392 COMPTES RENDUS taking itself. Would not every old jurist fail in some way or other, when put to the test of present-day professional standards: Bartolus for his scholasticism, Cujas for too much philology, Jhering or Holmes for ideological bias? But what is the use of testing old jurists in this way? Van Bijnkershoek’s work may be of little practical use for modern interna- tional lawyers, but does this affect his fame as one of the founding fathers of international law? Is the greatness of Plato, Thomas Aquinas or Accursius diminished by the fact that they had very unmodern ideas about women? That is quite a different discourse. I would like humbly to submit that, precisely because for the modern jurist van Bijnkershoek is old hat, it seems preferable to study him as an historical figure in his own time, with his own frame of mind, his own objectives and restraints. This may even be more edifying for modern jurists than the foregone conclusion that van Bijnkershoek did not fulfil the professional standards of a modern international lawyer. And the sources available for such an undertaking are really not as limited as Akashi suggests. Nijmegen Govaert C.J.J. van
The Legal History Review / Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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