Original Research

God’s gifts to humankind: a legal- philosophical interpretation of Luther’s views on ownership and the natural right to property

A. W.G. Raath
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 43, No 1 | a214 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v43i1.214 | © 2009 A. W.G. Raath | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2009 | Published: 26 July 2009

About the author(s)

A. W.G. Raath, Department of Constitutional Law & Philosophy of Law, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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The collapse of the medieval political and social order, the rise of the nation state and the emergent absolutism of civil rulers, meant that the early Reformers had to make a clearer demar- cation between the natural right to private property and the moral conditions giving rise to such a right, and a clearer de- lineation of the duties of civil authorities in dealing with private property in civil society. Luther’s view that natural right presup- poses the existence of moral duty and is intricately connected with the moral uprightness of the owner’s activities, produces a number of important perspectives still relevant for the debate concerning the natural rights of individuals to own property and to have the sphere of liberty attached to this right adequately protected.


Natural Law; Property; Right To Property


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