This article describes the life and introduces the works of Rudolf von Jhering, whose life span covered the 19th century and who unfolded an enormous influence on private law and on legal philosophy in his later years. He is considered one of the brightest representatives of German pandectism as well as one of the most remarkable legal historians and doctrinal theorists. His acrimonious attacks against the legal conceptualism ('Begriffsjurisprudenz') of his time and his pleadings in favour of a frank jurisprudence, oriented and guided by the interests of the parties concerned, yielded almost universal acknowledgement. After his habilitation in Berlin, Jhering assumed professorships in Bale (1845), Rostock (1846), Kiel (1948), Giessen (1852), Vienna (1868), where he was ennobled, and eventually Goettingen (1872). He was heavily coined by his teacher Puchta and by the idealistic historical philosophy of Hegel, whereas his relationship to the school of Savigny was always very tense. His main merits lie in the modernisation of the received Roman law and the development of methodological innovations focusing upon aims and ends intended by the legislator respectively the parties involved. Moreover, he can be seen as the 'inventor' of the 'culpa in contrahendo' - doctrine about faulty behaviour causing damages in the course of pre-contractual negotiations. His doctrinal writings also brought a breakthrough in private as well as in criminal law with regard to a clear and sharp distinction between unlawfulness (Rechtswidrigkeit) and guilt (Schuld). Ali in all von Jhering, like hardy any other law professors of his time, paved the way towards the law of the 20th century. The article discusses the mayor works and their long-lasting effects on various fields of law.
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