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Roman Law, Contemporary Law, European LawThe Civilian Tradition Today$
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Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299134

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299134.001.0001

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(p.xix) Introduction
Roman Law, Contemporary Law, European Law


Oxford University Press

This book contains the Clarendon lectures devoted to legal history: Roman law, contemporary law, and European law. 19th-century legal scholarship was dominated by Savigny's Historical School, which flourished in Germany. The implementation of the German Civil Code, 100 years ago, may be regarded as its supreme triumph or its ultimate failure. Indisputably, the Code has changed our legal perception. It has led to an emancipation of Roman law from contemporary legal doctrine, a process that is sketched in the first lecture. The second lecture discusses whether this has also resulted in an emancipation of contemporary doctrine from Roman law, or whether there has been a qualitative change in our substantive private law as a result of codification. Lawyers in 19th-century Germany were constantly aware, in spite of the bewildering legal diversity with which they were faced, of a fundamental intellectual unity created by a common tradition. The recreation of such an awareness is of central importance to sustain the Europeanisation of private law. The third lecture attempts to demonstrate how this may be achieved.

Keywords:   private law, Roman law, contemporary law, Germany, Europeanisation, codification, civil code, legal history

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