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8 - Jacques Cujas


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2019

Olivier Descamps
Pantheon-Assas University, Paris
Rafael Domingo
Emory University, Atlanta
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Jacques Cujas (1522–1590) was a leading representative of legal humanism, an intellectual movement (also known as mos gallicus), which introduced the idea of evolution in the making of law. To understand French legal humanism, it must be underlined that the movement developed during the French civil wars, even though it is difficult to determine Cujas’s deep religious beliefs. He tried not to involve his works in the religious oppositions that tore France apart, as the famous formula attributed to him illustrates: Nihil hoc ad edictum prætoris [This has nothing to do with the edict of the praetor.]. This attitude is also a sign of his conception of humanism. Throughout his career as a professor, Cujas embraced the humanist movement by developing the historical method to its highest level: thanks to his knowledge of the ancient sources, he placed Justinian’s compilations in their historical context, which represented one of the biggest departures from medieval methods. But his works concern more than the Corpus juris civilis. Cujas was a prolific author: his Opera omnia amount to ten folio volumes, dealing with all the sources of Roman law, also canon law, feudal law, and French customs and legislation.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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