In all his works Julius Stone has always put stress on the importance of historical reflection. Therefore, the author wishes to dedicate to Professor Stone this essay which deals from a Continental point of view with the historical background of one of the most fundamental principles of the modem state. This is the development of the secular character of the state. The essence of this. process (which predated the rise of the Continental democracies) is that the state as such is not to be identified with any religious or ideological position, thus guaranteeing the plurality of society.





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