Historistiese politologie of universele beginsels van die staatsfilosofie?


  • Andries Raath University of the Free State, South Africa


Historistic politology or universal principles of state philosophy? Francois Hotman’s systemising and historiographical interpretation of the Medieval constitutional principles in his Francogallia.

R.E. Giesey observes that the early Reformational political theorist Francois Hotman’s Francogallia differs markedly from the generalised doctrines of political obligation presented by the classical works of Calvinist resistance theory in the 1570’s. It reflects a reliance upon constitutional custom rather than upon rational abstractions, an attitude which characterised an earlier phase of political conflicts. Giesey adds that dependence upon a national past and a Francogallican ancient constitution seems to imply a stress upon the empirical rather than the normative, upon history rather than philosophy, upon the particular rather than the universal. Hotman’s method, according to Giesey, reflects a conviction that historical precedents will demonstrate the truth of abstract propositions. Giesey concludes that Hotman's work exhibits a continuing tension between philosophical and historical priorities.

This essay investigates the Medieval background of constitutional theories to Hotman’s historical investigations, identifies the most important principles of constitutionalism manifest in early Medieval and Scholastic political philosophies and reflects upon the originality of Hotman’s historiographical investigations. It is concluded that Hotman’s identification of constitutional principles was not original and he mainly endeavoured to determine to what extent these principles formed part of the political history of the Frankish and Germanic nations. Furthermore, Hotman’s following of Medieval political views of constitutionalism and his historiographical investigations proved to be major stumbling blocks in drafting a normative theory of political society. On the other hand, however, Hotman’s Francogallia affirmed the importance of the liberty of subjects and the boundaries of political action.



How to Cite

Raath, A. (2020). Historistiese politologie of universele beginsels van die staatsfilosofie?. Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 56(3&4), 190-219. Retrieved from https://pubs.ufs.ac.za/index.php/tcw/article/view/530

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