Écrits juridiques du Moyen Age occidental

Legendre, Pierre
Date published: 
January 1988

One important feature of medieval law is precisely that it does form the essential link between the Roman law of Antiquity and the main legal constructions of Western Europe; indeed, the very process of referring to legal texts, Professor Legendre points out, bears the imprint of the lawyers of the 11th - 12th centuries. In these articles he emphasizes the primary necessity of looking at the texts: to see how and why medieval jurists interpreted previous legislation and adapted it to their own time, one must first see what they actually wrote. On this basis he analyses some of the construction of medieval jurisprudence and medieval approaches to questions that remain of relevance. One article examines the influence of Bartolus and the development of anti-scholastic tendencies in French legal thought; another, in contrast, considers the "dogmatic function" of law, from the Middle Ages up to modern times. A particular theme is the interplay of thought and practice: neither should be schematically opposed to the other, for in a real sense, he contends, each acted upon the other.