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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter observes that the ‘sources of international law’ is a complicated concept for later scholastic authors. This is because they have no doctrine of ‘sources’ and because the phrase ius gentium, as they employ it, is not appropriately translated by ‘international law’. When they write about the ius gentium, they are engaged in an exercise of hermeneutic reconstruction of a law that has already been legislated, a reconstruction that is also a legitimation of their own position in the present. They draw their materials from scholastic authorities, from natural law, and from human practice and history. The possibility of abrogation, however, puts pressure on even their most innovative thinking about the ius gentium. This shows yet again how difficult they find it to conceptualize making international law in the present, and thus to conceive of sources of international law in anything like the modern sense.

Keywords: 1648-1815, Ancient Times to 1648, Choice of law

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