Christian Thomasius

Thomasius, Christian (krĭsˈtyän tōmäˈzyŏs) [key], 1655–1728, German jurist and philosopher. A lawyer, he lectured on natural law at Leipzig; he broke with the traditional custom of lecturing in Latin and from 1687 taught in German. This and other liberal stands forced him to move to Halle in 1690, where he helped establish (1694) the Univ. of Halle, in which he became a professor. In the practical philosophy of Thomasius every question was considered without prejudice and submitted to the judgment of common sense. He was a reformer who sought to liberate politics from religious domination, and within religion he strove for freedom and toleration. He was influential in pointing the way to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. His chief work is Institutionum jurisprudentiae divinae (1688).

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