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The Michael H. Hoeflich Collection of Roman Law Books - Spring 2011

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room

In December 2009, Michael H. Hoeflich, John H. & John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, donated his fine collection of antiquarian and modern Roman law books to the Boston College Law Library. Professor Hoeflich is a well-known scholar in many areas of law and legal bibliography, including legal history, comparative law, ethics, contracts, art law, and the history of law book publishing. His 1997 book, Roman and Civil Law and the Development of Anglo-American Jurisprudence in the Nineteenth Century, is a classic.

Dating from 1536, Professor Hoeflich’s collection of nearly 300 titles includes both seminal and lesser-known works on Roman, civil, and canon law in Latin, German, French, and English. The  collection is both broad and deep, reflecting his knowledge of and passion for Roman law, bibliography, and the bookmaker’s art. The books on display include a selection of the rare and antiquarian titles from Professor Hoeflich’s collection. A handout describing the entire exhibit is available here; a few of the especially attractive items appear below.

The exhibition was curated by Karen Beck, the Boston College Library’s former Curator of Rare Books / Collection Development Librarian. It will be on view through early June 2011. Some of the background text accompanying this exhibit was drawn from Peter Stein’s book, Roman Law in European History (1999); some of the descriptions of individual books were adapted from Michael von der Linn’s descriptions on the Lawbook Exchange website.

Johannes Ferrarius.  Ioannis Ferrarii MontaniAdnotationes in IIII. Institutionum Iustiniani Libros.  Lyons, 1536.

This very rare volume is the oldest of Professor Hoeflich’s gift books. Its ornamental title page features the name of the printer, Jacob Giunta. 

Christian Wolff Spine

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Jacobi Gothofredi. Opera Juridica MinoraLeiden, 1733. 

Jacques Godefroy (1587-1652) was a member a French noble family, many of whom had careers as jurists. He studied law and history in France before returning toGeneva to embark on a career of public service. Also a law teacher and a scholar, he wrote many important legal works, including several historical studies of Roman law. 

Opera Juridica Minora Cover Opera Juridica Minora Title Page Opera Juridica Minora Frontispiece
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Christian Wolff.  Jus Gentium MethodoScientifica Pertractatum. Halae,1749.

In this work, Wolff produced an elaborate mathematical schema of natural law as a series of moral duties, all rationally deduced from general moral principles, that were owed by everyone in society. This copy features two-color printing and an ornate gold-stamped binding.

Christian Wolff Spine Christian Wolff Title Page

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Thomas Ridley.  A View of the Civile and EcclesiasticallLaw: and Wherein the Practice of Them is Streitned and may be RelievedWithin this Land.   4thed.  Oxford, 1676.

This handsome little volume features a modern binding of calf leather and decorative paper-covered boards.


Thomas Ridley Cover Thomas Ridley Title Page

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