Volume IV of the Historisch-kritischer Kommentar zum BGB published

March 11, 2019

Reinhard Zimmermann, Managing Director of the Institute, has, together with Mathias Schmoeckel and Joachim Rückert, edited the fourth volume of the Historisch-kritischer Kommentar zum BGB (Historical Commentary on the German Civil Code). As its central concern, the planned six-volume work aims to explore the historical background to the codification and to identify the specific profile of the BGB as well as the legal developments that have occurred on its basis. The most recently published volume focuses on Family Law (§§ 1297-1921). Volume I on the General Part of the BGB was published in 2003; Volume II was published in 2007 (in two parts) and covers the General Part of the Law of Obligations; Volume III (also in two parts) deals with the Special Part of the Law of Obligations.

Private law as it is practised today has occasionally deviated considerably from the text of the German Civil Code. Since its entry into force, social convictions and practices in the field of family law have undergone dramatic changes that are unrivalled by other subjects. The historical-critical approach of the commentary creates a link to tradition and provides access to the wealth of experience gained over more than 100 years. It deals with the results of the history of legal doctrines and puts legal problems into their real context. This represents the first time that the historical development has been presented in such a concentrated form, taking the reader up to the threshold of present time.

What is the basis for the solutions of yesterday, today and presumably tomorrow? Which cultural, economic and social factors have influenced legal concepts in Germany? How is our private law standing up to the new challenges of Europe? Particularly at a time when the contours of a European private law regime are beginning to take shape, it becomes especially important to answer these questions against the backdrop of history.

Reinhard Zimmermann, Mathias Schmoeckel, Joachim Rückert (eds.), Historisch-kritischer Kommentar zum BGB, Bd. IV: Familienrecht, §§ 1297-1921, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2018, XXXVIII + 1622 pp.

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