Contardo Ferrini (1859–1902): A Contemplative Legal Historian
In Orazio Condorelli and Rafael Domingo (eds.), Law and the Christian Tradition in Italy. The Works of Great Christian Jurists (Routledge, 2020)
19 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2018 Last revised: 7 Oct 2019
Date Written: July 8, 2018
A scholar of great originality and deep spirituality, Contardo Ferrini belonged to an outstanding generation of Italian legal historians of Antiquity, who brought to prominence the studies of Roman law just after the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy (1861). Moved by a patriotic feeling and scientific enthusiasm, they tried to wrest intellectual supremacy from Germany. In addition to Ferrini, the most influential representatives of this select group included Vittorio Scialoja, Carlo Fadda, Silvio Perozzi, Salvatore Riccobono, and Pietro Bonfante.
Although Scialoja, not Ferrini, was the leader of the group, Ferrini was a very prominent member of it, the most distinguished expert in Roman Byzantine law and criminal law, and probably the one who more properly embodied the notion of Christian jurist. Ferrini lived in a time of strong tensions between church and state due to the Roman question. He was a forerunner of the theology of the universal call to holiness, deeply developed decades later by the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), and he contributed to linking Christian love, especially for the poor, with the flourishing of human science.
Keywords: Roman Law, Criminal Law, Byzantine Law, Italy, Spirituality, Catholic Church, Legal Historian
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