Johann Jakob Bachofen

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Bachofen, Johann Jakob

 

Born Dec. 22, 1815, in Basel; died there on Nov. 25, 1887. Swiss legal historian.

Bachofen laid the foundations for the study of the history of the family. In his work Matriarchal Law (1861) and others he put forth the thesis of the universal historical development of primitive mankind from an original promiscuity (“heterism”) to matriarchal and later to patriarchal law. Bachofen erroneously viewed the evolution of religious ideas as the basis of this development. After criticizing and rejecting Bachofen’s idealistic ideas, K. Marx and F. Engels made use of his work in creating a materialistic conception of primitive history.

REFERENCES

Engels, F. “Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21.
Kosven, M. O. Matriarkhat: Istoriia problemy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.