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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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Lecture One—The End of an Era: Transformation of Scholarship in Roman Law

Lecture One—The End of an Era: Transformation of Scholarship in Roman Law

(p.1) Lecture One—The End of an Era: Transformation of Scholarship in Roman Law
Roman Law, Contemporary Law, European Law


Oxford University Press

This lecture shows how legal history lost touch with modern legal doctrine in 19th-century Germany. This process of emancipation was enormously beneficial in enhancing our knowledge of classical antiquity. Arguably, however, the pendulum swung too far. There has always been, in the development of the civilian tradition, competition between an ‘elegant’ and a ‘utilitarian’ approach. The lecture discusses the natural law codifications and Roman law; the effects of codification in general, focusing on the experiences of France, the Netherlands, Prussia, and Austria; the civil code of Germany; historical legal scholarship in the 19th century; the neglect of the more recent history of private law; and the transition from ‘contemporary’ Roman law to Roman law.

Keywords:   Roman law, legal scholarship, natural law, codification, civil code, legal history, private law, Germany, Austria

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