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A Short History of Western Legal Theory


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Table of Contents

The Greeks; The Romans; The Early Middle Ages (to 1100); The High Middle Ages (1100-1350); Renaissance and Reformation (1350-1600); The Seventeenth Century; The Eighteenth Century; The Nineteenth Century; The Earlier Twentieth Century; The Later Twentieth Century; Index.

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.


`John Kelly's calm, orderly presentation ... erudite and clear ... Kelly's text is excellent in its unpretentious, deceptively casual linking of legal ideas with religious, political and intellectual history. Written in a flowing but cibcuse style and rich in reference, it wears its considerable learning lightly and is likely to appeal to students as a wide ranging but not intimidating text ... a concise and eloquent reminder that the heritage of Western legal speculation over the centuries is a most important component and mirror of wider culture. As such it can be widely recommended.' Roger Cotterrell, Times Higher Education Supplement `This book is a landmark in the continuing study of the law in Ireland ... a work of remarkable scholarship ... ranges from profound legal thought to flashes of lyrical imagery ... This is a fascinating, entertaining, and humbling book in the world of law, the death of John Kelly has denied us further fruit of his brilliant and prolific mind; I doubt there could be a greater monument to his memory.' Irish Times `Very valuable overview.' Dr Simon Honeyball, University of Exeter `An excellent and vaulable enterprise.' Andrew Halpin, Southampton University `a lively and attractive exploration of its subject' Dr A. Wilson, Aberdeen University `a refreshing and long overdue work' Dr G.P. Bagnall, Queen's University of Belfast `It is extremely good on the pre-20th century theories - clear, well written and placing theories in their historical contents.' D. Feldman, University of Bristol `John Kelly has written an epic work, a fascinating history, that will stand the test of time. It will become a basic textbook for future generations of lawyers.' Incorporated Law Society of Ireland `an excellent book which invites us to consider history as an important organizing tool in teachin Jurisprudence.' David Jabbari `A readable, balanced account of the various periods of legal development and the theories each age produced. It is likely to become the essential text to understand the legal tradition which is the inheritance of the west.' Thomas Glyn Watkin, University of Wales, Cardiff 'a triumphant final work, one that fairly illustrates the breadth of Kelly's learning and the sharpness of his wit ... One of the great strengths of the work is its ability to relate the evolution of legal theory to parallel developments in political theory and history ... this is a magisterial book, full of wisdom and compassion.' J.E. Finn, Wesleyan University, Choice, Jan '93 `This is Kelly's last testament as a teacher and we should be grateful for it. It will guarantee his teaching sometime into the future.' Political Studies 'Kelly's History gives a clear and reasonably comprehensive account and, to some extent, an analysis of Western legal theories. It is eminently readable (with delightful little touches, such as the footnote on p.323), and happily fills a gap, from a particularly Irish perspective.' O.F. Robinson, University of Glasgow, Journal of Legal History

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