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Rethinking Historical Jurisprudence

9781802200737 Edward Elgar Publishing
Geoffrey Samuel, Professor Emeritus, Kent Law School, UK
Publication Date: September 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80220 073 7 Extent: c 416 pp
This stimulating book considers the ways in which historical jurisprudence deserves to be rethought, arguing that there is much more to the history of legal thought than the ideas, and ideology, of the nineteenth and early twentieth century jurists, such as Karl von Savigny and Sir Henry Maine.

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This stimulating book considers the ways in which historical jurisprudence deserves to be rethought, arguing that there is much more to the history of legal thought than the ideas, and ideology, of the nineteenth and early twentieth century jurists, such as Karl von Savigny and Sir Henry Maine.

In doing so, Geoffrey Samuel looks at the history of legal thought, method and reasoning from the position of three questions that will help readers to reflect on the nature of legal knowledge. First, what has legal knowledge been in the past? Secondly, taking a cue from the work of Thomas Kuhn, have there been scientific revolutions in the history of law? Thirdly, do jurists today know more about law as a body of knowledge than jurists of the past? In other words, does the history of law reveal a body of cumulative knowledge? This nuanced book shows how in re-examining legal knowledge from a diachronic perspective historical jurisprudence can be rethought as a domain concerned with contemporary legal epistemology.

Ambitious in its scope, Rethinking Historical Jurisprudence will be a key resource for students and scholars in the fields of legal philosophy, legal theory and history and research methods in law.
Critical Acclaim
‘Geoffrey Samuel is a leading legal comparatist and epistemologist whose decades-long scholarship has made fundamental contributions to the nature and dynamics of legal reasoning in both Common and Civil law jurisdictions. Rethinking Historical Jurisprudence represents a major step along Samuel’s rich intellectual path. It makes a compelling – and much-needed – case for reconsidering what amounts to “historical legal thought”. Learned yet accessible, Rethinking Historical Jurisprudence is a must-read for all those interested in the history and epistemology of legal reasoning.’
– Luca Siliquini-Cinelli, University of Dundee, UK
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