Otto Von Gierke

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gierke, Otto Von


Born Jan. 11, 1841, in Stettin; died Oct. 10, 1921, in Berlin. German jurist. Professor at the universities of Breslau (from 1872), Heidelberg (from 1884), and Berlin (from 1887).

Gierke was a follower of the historical school of law and a representative of the nationalistic Germanist school. The starting point for Gierke’s views was the idea of German association or community, which he opposed to the individual—the basis of 19th century bourgeois liberalism. True German law, organically born in the womb of association and characterized by the spirit of community, the subordination of self to the whole, and the like, was considered by Gierke to be at a higher stage than bourgeois legal systems that were based on Roman law and the principles of natural law. The factual material that Gierke collected on the history of Germany and German law has lost much of its value because of his reactionary and nationalistic conceptions, which were later assimilated into fascist ideology.


Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, vols. 1-4. Berlin, 1868-1913.
Deutsches Privatrecht, vols. 1-3. Leipzig-Munich, 1895-1917.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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