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26 - Jean Carbonnier

(1908–2003)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2019

Olivier Descamps
Affiliation:
Pantheon-Assas University, Paris
Rafael Domingo
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

This intellectual portrait of Protestant French law professor Jean Carbonnier (1908–2003) stresses the religious aspects of his legal thought. A specialist in civil law and founder of the discipline of legal sociology, Carbonnier was one of the most influential twentieth-century jurists. Following the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms, Carbonnier, though a member of several Protestant institutions, thought that the state and the church should be separated. However, his faith influenced his legal thought in two different ways. First, Carbonnier’s vision of law was essentially pessimistic, holding that law, as humanity itself, is always sinful and corrupted, so the state should avoid making laws whenever possible. This idea influenced his legal sociology. Second, Carbonnier’s conception of law was pluralist, in that he favored a liberalization of law – for instance, family law – in a spirit of tolerance and civil peace. This perspective enabled him to modernize French family law by writing the draft legalislation of the important civil law reforms adopted between 1964 and 1975.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Recommended Reading

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