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'Neque id sine magna Servii laude…', Historisierung der Rechtswissenschaft und Genese von System und Methode bei Donellus

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

In recent literature, the French humanist Hugo Donellus (1527–1591) is generally acknowledged as the creator of a civil law system. His system is generally understood as devised to present and explain Roman law. But in fact, Donellus does not organize the legal rules with the help of systematic elements from outside the law. He tries to reach back to the roots of classical Roman law, i.e. the ars iuris of Servius Sulpicius Rufus. Based on structural elements of the ars iuris that are preserved by the sources, Donellus tries to reorganize the law. He anticipates a methodological strategy that would prove to be successful in the 19th century: to understand law as the result of a long-term development. On the basis of this perspective he tries to reach back to the historical origins of law in order to make further dogmatical development possible. Thus, Donellus appears as a predecessor of the historical school of law.


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