Hojer, Andreas (* 1690.05.18 † 1739.08.28)
Basic Overview Data
Biographical and Intellectual Profile
Andreas Hojer was the first official professor of natural law at Copenhagen University in (1734). He was born in Karlum in western Schleswig into a family of pastors sympathetic to pietistic Lutheranism. In Spring 1706, he was sent to study in Halle, first at the Paedagogium regium, where he was put in a select class. The following year he enrolled at the University to study medicine, but focused his studies on natural and public law, history and moral philosophy under Thomasius, J.P. Ludwig, N. H. Gundling and A. Rüdiger. He returned to the North, but went to Copenhagen following the outbreak of the Great Northern War in 1709. In 1717, he submitted a dissertation to the faculty of medicine, and subseqently accompanied the sons of the Geheimeråd (privy counsellor) J. G. von Holstein on their peregrinatio academica to Helmstedt in 1717-1718, where he discussed matters of natural law with an unnamed “friend”, possibly G. S. Treuer. Fruits of this trip, and his studies in Halle, were a “short Danish history” (1718) and a dissertation on the non-prohibition of incestuous marriages by divine law (1718), which both earned him some fame (or infamy) and involved him in protracted controversy with his rival Ludvig Holberg, and caused him some problems with the theological authorities. Despite, or because, of this he was employed in a string of positions by the Danish kings. In addition to his professorship in natural law (for which J. C. G. Heineccius had first been sought), these included royal historiographer (on the recommendation of his predecessor C. H. Amthor), positions in the new governmental department for ecclesiastical supervision and the associated Orphanage and Missionary College. In all of these, he wielded his expertise on behalf of the absolutist government in various polemical pamphlets, historical writings and professional opinions. He died in 1739, seemingly from a combination of fragile health and overwork.
Comment on main natural law works:
According to the lecture catalogue of the University of Copenhagen, Hojer lectured publicly on “the law of nature and the precepts of moral philosophy” from 1736 to his death, but no systematic treatment of natural law, collegium or notes from these lectures seem to be extant. Collegia survive, however, from his private lectures on Danish procedural law (some later published), where Hojer outlined his views on natural and divine law. In addition, there are indications of Hojer’s teaching on natural law in two further sources. First, his manual for law students (1736) included recommendations for studying natural law, divine law, the law of nations and universal public law. Second, the protocols from his examinations of law students, which covered these topics. Unless hitherto unknown manuscript works are discovered, Hojer’s main works on natural law must therefore be said to be his inaugural lecture on the rights of war against minors from 1735 and his dissertation on the non-prohibition of incestuous marriages by divine law. For a revised version of the latter, Hojer wrote not just an account of the controversy in which the clergy had embroiled him and a lengthy apology, but also a new preface (novus prologus) in which he gave perhaps the most systematic account of his views on natural and divine law.
Comment on profile’s conception of natural law:
Hojer’s conception of natural law was strongly shaped by the developments in Halle in the first decades of the eighteenth century. Like several of his contemporaries, Hojer combined elements from Pufendorf and Thomasius. He was inspired by Thomasius’ new and revised, tripartite conception of natural law. Hojer drew heavily on this in his work on incestuous marriages, and in the controversy about this, Hojer spelled out their implications for authority and learned liberty. In this and later works he made use of several other older and contemporary authors including notably Pufendorf and Buddeus, as well as the Copenhagen professor and fellow-Thomasius student Christian Reitzer. Hojer also personally knew C. H. Amthor and invoked his authority in his defence.
Hojer seems to have been particularly interested in what may be described as the anti-naturalistic potential of certain aspects of Pufendorfian and Thomasian natural law. This is most starkly expressed in his Diagramma, where he refused to ground any supposed prohibition of incestuous relations on natural characteristics or feelings. Similarly, in his inaugural dissertation, he wielded the Pufendorfian conception of moral personhood to deny that physical characteristics such as age were relevant for the rights of war. Hojer recommended Pufendorf’s De officio as basis for teaching natural law, and ensured that it was translated into Danish.
Generally, Hojer adopted an eclectic attitude to natural law, adapting his use of natural law to the audiences he addressed and his often casuistic purposes. While in his exam questions, Hojer may have asked questions and accepted answers expressive of a more orthodox or conventional conception of natural law, his teaching also displays an enduring influence from Thomasius. First, he emphasised that students should learn the distinction between natural law strictly speaking on the one hand, and ethics and decorum, prudence, and the principles of piety, on the other. Second, in a private collegium from the years just before his death, Hojer explained that natural law carries with it only an internal, moral obligation and not an external and enforceable, juridical one. While he granted that his students might find useful introductions to natural law from Wolff and his “followers”, he warned that they should disregard “the teachings that actions are good or bad independent of divine will as well as that the just and morally good is the same and obligating even if there was no God”.
