First Advisor

Michael F. Reardon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History




Natural law -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (91 p.)


The development of natural law has had a profound influence on the course of European civilization. I have started my research with natural law as it was conceived by Socrates and Plato. I then followed the major developments and changes that occurred to this original design through to the height of the Renaissance in the Sixteenth century. I relied mostly on secondary sources for several reasons. First the translations of the original materials are all well established. This includes translations of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Ockham, Suarez, Luther, as well as others. Secondly, and more importantly, the emphasis of my research was not to describe the secondary and tertiary intellectual work of the thinkers after Plato. Rather I wish to show how the philosophical forces that Plato struggled against during his lifetime reemerged later in two major philosophies peculiar to Europe and how these essentially distorted his original design.


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