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Rutgers, M.R.

Rutgers, M.R.

Mark Rutgers, born in Almelo, the Netherlands, in 1958. Ph.D. from Leiden University. Professor of Public Administration, in particular the Philosophy and Ethic of the Public Sector at Leiden University.

Fellow (1 September 2007 – 30 June 2008)


A broad multi-disciplinary and comparative literature search and review on the nature of the oath of office was undertaken. Oaths were originally a core social phenomenon, but even in classic times oaths were gradually replaced by legal contracts. What remained however, were oaths in courts and oaths of office. Political or administrative functionaries were required to take a double oath: an oath of purification, implying that one swears to have received the appointment in a fair manner, and an oath as a promise to carry out the office properly. This double oath is still kept intact. The core of the debate in the last 200 years concerns the acceptability of an affirmation instead of the traditional (religious) oath. The recurring argument for continuation of the exceptional demand of an oath of office is that a public function implies public authority and thus warrants society to ask the highest security and commitment a person can give.