Titles, Memberships and Other Relevant Roles
[Hojer, Andreas]. De nuptiis propinquorum iure divino non prohibitis […] Diagramma. (N.D., N.P., [Lemgo, 1718]).
Andreæ Hojern Kurtzgefaßte Dännemärckische Geschichte: Vom Anfang Dieses Mächtigen Reichs Bis Zum Ausgang Des XVII. Seculi : Aus Den Bewährtesten Scribenten Zu Mehrerer Deutlichkeit Jn Fragen Und Antworten Verfasset Und Mit Nöthigen Allegationibus Versehen, (Flensburg: Jn Verlegung Balthasar Otto Bosseck, 1718).
Juridisk Collegium over Processen saaledes som den bruges i Dannemark og Norge, confereret med den, som bruges i Førstendommene og Tydskland. Edited by Hans Hagerup, (Copenhagen: Ernst Henrich Berling, 1742).
Salig Etats-Raad Høyers Juridiske Collegium Saavidt Den Danske Og Norske Proces Vedkommer, Med Fliid Igiennemseet Og Efter et Den Salig Herres Egenhændige Haandskrift Rettet Og Renset Fra de Mangfoldige Udi Forrige Edition Sig Indsnegne Tryk- Og Andre Feil, Samt Forbedret Med Tillæg Af de Siden Og Til Denne Tid Udkomne Kongelige Forordninger Og Rescripter. Edited by Christian Ditlev Hedegaard, (Copenhagen: Johan Gottlob Rothe, 1764).
Ius publicum det er Stats-Ret eller Statsforfatning og Rettigheder for Danmark, Norge og Fyrstendommene. Edited by Peder Mortensen Bredsdorff, (Christiania: Jens Ø. Berg, 1789).
Dissertatio iuris publici universalis de eo quod iure belli licet in minores, Vom Recht des Krieges gegen die Minderjährige. ... subiicit Andreas Hoier Iuris Universalis atque Publici P. P. O. (Copenhagen: Typis Reg. Majest. & Universit. Typogr. Joh. G. Höpffneri, 1735) [Defendent: Ludovico de Hemmer]
Ideae Icti Danici partem 1. disputatione anniversaria expositam publico eruditorum examini subiciit Andreas Hoier ... (Copenhagen: Typis Reg. Majest. & Universit. Typogr. Joh. G. Höpffneri, 1736) [respondent: Christiano Fleischer]
- [Danish translation by Peder Sommer] Forestilling paa en Dansk Jurist, den 1. Part. ... (Copenhagen: Kongl. Majests. priviligerede Bogtrykkerie, 1737)
Periodica and Compiled Works:
Nova Litteraria (Hafniae, 1721)
Ego-Documents and Biographical Materials:
Andreas Hojer to Johann Fabricius in Helmstedt on 10.01.1726, in Holger Rørdam, ed., Historiske Samlinger og Studier vedrørende danske Forhold og Studier især i det 17. Aarhundrede, vol. 1 (Copenhagen: Gad, 1896), 395–408.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Collegium juridicum de modo procedendi in Dania.’, n.d. Thott 2146 kvart. Royal Library, Copenhagen.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Collegium juridicum. Pars prior. 1740.’, 1740. Thott 2145 kvart.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘De nuptiis propinqvorum jure divino non prohibitis [...] Diagramma (in quo varia iuris fundamenta accuratius excutiuntur) novo illustris auctoris prologo variisque emendationibus et accessionibus auctum’, 1721. Royal Library in Copenhagen NKS 1408 kvart.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Andr. Höjeri Collegium de jure publico Daniæ. Apogr.’, 17. GKS 1165 folio.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Andr. Höyers Collegium Juris publici Dano-Holsatici.’, 1831. NKS 1411 kvart.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Collegium Juris publici Danici a Prof. Andr. Hoyero habitum, conscriptum a P. Uldall 7 Maii 1764.’, 1764. Uldall 308 kvart.
Hojer, Andreas: ‘Summarische Deduction über den Fischfang und die Schiffahrt in der Nordsee. Mit Beilagen.’, n.d. Additamenta 69 fol. (Perhap's C. L. Scheidt)
Ego-Documents and Biographical Materials:
“Allerunterthänigste und wahrhafftige Species Facti was von Anfang biss anjetzo mit dem Diagrammate de Nuptiis Propinquorum und dem darüber erhobenen Streit vorgefallen”, appended to Andreas Hojer, ‘De nuptiis propinqvorum jure divino non prohibitis [...] Diagramma (in quo varia iuris fundamenta accuratius excutiuntur) novo illustris auctoris prologo variisque emendationibus et accessionibus auctum’ (1721), fol. 3r, Royal Library in Copenhagen NKS 1408, 4° Also in Rørdam vol. 2, pp. 343-353.