …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Jean Bodin — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bodin. Jean Bodin Jean Bodin, né en 1529 à Angers et mort en 1596, à Laon, est un jurisconsulte, philosophe et théoricien …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean Bodin — Bodino (Jean Bodin, * Angers, 1530 † Laón, 1596) fue un destacado intelectual francés que desarrolló sus ideas en los campos de la filosofía, el derecho, la ciencia política y la economía. Sus aportes a la teoría del Estado, en particular… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BODIN (J.) — Les œuvres de Jean Bodin sont maintenant traduites en plusieurs langues; souvent rééditées, elles font l’objet de nombreuses études aussi bien en Italie et aux États Unis qu’en France ; Bodin apparaît aux yeux des critiques comme l’un des plus… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Bodin — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Astrid Bodin (1903–1961), schwedische Schauspielerin Elsie Bodin (1909–1998), schwedische Sängerin und Schauspielerin Émile Bodin (1869–1923), französischer Schriftsteller Esther Bodin Karpe (* 1931),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BODIN, JEAN° — (1529 or 1530–1596), French historian, economist, and jurist. Bodin took an interest in Judaism in his main works De Republica (1576) and Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem (1566), but chiefly in a work which he had completed in 1593 but …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bodin (surname) — Bodin is a surname, and may refer to:* Constantin Bodin, king of Duklja (1081–1101) * Jacques Bodin * Jean Bodin, 16th century French jurist * Joseph Bodin de Boismortier * Lars Gunnar Bodin * Paul Bodin, former Welsh soccer player now a coach. * …   Wikipedia

  • Jean de Malestroit (économiste) — Jean de Malestroit (XVIe siècle) est un économiste connu pour ses débats, plus tard désignés sous le nom de Controverse sur la monnaie. Les archives de la Chambre des comptes mentionnent l existence d un certain Jean Cherruies ou Cherruier,… …   Wikipédia en Français

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