Katharina Isabel Schmidt, ‘Rethinking modern European intellectual history’

Rethinking modern European intellectual history, edited by Darrin M McMahon and Samuel Moyn, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, 320 pp, £22.99 (pbk), ISBN 978-0-199-76924-7. In 1861, English jurist Henry Maine published his grand oeuvre, a book called Ancient Law. In it, he set out to trace the development of what he called ‘progressive’ societies from pre-modern to modern times, highlighting the gradual move from primitive collectivism to modern individualism. Famous for his ‘from-Status-to-Contract’ aphorism, Maine elicited responses that ran the gamut of academic opinion, from high praise to harsh criticism. While some welcomed Ancient Law as one of the most magnificent works on the history and theory of socio-legal evolution, the book was also criticized for its high level of abstraction, its analytic ethnocentrism as well as its raci(ali)st overtones …” (more)

Katharina Isabel Schmidt, ‘Rethinking modern European intellectual history’. Comparative Legal History. DOI: 10.1080/2049677X.2015.1041736. Published online: 09 Jun 2015.

First posted 2015-06-18 08:07:46

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