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A Short History of Western Legal Theory Hardcover – May 14, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0198762447 ISBN-10: 0198762445

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 14, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198762445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198762447
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,971,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Kelly brings to these subjects not only a wide and deep scholarship but also the breadth of an extraordinary political and literary career....Especially valuable is his discussion of the jurisprudence of ancient Greece and Rome....Kelly's discussion of contemporary jurisprudential debates is also noteworthy. He gives a brilliant analysis of H.L.A. Hart's critique of previous versions of legal positivism and of the critical responses which Hart's work has provoked from Ronald Dworkin and others."--American Journal of Legal History

"A triumphant final work, one that fairly illustrates the breadth of Kelly's learning and the sharpness of his wit. This is a history of Western legal theory meant for the student and teacher alike, and its crispness of style and clarity of thought make it uniquely suitable for both audiences....This is a magisterial book, full of wisdom and compassion."--Choice

"Masterful in brevity but comprehensive in breadth....Kelly's style and easy wisdom--drawn from history and literature, philosophy, the classics, the law, and buttressed by a facility with diverse modern and ancient languages--effectively disarm a skeptical reviewer. That this is the work of a wise and thoughtful person is evident from the earliest pages."--Law and History Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 1994

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

John M. Kelly, who died in January 1991, was a Fellow of Trinity College Oxford (1961-65) and Professor of Roman Law and Jurisprudence at University College Dublin (1965-91). He became a Senator in 1969 and served as a Deputy from 1973 to 89. He held several posts in the Irish government, including that of Attorney-General. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous book. It begins with early concepts from ancient Greece, lays out the fundamental differences between "natural law" and "the law of the real world," then extends the history of legalistic ideas through the Roman epoc, middle ages, etc. The book identifies the bases of difference between the legal systems of the west and those of communist states, e.g., common law and code law vs. Marxist law. It fully describes the influence of Christianity on western legal thinking. There are "plots" and "sub-plots" in this book that are absolutely fascinating. Finally, it is deliciously written; for those who truely appreciate the english language.
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