Law and Revolution - Revisited
Rechtsgeschichte - Legal History, Rg 21 (2013), pp. 156-159
6 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2014 Last revised: 9 Feb 2020
Date Written: October 1, 2013
Thirty years ago, in 1983, Harold Berman’s “Law and Revolution. The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition” was first published. His work had an enormous impact on legal scholarship all over the world. Many aspects of his central thesis were largely discussed by legal historians, historians and social scientists. Berman’s work has not only become part of our discipline’s history, raising questions, for example, about the historical context of his construction of a “Western Legal Tradition” in the 1970s and 1980s, or his way of interrelating religion and law. It has also shaped the image of the “Western Legal Tradition,” in- and outside of Europe, inciting us to re-read his works, and to enter into a dialogue on a global scale, especially with those reading Berman from a different cultural perspective.
How Berman is perceived thirty years later, was the question we posed to a number of legal historians from around the world. They were invited to explore different interpretations and applications of the picture Berman drew, and to look back on the results of the scholarly debates that followed. Their findings were published in the forum of “Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History”, 21 (2013). This paper is the introduction by the editor.
Keywords: Legal history, Western legal tradition, Harold Berman
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