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Portrait d’un « romaniste » hors du commun : Jean Acher (1880–1915)

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Portrait of a not so common Romanist’: Jean Acher (1880–1915) – Jean Acher, known to only a few specialists in Medieval Roman law, was an unusual scholar of Roman law. He was born in Lodz (Poland) in 1880. He studied first at St Petersburg, then in Berlin, where he attended B. Kübler’s teaching, and continued his studies at Montpellier, where he was awarded a law degree. He obtained a licence in law in 1904. At the same time, Acher also studied Romanic languages and literature. Legal and Romanic studies were the subjects of the many articles and reviews he then started publishing in several distinguished journals. In 1906, he settled in Paris. Acher became involved in the (at the time, highly controversial) issues around the methods of legal teaching, appearing as a harsh critic of the then prevailing approach to Roman law teaching. A great admirer of H.H. Fitting, he criticised specifically the exclusive focus on classical Roman law. In turn, Acher was the target of criticism by V. Arangio Ruiz and Ch.L. Appleton, which led to a confrontation with legal scholars. J. Bédier, professor at the Collège de France, supported him and, as a result, Acher devoted his work almost exclusively to the study of Romanic philology and literature. He obtained French citizenship in September 1914 and died the following year as a soldier on the frontline.


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