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The primary aim of this work is to present a critical analysis of the writings of Cornelius van Bynkershoek (1673-1743), an eminent Dutch jurist known traditionally as a ""positivist"", in the history of international law. However, it goes beyond an analysis of the ""classics"" per se and attempts to clarify some basic questions concerning the history of international law, such as the relationship between legal doctrine and state practice, and the re-consideration of methodological differences among historical figures like Grotius, Pufendorf and Vattel. In addition to these questions, the work also covers some fundamental problems of international law in general, such as the meaning of positivism and positive law, and the function of reason.;To discuss these issues, the work is divided into three main parts. The construction of Bynkershoek's general theory of the law of nations is covered in the first part. The second offers an overview and analysis of the contemporary practice relevant to his theories on the law of neutral commerce. The final part discusses the ""geneology"" of Bynkershoek's works, namely his relation to Grotius and to his later generation of publicists.