Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Foundational Texts in Modern Criminal Law$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Markus D Dubber

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673612.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Radbruch on the Origins of the Criminal Law

Radbruch on the Origins of the Criminal Law

Punitive Interventions before Sovereignty

(p.219) 11 Radbruch on the Origins of the Criminal Law
Foundational Texts in Modern Criminal Law

Mireille Hildebrandt

Oxford University Press

This chapter is dedicated to Radbruch’s seminal text on “The Origin of Criminal Law in the Class of Serfs.” It contains a number of counter intuitive insights on the relationship between public punishment and private revenge, derived from the domains of legal history and anthropological research in non-state societies. Radbruch’s aim was not to provide a historiography of punitive interventions in tribal Germanic society, but to remind his readers of the constitutive importance of sovereignty for the emergence of criminal law. This relates to Radbruch’s concern for legal certainty, and explains his inquiries into the continuity and discontinuities between the pater familias of the Germanic clan and the institution of the sovereign. My own investigations could similarly be understood as a kind of “historical jurisprudence,” highlighting the significance of the mutation that occurred when punitive interventions between equals (private revenge) were prohibited and became themselves punishable as criminal offences.

Keywords:   history of punishment, public criminal law, private revenge, non-state society, suzerainty, sovereignty, monopoly of violence, rule of Law, pater familias

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .