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De Jure Belli Ac Pacis
Book by Hugo Grotius
De jure belli ac pacis, title page from the first edition of 1625.
De jure belli ac pacis, title page from the second edition of 1631.
De iure belli ac pacis (English: On the Law of War and Peace) is a 1625 book in Latin, written by Hugo Grotius and published in Paris, on the legal status of war. It is now regarded as a foundational work in international law.
It is an attempt by a theologically and classically educated jurist to base upon law order and security in the community of states as well as in the national society in which he had grown up. In the rather naïve rationalism, the belief in reason as the lord of life, is revealed the spiritual son of Erasmus.
In particular, this work is remembered for the Latin sentence:
Et haec quidem quae iam diximus, locum aliquem haberent etiamsi daremus, quod sine summo scelere dari nequit, non esse Deum, aut non curari ab eo negotia humana.
What we have been saying would have a degree of validity even if we should concede that which cannot be conceded without the utmost wickedness: that there is no God, or that the affairs of men are of no concern to Him.
Such a concept has been synthesized with the famous Latin phrase etsi Deus non daretur, which means "even when God were assumed not to exist" but is normally translated "as if God did not exist".
Cornelis van Vollenhoven. On the Genesis of De Iure Belli ac Pacis. Amsterdam: Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen, 1924.
Francis W. Kelsey, with the collaboration of Arthur E. R. Boak, trans. De iure belli ac pacis libri tres. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1913-1925 (reprint: Buffalo, NY: William H. Hein, 1995).
Stephen C. Neff, trans. Hugo Grotius: On the Law of War and Peace. Student edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.