Principles of Law

From the preface:

This book is a translation of Book II of The Doctrine of Law and State, originally entitled “The Law” [Das Recht]. The title I have given it better reflects its contents: it contains the principles, the nuts and bolts, of Stahl’s doctrine of law and state which then find specific application in Books III and IV, on private law and state law, respectively. It is, as it were, the wheelhouse: here in concentrated form are the elements which distinguish Stahl’s common-law, Historical School approach, cast in terms of his Christian faith.

From “Books in Little,” The University Bookman, Volume 47, No. 1 (Winter 2010):

Alvarado’s two volumes make available for the first time in English the life and writings of Bavarian born legal scholar Friedrich Julius Stahl (1802–1861). Stahl, a convert from Judaism to Lutheranism, “stood as one of the last in a long line of confessing Christian statesmen drawing upon the fast-disappearing common-law tradition of the vanished Holy Roman Empire.” Following Burke and von Savigny, Stahl articulated for the Historical School of Jurisprudence a conservative legal philosophy in which “authority, not majority . . . established the framework of the social order.” Stahl located the source of authority in Christianity, which provides the commands and principles through which institutions, the cornerstone of the law for Stahl, provide order and allow for authentic liberty.

Alvarado frames Stahl’s life between two cataclysmic events: The French Revolution and German unification. Whereas the former’s attack on Christianity and authority gave Stahl his life’s task, the latter’s rejection of Christianity and tradition in favor of blood and iron brought Stahl’s work to an unrealized end. After sketching Stahl’s early life and the factors that contributed to his legal philosophy, including his German patriotism, orthodox Lutheranism, and von Savigny’s Historical School, Alvarado describes how he applied his philosophy in two political arenas: first, he helped steer Prussia and King Friedrich Wilhelm IV through the turbulent years following the revolutions of 1848 by contributing both to Prussia’s new constitution and to the formation of its first conservative party; and second, he served on a consistory to oversee ecclesiastical affairs, through which he sought to preserve sound doctrine against staunch opposition.

Alvarado’s biography and edition of Stahl’s Principles of Law have done a great service for readers seeking serious articulations of the law’s proper foundations, and the relationship between religion and the law in an age of secular jurisprudence and judicial activism.

Book details:

ISBN/SKU: 9076660034
ISBN Complete: 978-90-76660-03-5
Book Type: 6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Perfect Bound CREME
Page Count: 172
includes bibliography and index
$18.99



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