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‘No one is a better jurist than Accursius’

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Medieval legal scholarship as the fountainhead of inspiration for Jacques Cujas and Hugues Doneau?

image of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

Jacques Cujas and Hugues Doneau are reputed to have been the standard-bearers of humanist jurisprudence, an approach to law which gained ground in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Adherents to the humanist approach to law, Cujas and Doneau are thought likely to have shared its condescending attitude towards medieval legal scholarship. In recent literature, however, it is argued that both scholars adopted a more balanced view towards medieval legal writings than was previously thought. This paper aims to shed light on what this view really involved, first, by investigating Cujas’ and Doneau’s writings on methodology and, secondly, by examining how these jurists put their methodology to practice in their efforts to solve difficult points of law in Justinian’s Corpus iuris civilis. Using the findings of this examination a thorough analysis of their legal reasoning is made which allows the author to speculate on Cujas’ and Doneau’s position vis-à-vis the medieval legal heritage.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Legal Theory and Legal History, Faculty of Law, VU University, Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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