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Cramer, Jean (* 1701.06.21 † 1773.03.24)

Basic Overview Data

1701.06.21, Geneva
1773.03.24, Geneva
Protestant, Calvinist
Institutional Affiliation
Academy (University) of Geneva
Keyword Filters
Calvinist, Rousseau
Important Family Relations:
Father, Jean-Isaac Cramer (1674 - 1751), physician
Mother, Anne Mallet (1672 - 1727),
Brother, Gabriel Cramer (1704.07.31 - 1752.01.04), mathematician and philosopher
Canonical URL:


Jean Cramer was born in Geneva on 21 June 1701. He studied law at the University of Basel where he obtained his doctoral degree on 30 May 1721 with the dissertation De donationibus. He applied for one of the two chairs in natural and civil law created by the Genevan government in 1723. He delivered a probatory lecture Positiones juridicae de secundis nuptiis on 12 March 1723. In parallel with Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, he obtained the chair and kept it until 1738 when he was elected to the Small Council of the city. Between 1747 and 1770 he served several times as syndic and once as first syndic. Given the privileges granted to Burlamaqui because of his ill health, Cramer lectured more often on civil than on natural law, that is, on Roman law and on the edicts of Geneva.

Comment on main natural law works:

Cramer excelled as specialist of local law and wrote down the “Recueil de décisions et d'observations de jurisprudence, à l'usage des juges et des avocats de Genève”, manuscript of 12 volumes, completed in 1758, and the “Commentaire sur les édits de 1713”, manuscript of 14 volumes. As can be gathered from his publications and the manuscripts kept at the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève, Cramer was heavily involved in the political crisis following the publication of the Social Contract and the Emile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Academic Data


.. - 1721.05.30, Law, University of Basel


1721.05.30, Doctor of law, University of Basel


1723-1738: Natural and civil law, public and private courses, Academy of Geneva

Professional Data


1723 - 1738, Professor of natural and civil law, Academy of Geneva

Titles, Memberships and Other Relevant Roles

1728, Member, Council of Two Hundred, Geneva
1738, Member, Small Council, Geneva
1747 - 1770, Syndic, Geneva (served several times)
1770, First syndic, Geneva

Printed Sources


Lettre à l'auteur de la Gazette d'Amsterdam (Geneva: [s.l.], 1765: Digital version

Suite des Lettres populaires, Où l'on éclaircit divers faits répandus dans la Réponse aux Lettres écrites de la Campagne ([Geneva, 1765]).

Réflexions d'un citoyen, sur le second chef de la représentation remise à Messieurs les Sindics le 7e. février 1765 par un très grand nombre de citoyens & de bourgeois ([Geneva, 1765]).


Dissertatio Juridica De Donationibus (Basel: Brandmüller, 1721): Digital version

Positiones juridicae de secundis nuptiis ([Geneva, 1723]), probatory lecture held at the Academy of Geneva on 12 March 1723.

Manuscript Sources


Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui Jus naturalis (s.l., s.d.), Bibliothèque de Genève (BGE), Ms. Cramer 172: Digital Version

[Manuscript bound in one volume; one writer (J.-J. Burlamaqui?) presents in Latin the first book of Pufendorf's De officio hominis et civis; a second writer (Jean Cramer?) adds his commentaires, usually on the verso, but sometimes over several pages added to the original text]

Recueil de décisions et d'observations de jurisprudence, à l'usage des juges et des avocats de Genève, 12 vols., 1758, Bibliothèque de Genève (BGE), Ms. Cramer, 159-170.

Commentaire sur les Edits civils de 1713, 14 vols., Bibliothèque de Genève (BGE), Ms. Cramer, 145-158.

Direct Personal Connections:

1723, Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, Geneva
Mikkel Munthe Jensen, Last Update:  21.07.2022