Sculpting the Agenda of Comparative Law: Ernst Rabel and the Facade of Language
Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, Hart Publishing, 2001
19 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2001
The method developed by Ernst Rabel for the comparative study of law has acquired the status of orthodoxy in much of the world. His so-called function/context method has dominated much of the work done in comparative law since the Second World War. Yet what kind of orthodoxy is it? What was he trying to do and how did he seek to accomplish his goals? Answers to these questions illuminate the tensions and forces within comparative law today and suggest paths for its future development.
My central objective in this essay is, therefore, to seek answers to these questions. I try to locate Rabel’s project and identify some of the principal factors that influenced his goals and shaped his methods. The aim of this analysis is to set the stage for “rethinking” Rabel’s methods and their relationship to the contemporary needs of comparative law.
Keywords: Ernst Rabel, comparative law, function method, context method, development
JEL Classification: K19, K23, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation