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Jus Humanitatis

Jus Humanitatis

The Right of Humankind as Foundation for International Law

By Valentin Tomberg

184 pp

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About the Book

At the beginning of 1944, Valentin Tomberg (1900–1973), best-known at the time for his Christological works, moved to Cologne at the invitation of legal scholar Ernst von Hippel, and that same year was awarded the title of Doctor of Law for his dissertation, published by Angelico Press as The Art of the Good: On the Regeneration of Fallen Justice. Tomberg had come to regard the modern path away from a natural law founded upon religion and towards a legal positivism oriented towards power as a degeneration of the different levels of law, a “fall” he sought to reverse in the direction of regeneration. In his second jurisprudential work, here published as Jus Humanitatis: The Right of Humankind as Foundation for International Law, Tomberg presents the history of international law more broadly in such a way that it can serve the peaceful coexistence of all nations on earth.

Invoking Thomistic terms, he presents the step-by-step dismantling of the edifice of law as the eclipse of the lex divina and lex naturalis in the so-called “law of nations” or international law—to the point that the higher vocation of international law came to be understood as nothing more than a legitimizing of absolute power, which then led to the modern totalitarian state. In this inspired text, Tomberg equips us to set about reversing this degradation and establishing the right or law of humankind as foundation for international law.


“Valentin Tomberg penned this great treatise on international law literally in the ruins of World War II, and one can sense his fear that we may have learned nothing from the horrific conflict. Here Tomberg traces what he calls Hitler’s ‘spiritual family tree’ (which is essentially legal positivism), making the compelling case that only when divine law and natural law are restored to their place above a robust international law, will the international order remain stable and peaceful. Subsequent history has sadly proven his thesis to have been correct.”


Editor-in-Chief, Catholic Family News


“In Tomberg’s eyes, the human catastrophe of the Second World War was a consequence of the degeneration of jurisprudence that had begun in the medieval controversy between Realism and Nominalism, continued in the Renaissance and Early Modern period, led to the European revolutions, and culminated in the modern totalitarian state. In the present text, he sought passionately to contribute to a regeneration of jurisprudence.”


author of Weisheit in Person, Die Wiederkunft Christi, etc.


“In this book, written amid the final devastations of WWII, Valentin Tomberg, who along with some other German jurists was regarded as a leading representative of the idea of natural law, defended the position that international law—which he conceived as the right or law of humankind as a whole—had to stand above the law of states. For him, this meant that external intervention is justified when international law is violated.”


author of Valentin Tomberg and the Ecclesia Universalis

About the Author

Valentin Tomberg was born in St. Petersburg on February 26, 1900. Having been baptized a Protestant, he entered the Greek Orthodox church shortly before 1933, and, in 1945, became a Roman Catholic. In 1938 Tomberg emigrated to the Netherlands and began actively to lecture on Christological topics. At the beginning of 1944 he moved to Cologne, where he was awarded the title of Doctor of Law for his dissertation, The Art of the Good: On the Regeneration of Fallen Justice, published in English for the first time by Angelico Press. This dissertation marked an important turning-point in Tomberg’s life: humanistic studies he had presented during his thirties are now replaced by a strict orientation towards a Platonic model of knowledge, and a medieval, so-called “realism of universals.” Tomberg came to regard the modern path away from natural law (founded upon religion) and toward legal positivism (oriented toward power) as a dismantling of the different levels of law (and at the same time a loss of both the idea and ideal of law)—that is, as a process of degeneration or “fall,” which Tomberg seeks to reverse in the direction of regeneration. He also proposes a new way of organizing the academic study of law, in which the higher levels of law would be included, and in which access to the idea and the ideal of law would be restored.

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