Natural Law and the Harmonious City
One of the great themes of ancient religion and philosophy was how to live harmoniously as a community. From this concern arose the understanding of natural law, the law inherent in nature which guided all things to their proper ends. This law linked together the cosmos, the human city, and each human soul. A correspondence was understood to exist between them. Where this correspondence was realised in practice, society flourished in harmony with itself and with nature as a whole, and with the Divine Intelligence of the universe. From this harmony the truly just city and virtuous citizenship come into being. The understanding of this natural law was preserved in ancient Egypt and classical Greece and endured in the West until the close of the Middle Ages, after which it has been all but lost.
In our times, when we clearly live out of accord with nature, the study of the natural law tradition can provide insights that may help us restore our place in the providential order of
Dr Joseph Milne is Honorary Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent where he taught on the MA course in Mysticism and Religious Experience until his retirement in 2013. His publications include The Ground of Being: Foundations of Christian Mysticism (2004), Metaphysics and the Cosmic Order (2008) The Mystical Cosmos (2013) and The Lost Vision of Nature (2018). He is a Trustee of The Eckhart Society, a Fellow of the Temenos Academy, and editor of Land & Liberty. He is currently writing a book on the classical and medieval understanding of Natural Law.
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