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Priests of the LawRoman Law and the Making of the Common Law's First Professionals$
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Thomas J. McSweeney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198845454

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198845454.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 April 2020

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Priests of the Law
Author(s):

Thomas J. McSweeney

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198845454.003.0001

A central question in the early history of the common law is how much influence Roman and canon law exerted over the common law in its first century. The debates over Roman- and canon-law influence have largely stalled, however. This chapter introduces a new way forward in those debates. Most scholars who have looked for Roman- and canon-law influence on the common law have looked for similarities in particular rules and have argued that common lawyers adopted those rules from Roman or canon law. Priests of the Law argues that we are more likely to find borrowings in the context of more fundamental questions. The early thirteenth century was a time before the common law was the common law. There was debate over its nature and who should control it. In their attempts to answer these questions, the authors of Bracton turned to Roman and canon law.

Keywords:   legal transplants, legal influence, Roman law, canon law, common law, civil law

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