This paper traces the common history of European legal scholarship from its beginning in the late 12th century to the development of national codifications which started some six centuries later. During this period, Roman law was of great importance in the universities, and Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis was the central text for legal studies. We will look at the different approaches to this body of text that legal scholarship has taken over the years. Still, Roman law did not have a complete monopoly: we will have a look as well at Canon law and Moral Theology, which also developed a system of legal norms, but on an entirely different basis. They paved the way for Natural law, which – in a critical dialogue with Roman law – paved the way for modern codifications.

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Keywords Canon law, Corpus Iuris Civilis, European law, Glossators, Pandectenwissenschaf, Roman law, School of Orleans, School of Salamanca, Usus modernus Pandectarum, commentators, historical school, legal Humanism, legal scholarship, moral theology, natural law
Persistent URL
Series Erasmus Law Review
Journal Erasmus Law Review
Wallinga, T. (2011). The Common History of European Legal Scholarship . Erasmus Law Review, 4(1), 3–20. Retrieved from