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date: 25 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter highlights the importance of the historical method in public law by showing the way that public law was established as a distinct field of knowledge in European jurisprudence. Since developments in French legal thought in the sixteenth century provided the catalyst for generating this modern concept of public law, this is the focus of the chapter. This approach exposes the constituent elements of public law and shows how the historical method becomes a central element of the modern practice of public law. It suggests that the modern idea of public law was created as a local, contextual, source-based practice in opposition to the universal metaphysics of medieval scholasticism. It was established by setting in place a conception of law as a body of practical knowledge that is historical in orientation and geared to the concerns of civil government.

Keywords: public law, historical method, legal history, European jurisprudence, medieval scholasticism

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