cod. 1002868

Academic year 2014/15
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

Through an examination of the prominent moments in the European and nonEuropean legal historical evolution, the course aims to provide an overview of contemporary law basic notions, concepts and institutions.


A good knowledge of the English language is necessary.

Course unit content

The aim of the course is to identify the main features into the developing of the European law, through an examination of some keynote, private and public, law institutes. The analysis will follow the historical evolution of the following topics, along a cross-cultural comparison between the western “secular-grounded” legal tradition and eastern legal experiences of religious Laws:

1. Religious and Secular Law. Bridging across Law and Ethics. Natural and Positive law.
2. Religious Legal Traditions (Foundations of Jewish, Hindu and Islamic Law)
2. Secular Law and Public institutions. The institutional framework inherited from Rome. The
medieval experience and its evolution. Modern and contemporary models of state organization.
3. The relationship between individual and the 'State'. Individual rights into the ancient and medieval world. Social contract's theory. The issue of sovereignty. The Judgement by peers of the religious legal traditions.
4. The creation of civic rules. Customs from primary to secondary source. The law, from ancient to modern codification. Legal science: production of the rules, interpretation of the rules and mere exegesis. Stare decisis' principle.

Full programme

Religion as a source of the Law
Religion and law in ancient Rome
Religion and Law in Ancient India
Religion and Law in Ancient Palestine between past and present
Religion and Law at the age of the Emperor Constantine
Religion and Law in the arab world between past and present


H.P. Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World, Oxford University Press, last edition available; chapters: Civil Law, Common Law, Islamic Law, Talmudic Law.

Teaching methods

The course will be held in the second semester. An active participation of the students is required. Attending students will write in English a short essay about a topic analyzed during the course and will discuss their essay during the examination.

Assessment methods and criteria

Non attending students: oral discussion of the four chapters about Civil Law, Common Law, Islamic Law, Talmudic Law (Glenn, Legal Traditions) . Attending students: a short essay to prepare at home and to discuss in the exam day.

Other information

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