Recovering the Principles of Historic Christian Jurisprudence
Friedrich Julius Stahl mapped out a conservative Christian legal philosophy harvesting the fruits of the Western legal tradition. His treatment makes them available to a new generation unschooled in its own inheritance.
Stahl returns us to a broadly common-law-oriented jurisprudence integrating custom and legislation, justice and law, rights and institutions, the received historical law and the needs of the here and now, considerations of utility and God-ordained universal standards. He opens the door to restoring the balance between individual rights and an objective legal order which both conditions and protects those rights. He returns us to a jurisprudence with a better understanding of the law of nature and nature’s God, by expanding upon and consolidating the conservative principles first enunciated by Edmund Burke.
Authority Not Majority is a biography of Stahl written to introduce the translations.
The first installment is the Principles of Law, providing the core principles to be fleshed out in the remainder of the series.
The second installment, Private Law, provides a detailed exposition of the doctrine of subjective right, natural and acquired rights, and the institutions of private law: property, contract, marriage and the family, inheritance.
The third installment, on constitutional law entitled The Doctrine of State and the Principles of State Law, is now also available. It provides a thorough discussion of basic principles of public and constitutional law. Stahl’s treatment is valuable in two respects. It provides essential background to understanding the role of monarchy and estates in pre-modern constitutional systems, something which is sorely needed simply to better understand the past. And it provides a basic framework for understanding the relationship of law and government that is just as relevant today as it was when Stahl was writing. In fact, in many ways it anticipates the important treatment on the subject provided by Friedrich Hayek in Law, Legislation, and Liberty.
Projected volumes include Philosophical Presuppositions and The History of Legal Philosophy. Volume 1A of The History of Legal Philosophy has now been published: The Rise and Fall of Natural Law. Volume1B, The Recovery of Historical Law, is forthcoming.