Private Law

Second Edition

Publication date: August 3rd, 2024

This book is a translation of Book III of The Doctrine of Law and State. It provides Stahl’s detailed outworking in private law of the principles of law developed in Book II.

Private law forms the cornerstone of individual freedom. Even so, it is not derived from individual freedom, which is what modern legal philosophy claims. Rather, it is derived from the law of God, which establishes the principles of which it is the further outworking. In line with the understanding of law as given in Book II of this series, it establishes the institutions and authorities within which individual freedom can effectively function.

The law forms part of the ethical world. The two poles around which the ethical world revolves are the fear of God and full humanity. Both of these need to be given their due in a properly-regulated legal order. The problem with modernist law is that “it only seeks man while being detached from what stands above man. Of the two parts through which the law is fulfilled – you shall love the Lord your God above all things, and your neighbor as yourself – it has arbitrarily picked out the second while ignoring the first, it has demolished the first of the two tables of the law while proposing to establish only the second” (§. 21).

Therefore the rights of man – that shibboleth of modernist legal philosophy – receive full explanation only within the context of higher, God-given legal principles. As such, human rights do not serve as the source of law but as a secondary principle subservient to a higher law. That higher law establishes, besides the free action of the individual, family and property as the bases of private law.

The further outworking of this concept in rights of property, contract, the law of the family, is masterfully laid out. Institutions such as property and marriage are not made the creature of will and contract but are fully explained as given realities which the human will cannot alter. This book constitutes a return to sound principles of private law and an antidote to contemporary individualism, emotivism, and primacy of the will.

Sections left out of the first edition have been included in this second edition of Private Law. The text has been corrected where necessary and improved where appropriate.

ISBN Complete: 978-90-76660-78-3
Book Type: 6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Perfect Bound Page Count: 206 includes bibliography and indices $16.99/£13.99/€15.99

Advance/review copies available upon request.