12 September 2019

BOOK: Paolo ASTORRI, Lutheran Theology and Contract Law in Early Modern Germany (ca. 1520-1720) (Leiden-New York: Brill, 2019). ISBN 978-3-657-70150-6, $146.00

(Source: Brill)

Brill has published a new book on the influence of Lutheran thought on Early Modern German contract law.


It is clear that the Lutheran Reformation greatly contributed to changes in theological and legal ideas – but what was the extent of its impact on the field of contract law?

Legal historians have extensively studied the contract doctrines developed by Roman Catholic theologians and canonists; however, they have largely neglected Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Johann Aepinus, Martin Chemnitz, Friedrich Balduin and many other reformers. This book focuses on those neglected voices of the Reformation, exploring their role in the history of contract law. These men mapped out general principles to counter commercial fraud and dictated norms to regulate standard economic transactions. The most learned jurists, such as Matthias Coler, Peter Heige, Benedict Carpzov, and Samuel Stryk, among others, studied these theological teachings and implemented them in legal tenets. Theologians and jurists thus cooperated in resolving contract law problems, especially those concerning interest and usury.


Paolo Astorri is currently Research Associate at the KU Leuven Faculty of Law in Belgium


Pages: 1–13
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Christian Spirituality and Law: Developments and Sources
Care for the Souls before the Reformation and in the Early Modern Roman Catholic World
Pages: 17–46
The Engagement of the Lutheran Theologians with Contract Law: Principles and Literature
Pages: 47–110
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A Biblical Framework for Contract Law: Basic Elements
The Conceptualization of Agreements
Pages: 113–151
The Seventh Commandment: The Lawfuln and Right Use of Contracts
Pages: 152–185
The Eighth Commandment: Contractual Fidelity
Pages: 186–257
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Selected Issues from Particular Types of Contract
Sale, Lease and Restitution
Pages: 261–323
Lending and the Interest Prohibition
Pages: 324–429
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From Lutheran Theology to Legal Practice
The Dispute of Regensburg (1587)
Pages: 433–489
The Contribution of the Jurists
Pages: 490–555
General Summary
Pages: 556–573
Concluding Remarks
Pages: 574–583

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