Sculpting the Agenda of Comparative Law: Ernst Rabel and the Facade of Language

Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, Hart Publishing, 2001

Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper

19 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2013

See all articles by David J. Gerber

David J. Gerber

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

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

Gerber, David J., Sculpting the Agenda of Comparative Law: Ernst Rabel and the Facade of Language (2001). Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, Hart Publishing, 2001; Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295677

David J. Gerber (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

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