Jens Schielderup Sneedorff

Jens Schielderup Sneedorff

Jens Schielderup Sneedorff (22 August 17245 June 1764) was a Danish author, professor of political science and royal teacher and a central figure in Denmark-Norway in the Age of Enlightenment.

Sneedorff studied in Copenhagen and Göttingen and became influenced by British and French Enlightenment thinking as well as German cameralism.

From his position as professor at the Sorø Academy for young noblemen and later teacher to the prince, Sneedorff played a key role in formulating the political content of "Enlightenment" in his native state of Denmark-Norway.

Political views

Sneedorff defended absolutism in a model that applied liberal thinking, primarily that of Locke and Montesquieu. A wellfunctioning polity rested according to Sneedorff on its "police", i.e. a subject and regent mentality of civic virtue, “true honour" and religion.

Civic virtue was associated with patriotism. To Sneedorff it meant industrious conduct and the will and desire to let self-interest yield to the common good.

True honour had the same end, but operated through exploiting people’s self-interest by connecting social status to conduct that promoted the common good. In Sneedorff's conception, each of the four estates, nobility, clergy, bourgeoisie, and peasantry had their own honour that resembled four different kinds of patriotic behaviour.

Should all others fail, Sneedorff reserved religion as the last bond of social order.

In general, it was Sneedorff’s view that passions like self-interest should not be subdued, but sublimated into forms that are useful to the state. Instilling the right mentality in subjects thus became a vital political undertaking, a task that made the art of government a pedagogic discipline - a project of Enlightenment.

Sneedorff considered the polity he outlined far from the one experienced in his native state of Denmark-Norway. He coined his educational method “the spirit of Socrates”, which implies making people “fall in love” with virtue. Virtue should become a passion it self in order to unite duty-loving subjects and government in emotional harmony.

Sneedorff’s absolutist project of enlightenment excluded everyone but the regent from formal political influence. It nevertheless placed enlighteners like Sneedorff himself in a privileged position as those in power to define the contents of virtue and honourable selfmanagement.

His enlightenment attitudes also illustrate the mentality behind the centralising reform policy pursued by the absolutist government of his country.

elected writings

* "Om den borgerlige Regiering" (On civil government) (1757)
* "Den patriotiske Tilskuer" (The Patriotic Spectator) (1761-63)


* [ Anders V. Hassing (2005): "Staten i hjertet. Jens Schelderup Sneedorffs patriotiske opdragelsesprojekt", master thesis, University of Copenhagen] (Danish with English summary)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jens Schielderup Sneedorff — Portrait de Jens Schielderup Sneedorff, daté 1764 Jens Schielderup Sneedorff, né le 22 août 1724 et mort le 5 Juin 1764, est un écrivain danois, professeur de science politique et enseignant du prince, figure centrale du siècle des Lumières du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Frederik Sneedorff — (* 1. September 1760 in Sorø; † 15. Juni 1792)[1] war ein dänischer Historiker. Er war der Sohn des Professors Jens Schielderup Sneedorff und dessen zweiter Frau Øllegaard Wilhelmine Thestrup (* 11. November 1775), Tochter des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dänische Literatur — Dänische Literatur. Die D. L. im weiteren Sinne des Wortes ist wesentlich ein Erzeugniß der neueren Zeit. Sie hat sich erst seit dem 18. Jahrh. ausgebildet; doch war der Kern zu ihr bereits im Zeitalter der Reformation vorhanden. Wie Dänemark… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ludvig Holberg — Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg (December 3, 1684 – January 28, 1754) was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway during the time of the Dano Norwegian double monarchy, and spent most of his adult life in …   Wikipedia

  • skandinavische Philosophie — skandinavische Philosophie,   Sammelbezeichnung für die in Schweden, Norwegen, Dänemark und Finnland ausgebildeten philosophischen Traditionen.   Die schwedische Philosophie entwickelte sich seit dem 17. Jahrhundert in enger Anlehnung an das… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Antoine Lavoisier — Lavoisier redirects here. For other uses, see Lavoisier (disambiguation). Antoine Lavoisier Line engraving by Louis Jean Desire Delaistre, after a design by Julien Leopold Boilly …   Wikipedia

  • David Hume — For other people named David Hume, see David Hume (disambiguation). David Hume David Hume Born 7 May 1711(1711 05 07) Edinburgh, Scotland Died 25 August 1776( …   Wikipedia

  • Democracy — For other uses, see Democracy (disambiguation) and Democratic Party (disambiguation). A woman casts her vote in the second round of the French presidential election of 2007 …   Wikipedia

  • Denis Diderot — Diderot redirects here. For the lunar impact crater, see Diderot (crater). Denis Diderot Diderot by Louis Michel van Loo, 1767 Full name Denis Diderot Born 5 October 1713(17 …   Wikipedia

  • Deism — For other uses, see Deism (disambiguation). Part of a series on God General c …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.