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According to the traditional understanding, collegialism designates a theory advanced in justification of (Protestant) territorial church government (the last of such older theories after the territorial and episcopal systems). Unlike earlier theories, however, it includes both a sociological and a theological theory of the church and of church law. The basis is the view, derived from natural law and the Enlightenment, of the social nature of the church (as a collegium, as for S. Pufendorf and J. H. Boehmer). In the middle of the 18th century early collegialists (e.g., C. M. Pfaff and L. Mosheim) constructed a genuinely ecclesiastical law of church self-administration. They argued on two levels. Theologically the church, being founded by Christ, lives according to its own legal principles. In part these are inalienable as the command of God, in part they are historically variable as human decisions. The second level is that of the stricter rationality of natural law. The state cannot be expected to take over the church’s understanding as a basis for its own polity. The aim of collegialism is rather to show that there can be an appropriate relation between church and state on the basis of a religiously neutral legal order. As a corporation, the church has autonomy in fixing its polity so as best to discharge its spiritual mission.