Johann Gottlieb Heineccius (1681-1741)

Johann Gottlieb Heineccius (September 11, 1681 – August 31, 1741) was a German jurist from Eisenberg, Thuringia.

He studied theology at Leipzig, and law at Halle; and at the latter university he was appointed in 1713 professor of philosophy, and in 1718 professor of jurisprudence. He subsequently filled legal chairs at Franeker in the Netherlands and at Frankfurt, but finally returned to Halle in 1733 as professor of philosophy and jurisprudence.

Heineccius belonged to the school of philosophical jurists. He endeavoured to treat law as a rational science, and not merely as an empirical art whose rules had no deeper source than expediency. Thus he continually refers to first principles, and he develops his legal doctrines as a system of philosophy.

His chief works were:

  • Antiquitatum Romanarum jurisprudentiam illustrantium syntagma (1718)
  • Historia juris civilis Romani ac Germanici (1733)
  • Elementa juris Germanici (1735)
  • Elementa juris naturae et gentium (1737; Eng. trans. by Turnbull, 2 vols, London, 1763)

Besides these works he wrote on purely philosophical subjects, and edited the works of several of the classical jurists. His Opera omnia (9 vols, Geneva, 1771, etc.) were edited by his son Johann Christian Gottlieb Heineccius (1718–1791).

Heineccius's brother, Johann Michael Heineccius (1674–1722), was a well-known preacher and theologian.

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