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Friedrich Carl v. Savigny's "Beruf" and "Volksgeistlehre"

By Andreas Rahmatian


In the Anglo-Saxon world the nineteenth-century German jurist Friedrich Carl von Savigny is known mostly for his Volksgeistlehre (‘spirit of the people doctrine’), a speculative and anti-rationalist theory of the evolution of law, which he set out comprehensively in 1814 in a pamphlet, Vom Beruf unserer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft. This article explains in more detail the main ideas expressed in this famous pamphlet of German legal history, and examines the relevance of the Volksgeist doctrine and its underlying historical method to discussions concerning a European civil code based on a European ius commune, as well as to law and legal history in England and Scotland. The article also shows that surprisingly much of Savigny's thinking still exercises its influence and even experiences a certain renaissance today

Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01440360701237327
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