George Turnbull’s eighteenth-century translation of A Methodical System of Universal Law was his major effort to convey continental natural law to Britain, thus making Heineccius’s natural jurisprudence more accessible to English-speaking audiences. Turnbull includes extensive comments on Heineccius’s text and also presents his own philosophical work, A Discourse upon the Nature and Origin of Moral and Civil Laws.
Christian Thomasius’s natural jurisprudence is essential to understanding the origins of the Enlightenment in Germany, where his importance was comparable to that of John Locke’s in England.
The works found in Essays on Church, State, and Politics, which originated as disputations, theses, and pamphlets, were direct interventions in the unresolved issue of the political role of religion in Brandenburg-Prussia, a state in which a Calvinist dynasty ruled over a largely Lutheran population and nobility as well as a significant Catholic minority.
Christian Wolff’s The Law of Nations is a cornerstone of eighteenth-century thought. A treatise on the philosophy of human action, on the foundations of political communities, and on international law, it influenced philosophers throughout the eighteenth-century Enlightenment world. According to Knud Haakonssen, general editor of the Natural Law and Enlightenment series, “before Kant’s critical philosophy, Wolff was without comparison the most influential German thinker for several decades as well as a major European figure.”