Law and Revolution II

The Impact of the Protestant Reformations on the Western Legal Tradition

Harold J. Berman

Harold Berman’s masterwork narrates the role of revolution in the development of Western law. This new volume explores two successive transformations of the Western legal tradition under the impact of the sixteenth-century German Reformation and the seventeenth-century English Revolution, and the powerful influences of Lutheran and Calvinist doctrines. Berman examines the far-reaching consequences of these apocalyptic political and social upheavals on the systems of legal philosophy; legal science; criminal, civil, economic, and social law in Europe.

Berman challenges both conventional approaches to legal history (which have neglected the religious foundations of Western legal systems) and standard social theory (which has paid insufficient attention to the communitarian dimensions of early modern economic law, corporation law and social welfare). Clearly written and cogently argued, this long-awaited, magisterial work is a major contribution to an understanding of the relationship of law to Western belief systems.